Rettland Farm

Rettland Farm

Friday, January 22, 2010

We Need a New Word

I took a road trip today to pay a visit to a prospective client. We had a great discussion about our respective businesses, and I came away really charged about the "food" movement, especially in the mid-Atlantic region.

On my way home, I recounted to myself parts of our conversation, particularly the part about our shared frustration over the overuse and corruption of "buzzwords" in the "local food" movement.

The new client (hey, I'm optimistic) related to me that it was especially hard for her to sort out the real deal of sustainable, local, humanely produced food--from those opportunists who put the right words and a pastoral logo on a box of shit so they can charge a few extra bucks for it.

I gave her my somewhat standard answer, that the best way to keep out the posers is to do what she and I were doing at that very moment: sitting down, face to face, and talking. We build trust, we build relationships, and we (well, me, as the farmer) start to display our integrity by sharing our philosphies and practices. You can't bullshit people when they ask you directly what your pigs eat, or what the procedure for slaughtering the animal is--you either know it or you don't.

We can take it one step further, and the client can come visit the farm, and see with their own eyes whether the farm is really genuine, or just a slick marketing campaign.

But every industry has buzzwords, so what's the new buzzword for this kind of business? How do we sum up what we do in a word or two, and yet keep the wannabes from usurping it for their own nefarious causes?

I've used the phrase "Real Food" in the past, but I'm not sure about that. I also came up with "Verifiable Food," but that sounds way too stuffy and sterile.

As I cruised up the road this afternoon, though, I came up with a few that had a nice ring to them...

How about "Authentic Food?" "Give-a-damn Food?" Or maybe "Food Done Right?"

Are any of these winners? Any other suggestions?

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