Nadal és una temporada per històries. Podem explicar contes sobre la Nativitat i els tres Reis. També vam riure sobre el temps quan oncle Klaus portava el jersei terrible al sopar familiar.

Stories are the most powerful form of communication available to us. That’s why the four most compelling words in the English language may be: “Once upon a time.”

Farmers don’t always appreciate this fact, especially when we’re discussing our own business of agriculture. We’re inclined to mention inputs and outputs, moisture levels, rendiments, commodity prices, i més. Saps: farmer talk.

The challenge increases when our conversations turn to technology, and especially when they involve new technologies, including GMO crops, gene editing, i així successivament. En aquest punt, our rhetoric can sound like boring passages from science textbooks. They’re about as interesting as the homework that none of us miss from our school days.

Yet every one of us has a story to tell—and if we tell our stories well, we’ll both educate the public about what we do and advance our own interests at a time when farmers face growing threats from government regulators, political activists, and skeptical consumers.

I live on a third-generation farm in rural Maryland, where we grow corn, soja, canning tomatoes, raïm, i fresc-mercat Mongeta en sobre 2,000 hectàrees. Jo també sóc un dietista. Molt pocs Ctra té gran coneixement agrícola o experiència, que significa que pot parlo d'una perspectiva poc freqüents: Sé alot sobre producció d'aliments i el consum d'aliments. Miro el meu paper com tenir un nínxol amb dietistes perquè són el meu grup d'iguals. Puc ser una veu eficaç per l'agricultura dins d'aquest Regne.

En els anys, He après un munt de classes, i un dels més importants pot ser que en general, consumers give very little consideration to where their food comes from. They don’t know what farmers do, how we do it, nor are they overly curious or concerned about how the food got to their grocery stores. They take for granted that the food will be there.

En un sentit, this is a good thing. En els anys, as we’ve gotten better at food production, the agriculture industry has needed to rely on fewer people. Not so long ago—perhaps when our grandparents or great-grandparents were born—food production dominated employment. Avui, menys de 2 percent of Americans are directly involved in agriculture. This means that more of us can work as teachers, welders, and software engineers (and also dietitians).

It also means that at no point in history do more people know less about farming from first-hand experience than they do right now. Many Americans recognize their own ignorance: Fa dos anys, in a poll by the Annenberg Public Policy Center, 63 percent of Americans rated their understanding of GMOs as “poor” or “fair.” Only 4 per cent anomenat "excel·lent".

He vist això de primera mà quan em difondre un currículum en alfabetització agrícola va contractar la Maryland agrícola Educació Fundació: formació de professors com utilitzar l'agricultura a les aules. Que experiència realment va destacar per a mi com deficients coneixement dels consumidors és sobre alimentació i agricultura.

Quan parla amb els consumidors i observar-los com prenen decisions queviures per a la seva família, Què vol la gent la majoria és la confiança que el menjar és segur. Seva manca de coneixements sobre l'agricultura, No obstant això, makes them vulnerable to some pretty big misunderstandings. That’s doubly true when the misunderstandings are fueled by propaganda.

This is where stories can play a decisive role—and allow farmers to become effective communicators about the realities of farming and the safety of our food supply. The key is to look for opportunities to tell what we know about what we do.

The most effective approach, I’ve discovered, is to tell my farm’s story. Something as simple as describing “a day in the life” can convey an enormous amount of information. It also builds a personal connection and level of credibility. Statistics and research outcomes are good and even necessary, but for most people, they mean almost nothing if they don’t also include a personal component.

Aquí és un exemple. En 2017, around the time the New England Patriots won their fifth Super Bowl, star quarterback Tom Brady released a book of workout, lifestyle, and recipe suggestions. "El mètode de TB12" va prendre el nom d'inicials Brady i el seu número de llista, i ràpidament es va convertir en un best-seller sobre la promesa que lectors vols aprendre secrets d'aptitud.

També incloïa un atac estúpida sobre l'agricultura moderna. "Llavors per descomptat hi ha l'enginyeria genètica,"escriure Brady. "¿Que sona com una cosa que voldria menjar? Sona com un experiment de Química per a mi."

Quan em vaig assabentar d'això, Jo sabia que havia de respondre. No només sóc pagès qui sap la veritat sobre els OGM, però també sóc un fan de tota la vida dels patriotes de Nova Anglaterra. Vaig viure a Maryland, però jo vaig néixer a Massachusetts — i només havia aclamat per Brady guanyar el joc de gran.

So I told the story of our farm in a website columna. He assenyalat que una de les raons que creixem soja OGM, per exemple, és perquè són rics en àcid oleic oli, que permet als nostres clients extreure un oli d'ells que és lliure de greixos trans.

Brady, Vaig pensar, ha d'animar per a nosaltres: "Bàsicament, els greixos trans són el pitjor tipus de greix que hi ha,"escriure Brady en el seu llibre. He urged his readers to avoid them.

So I pointed out all of this, from the incoherence of Brady’s quip about “a chemistry experiment” (because GMOs are a feature of biology) to the fact that modern technology allows us to grow crops that carry extra nutritional value.

Then I invited Brady to visit my farm and learn more about what we do. He has not taken me up on this offer, but the invitation stands.

It also helped that I published a photo of myself, wearing my Brady jersey and standing in a field next to one of our tractors. Pictures, per descomptat, can be as much a part of storytelling as words.

I won’t say the column went viral in the way of a YouTube video sensation—but it was popular, if the website hits and social-media mentions are any indication.

It worked for a simple reason: It told a story about a farm.

You can find lots of other examples. Watch the documentary “Evolució de l'alimentació,” which includes stories about GMO adoptions around the world. El segment de la meva favorit es centra en Motlatsi Musi, un pagès sud-africà que va créixer dins un sistema racista d'apartheid, però es va convertir en un terratinent que ara es basa en els OMG. O Fes una xerrada de TED de Pam Ronald o el seu llibre "El quadre de demà." O anar a qualsevol nombre de llocs web, com GMOAnswers.com i SafeFruitsandVeggies.com.

O potser millor de tot: Igualar les columnes setmanals per membres de la xarxa mundial de pagès, on els agricultors reals explicar les seves històries personals. This was how I first told my story about GMOs and Tom Brady.

Every farmer has a story to tell, whether it’s about the challenges of sustainability or the promise of technology. Sharing real life experiences about the tools we use and what we do to reduce our environmental footprint while sustaining the farm for the next generation is invaluable. The more stories we tell, the better off we’ll find ourselves.

A version of this column first appeared as part of the GMO Beyond The Science III series at Genetic Literacy Project.