November 25th, 2014 – AgChat on #FoodThanks

AgChat on #FoodThanksWhat Do You Do To Help? The holidays are times when focus on hunger, support, and just plain helping is greatest. This #AgChat looks at the ideas behind #FoodThanks, what people are doing, and generating ideas for people to grasp and run with.
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#FoodThanks – Give a bag. Get a bag.

Tweets, pins and posts declaring #foodthanks from farms, supermarkets and dinner tables are popping up online for the fourth year in a row. This time, conversations from separate social media channels gather on the revamped and share a greater focus on giving.

The 2013 campaign features “Give a Bag. Get a Bag.” which encourages participants to help their local food bank.

“The campaign aims to bring together everyone in the food system, no matter who you are, how you fit into ag, or your favorite social media channel,” says Jeff VanderWerff, a Michigan farmer and president of the AgChat Foundation.  “It’s about forgetting the food fights and taking time to share thanks for safe, abundant food.”

Watch how others are already giving #foodthanks, from farm to table: InvolvedSince 2010, the AgChat Foundation has encouraged social media users to show #foodthanks. Join in this year with a quick pin of a family recipe, an update of holiday plans, or a short-n-sweet tweet saying thanks. Just be sure to use the hashtag #foodthanks to share your thanks with others.

  • Use Instagram or Vine to show a meal that’s special to you and explain why.
  • Share a recipe and tag someone you’re enjoying it with.
  • Join the #Foodthanks Twitter chat on Tuesday, Nov. 19th

“In addition to saying #foodthanks online, the AgChat Foundation is encouraging participants to give #foodthanks offline this year,” adds VanderWerff.  “Consider giving your time—whether 10 minutes or an hour—to make a meal for a neighbor or to volunteer at the food bank or homeless shelter.”

Give a Bag. Get a Bag.  

Starting Nov. 18, participants can pledge to donate a bag of food to a local food pantry via an online form atGive a bag. Get a bag. Visit today!  Those who take the pledge will receive a special edition #foodthanks tote. Quantities are limited.

“It’s a simple pledge, followed by a lasting reminder to be thankful every time we visit the grocery store—even when the holiday season is over,” VanderWerff says.

For more information:

Jenny Schweigert – AgChat Foundation – – 309-241-8803

Marit Harm – Charleston|Orwig, Inc. – 262-563-5638

#Foodthanks Party!

agchat, farmers, thanksgiving, giving thanks, foodthanks

Next week marks our third annual #Foodthanks celebration. This is the time of year that we want to slow down and reflect on all the blessings we have. One of those blessings is all the food choices we have in this nation. Farmers, ranchers, processors, butchers, bakers, chefs, grocers, truckers and more all make it possible for us to have healthy food on plates.

This next Tuesday and Wednesday (November 20-21) we encourage you to show your #Foodthanks !


Join our monthly #FoodChat twitter conversation Tuesday, November 20 from 8:00pm – 10:00pm ET. We will be talking #Foodthanks and of course the upcoming Thanksgiving celebration. Direct message @Foodchat any questions you would like to have included in the conversation.

On Wednesday, November 21st, continue the #Foodthanks conversation. Tweet your favorite recipe, farm blog or tell us why you are giving #Foodthanks. Show the Twitter world your #Foodthanks story.


On Tuesday, November 20th, we will be hosting our first ever Facebook Party from 8:00 p.m. -10:00 p.m. ET! Similar to our traditional Twitter conversations, we will be engaging in a conversation that focuses on #Foodthanks.  Make sure to join the community and show your #Foodthanks.

On Wednesday, November 21st, we will be asking you to share with us your #Foodthanks story. Share your pictures, blog posts and thoughts on your own personal #Foodthanks.


Join us now as we are pinning our #Foodthanks. Follow our #Foodthanks board and we will ask you to join our community and pin your #Foodthanks. Do you have a favorite food blog? How about grandma’s secret pumpkin pie recipe?  Pin a picture showing how your family farm makes #Foodthanks possible. Join us on Pinterest now.

What makes you give #Foodthanks?

Farmers deserve #FoodThanks this season

Autumn is my favorite time of year. From football games to piles of leaves, and all the jack-o-lanterns in between, the signs of the season are as far as the eye can see.  And as the cool crisp breeze begins to blow, the harvest moon is in full glow.

Like many of our neighboring states, the harvest here in south-central Kansas wasn’t quite as bountiful this year. Extreme drought, coupled with excessive heat for the greater part of the summer, took both an emotional and physical toll on farmers here in the heartland.

The sad truth is that, with the large disconnect between consumers and farms, most of these hardships go unnoticed by the general public. At work, many of the questions I’m confronted with are questions like, What can I eat to lower my cholesterol? How does processed food fit into a healthy diet? or My doctor says I should eat healthier – what does that mean? Very few have asked how our multi-generational family farm has survived the extreme drought, rising fuel costs or how increased energy costs have impacted the price we pay for feeding and caring for our animals, the environment and the people who work on our farms.

With that in mind, November is often known as the month of giving thanks. Family, friends, and food are often things that we are most thankful for. It’s important I do not forget, my family and I are consumers too. I purchase food from my local grocer to create balanced meals for my family. I know that behind every apple, pear, green bean, potato, pork chop or steak we eat – a farmer or rancher worked hard to produce it.

As I sit down to feast this Thanksgiving, I’ll be sure and give a special thanks to the farmers and ranchers who work endless hours to provide safe, wholesome and nutritious foods to nourish our bodies. I’m asking you to keep them in your thoughts and prayers as they travel down the tough road of recovery from the hardships endured this past year. Also, I’m asking you to share with me your #FoodThanks in the comments below, send out a tweet or take a second to share your #FoodThanks in a Facebook post. You just might be amazed by how many #FoodThanks you can come up with.

Consulting dietitian by day, dairy farmer’s wife and graduate student by night – Heidi Wells, RD, CSSD, LD incorporates her passion for agriculture, nutrition and fitness into everything she does. She currently represents the state as the president of the Kansas Dietetic Association, was the Recognized Young Dietitian of Kansas in 2008, and most recently the Distinguished Dietitian of Kansas in 2010.  Join her conversation on Twitter @HWellsRD.

Five Modern Twists on the Time-Honored Tradition of Giving Thanks for Food

From apps that make Thanksgiving meal planning a snap to social media campaigns to help Americans express #foodthanks, celebrating Thanksgiving has come a long way.

MINNEAPOLIS, Nov. 17, 2011 — While celebrating the end of harvest season is a tradition that can be traced back for centuries, modern-day twists on the custom have evolved since the 1621 Plymouth Colony fall feast. Just as pilgrims rejoiced in their first good harvest, Americans today have found meaningful ways to honor the bounty, and express gratitude:

  1. Give #foodthanks. Farmers long ago traded in their oxen for tractors and other technologies to raise nutritious, great-tasting food. This year, a group of farmers and ranchers is cultivating a social media campaign to initiate meaningful conversations about food with Americans on Twitter, Facebook, blogs and beyond, says Kansas farmer Darin Grimm of the AgChat Foundation. “For farmers on the go, social media is a great way to connect with consumers,” he says. “We’re hoping to see everyone from chefs to foodies to farmers using the #foodthanks hashtag.” Check out, then tweet what you eat, using the #foodthanks hashtag, now through Thanksgiving.
  2. Plan your meal with an app. New recipe and meal-planning applications are a bounty in their own right. Try the Thanksgiving Menu Maker from Fine Cooking, which allows you to “tap your way to a customized holiday menu,” offering more than 75 of the magazine’s all-time favorite Thanksgiving recipes, along with a shopping list and schedule.
  3. Preserve the flavors of fall. Early American settlers would salivate over modern-day canning equipment. Once dismissed as a bygone art, canning has attracted a growing number of enthusiasts in recent years, according to the National Center for Home Food Preservation, which provides tips on canning, pickling, freezing and more. To really make a food statement, create your own labels at
  4. Host your own tasting party. The holiday table inspires us to create treasured traditions at home, including exploring new foods in the company of friends and family. Home entertaining expert Domenica Marchetti suggests a trend-worthy twist on the wine and cheese tasting part. The author of Big Night In (Chronicle Books, 2008) says, “Embrace the season’s bounty and host an apple tasting party!”
  5. Share in the bounty. Thanksgiving is a great time to talk with your family about helping others in need, whether it’s a family down the street or a hungry child on the other side of the world. Charitable organizations like Farmers Feeding the World and Heifer International believe that giving families a source of food, rather than short-term relief, is a more sustainable way to lift them out of poverty and hunger.

About AgChat Foundation, Inc. A group of farmers created the AgChat Foundation after connecting through the now highly visible “#AgChat” community on Twitter, a weekly moderated chat where agriculturists discuss various issues, tell their farm stories and identify ways to connect with people outside of agriculture. The Foundation strives to educate and equip “agvocates” with the skill set needed to engage on Twitter, Facebook, blogs, YouTube, LinkedIn and other social media services, giving them the knowledge to unlock new tools to effectively tell their story. For more information, visit

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