The Alliance for Food and Farming (AFF) hosted its fourth “Facts, Not Fear” Produce Safety Media Tour for registered dietitians, health and nutrition writers and bloggers on September 13, 14 and 15 featuring crops in the Pacific Northwest. Tour participants visited pear, cherry, apple and blueberry farms in the Hood River and Beaverton, Oregon areas.
“Our goal for this tour is to provide our guests with a firsthand look at farming and how growers work to provide safe and healthy fruits and vegetables,” says Kate Tynan, AFF Board Chair and Senior Vice President of the Northwest Horticultural Council. “Because of our guests’ direct connections with consumers, these tours allow the AFF to enhance its efforts to share and spread our fact-based information about the care and commitment of produce farmers to grow these nutrient-dense foods.”
“The farmers we met showed how passionate they are about agriculture and their way of life, but they were also very upfront about the challenges they face to ensure these healthy products reach consumers,” says Teresa Thorne, AFF Executive Director. “Our guests were clearly moved and impressed by these farmers and the stories shared. This is why these tours are so impactful because it is hard to replicate these personal interactions or the beauty of these farms,” Thorne says.
This year’s guests are contributors to Food Network, Washington Post, Today’s Dietitian, Shape Magazine, U.S. News and World Report, Good Morning America, CNN, WebMD, Huffington Post, Buzzfeed, Glamour, Health Magazine, LA Times and Prevention, among others.
“We have seen the benefits of engagement and sharing of AFF’s fact-based information by these influencers over the last few years,” Tynan says. “Their efforts in mainstream and social media have helped the AFF’s Safe Fruits and Veggies campaign to consistently reach more consumers to combat the disparaging and misleading rhetoric used by activist groups about produce safety.”
The AFF also includes scientists on the tour to provide technical expertise on produce and worker safety. This year, Dr. Trevor Suslow, Extension Research Specialist Emeritus, University of California, Davis and Principal of T & K Suslow Consulting LLC as well as Dr. Lee-Ann Jaykus, William Neal Reynolds Distinguished Professor at North Carolina State University, joined the 2021 tour.
The sponsors who made the 2021 tour possible included: California Giant Berry Farms, California Table Grape Commission, First Fruits Marketing, Markon Cooperative, Northwest Horticultural Council, Pear Bureau Northwest, Produce Marketing Association, U.S. Apple Association, U.S. Highbush Blueberry Council and the Washington State Fruit Commission/Northwest Cherry Growers.
The goal of the AFF is to provide science-based food safety information about organic and conventional produce so that facts, not fear, can guide consumers’ shopping choices. The cornerstone of the AFF’s outreach efforts is the safefruitsandveggies.com website, which includes information about farming, nutrition, health, toxicology and risk analysis for consumers, media and nutritionists and dietitians.
In addition to real-time social media posts during the tour, the influencers will be blogging about their experiences and what they learned. The AFF will share and distribute these blogs to industry, media and nutrition communicators.
“We want to extend our sincere thanks to all of our guests for joining us and sharing their insights on how we can all continue to work together to reassure consumers about the safety of produce,” Thorne says. “We also want to thank our tour sponsors for both their support as well as sharing their knowledge and perspectives about agriculture and the challenges faced by farmers.”
The Alliance for Food and Farming is a non-profit organization formed in 1989 which represents organic and conventional farmers and farms of all sizes. Alliance contributors are limited to farmers of fruits and vegetables, companies that sell, market or ship fruits and vegetables or organizations that represent produce farmers. Our mission is to deliver credible information about the safety of fruits and vegetables.