Arizona agriculture GenXer, Terish Driggs, learned a lot while in New York City including how supportive the men and women in blue are. Her first lesson learned while with her PAL class, keep your story simple.
First, a word on New York City. It was a bit perplexing to see that the first training module was going to be held in New York City. It may be called “The Big Apple” but that phrase did not originate because of their apple production (By the way, New York State currently ranks second nation-wide in apple production[i]). Union Square has a very impressive farmers market that showcases locally grown products; apples, cherries, wheat. There was a stand that had honey harvested from rooftops in the various boroughs! The most impressive display of agriculture in the City were the rooftop farms. These farms are limited in what they grow, but make a huge contribution
Honey harvested from rooftops in the various boroughs promises to cure your allergies. So, is there one for smog or traffic congestion?
Though limited in what they grow, rooftop farms make a huge contribution
Module #1: Storytelling (Helping us Tell Arizona Agriculture's story)
A good story is captivating, it breathes life into words and keeps the audience engaged and wanting to know the ending. A good story has three main attributes; it is concrete, simple, and unexpected. Think about a childhood story that you may have read or heard growing up. Let’s take The Three Little Pigs for example. The moral of the story is that hard work pays off. A concrete story builds parameters for the lesson that it is sharing. Chose the lesson (e.g. farmers and ranchers work hard to grow your food) and then build the parameters of the story to best reflect that lesson.
Make it simple. Sometimes we will have to engage in complex subject matters, but to the extent possible try to compare your story or lesson to something that the audience already knows. We are all very well versed
What we say
What they think
What we mean
Jay-Z, Stephen Spielberg
Farmers, ranchers, growers
Farm or ranch
Feedyard stuffed with cows
Livestock farm/ranch or rules
Crops, food, animals
Residue/remnants from the last crop
Give the audience something unexpected. Whether it is something visual, words, or a presentation… make it unique. When addressing an audience the element of the unexpected leave an impression that they are far more likely to remember. Choose words or images that you can focus your story around to bring it to life.
Driggs came away with new insights on storytelling and a great appreciation for New York's urban farmers.
So, where do you begin? Start by asking yourself these four questions:
- What is the issue of concern?
- Why is it a big deal/why should the audience care?
- What do you
want doneabout it?
- Why is your position the correct one?
It has fallen to the agriculture industry to defend ourselves and help create a dialogue with consumers so that we become a source of reliable information instead of mistrusted entrepreneurs. Get out there and tell your story!
[i] http://www.nyapplecountry.com/about/facts#new-york’s-national-rank-in-apple-production, last visited July 8, 2015.