Many of us can think of one-lane roads – paved, gravel, or dirt – that wiggle all around our state. They’re usually far away from clusters of cars, stop lights, and buildings. Full of memories, stop-worthy views, and very few people, it’s not until you meet another vehicle that you must solve the problem of how to get where you’re going. Maybe you back up a little and it’s just wide enough to sneak past one another. Maybe the other vehicle reverses its course to allow you to pass in a wider spot. However you manage to pass each other – with a nod and a wave – someone had to give, forward, backward, left, or right for mutual benefit.
These movements apply to the direction we move as an industry in communicating with our fellow Oregonians. We move forward, backward, or stagnate together and sometimes that means moving laterally to get where we want to go. Some of the strongest movements forward come from partnership and collaboration, particularly with groups outside of our silos in agriculture. The Oregon Dairy and Nutrition Council recently invited us to work with them at an event for the Girls Scouts. What a fantastic audience to reach and engage with! In recent years, we have collaborated with organizations like OMSI, OHSU, the Gilbert House Children’s Museum, World Oregon, and more. We are always looking for unique audiences to connect with Oregon agriculture.
Are you willing to give in order to get where you’re going?
Sometimes you’re in the vehicle that has to back up a little in order to move forward. Putting a crop identification sign on your property, reading to students during Oregon Agriculture in the Classroom’s Literacy Project, participating in Adopt a Farmer or Talk About Trees, or simply talking with someone in the grocery store, the opportunities to share are abundant. Equally (if not possibly more) important because it is hard and easy to forget, it is our job to listen to understand. It’s easier to share about what you do and why than it is to truly understand someone else’s viewpoint. If we listen to understand, we become better storytellers and that moves us forward because we can find commonalities instead of default to our differences.
As an organization, we support all of Oregon agricultures regardless of size, production method, location, and are inclusive of not only farms and ranches, but fisheries and forestry too. Not only are the operations we work with diverse, but so are the people and we continue to work to foster relationships for mutual benefit. We are all an important piece of Oregon’s food, fiber, and shelter, as well as the sustainability of our state’s economy and environment. While such a broad scope can be challenging, it is so important to be united in working to connect Oregonians with what is happening – from the farm, ranch, water, and forest we live and work in to Oregonians’ tables, plates, homes, and recreation, as well as everywhere in between. It’s also critical for us to understand the challenges facing other industries, regions, and Oregonians. Every piece of our food, fiber, and shelter system affects another part. We all benefit when we come together in the spirit of curiosity, flexibility, and a desire to learn from one another with the end goal of an informed understanding and knowledge of agricultures in our state.
Our executive committee and board have worked hard this year to outline and define the work Oregon Aglink will do in 2020 and beyond. We hope this piques your interest as we would love for you to join us on our mission to connect, educate, and advocate by creating opportunities for Oregonians to engage with and learn from one another through agriculture. We are looking to develop and grow our strong partnerships to do this work to support Oregon agriculture. Everywhere. Everyday.