A few weeks ago, Emily Buddle, a PhD candidate here at University of Adelaide with the Food Values Research Group, met with a group of dairy farmers and managers from Western Victoria across to the Fleurieu Peninsula who are part of “TRACtion”. These farmers are a group who are passionate and work hard towards continuous improvement of their dairy systems to meet industry needs and maintain profitability.
Emily spoke with them about some of her findings and recommendations for promoting positive communication with people outside of the dairy industry. One of their primary concerns was the need for communicating about their products and practices with consumers, in a context where they often felt their voices were drowned out by activist narratives.
She explored the mixed messages from consumers and communities, and how these can be navigated and addressed in ways that promote trust and knowledge about farming practices to build relationships with consumers and communities. She spoke particularly about the role that identifying shared values plays in communicating with the public about the industry to promote affordable, safe, and nutritious food that supports local businesses. She emphasised the importance of dialogue, active listening to concerns and consumer needs, identifying target audiences, and tolerating a diversity of views when it comes to engaging with the public.
You can read more on research by the Food Values Research Group here.