Farmers around the world are attempting a global first, with a live, world-wide Twitter discussion on the issues and experiences facing them in producing the planet’s food.
The chat will mark World Food Day on Wednesday 16 October, and will run into the 17th for some time zones. It is being organised by a collaboration of European farming Twitter groups- @AgrichatUK (UK), @AgrichatNL (Netherlands) and @EUFoodChat (EU), with the help of @Agchat (US) @AgchatOZ (Australia), @AgchatNZ (New Zealand), and @AgchatIRL (Ireland).
Josien Kapma, a Dutch farmer and founder of @AgrichatNL said:
“In a world with fewer people than ever producing more food than ever, farmers worldwide have a lot in common. We share between us a large responsibility and World Food Day is a good moment to celebrate that we are proud producers of the world’s food, but also to raise awareness of the issues faced in producing sufficient food sustainably.”
The discussion will pull together farmers from across Europe, the US, Australia and New Zealand, but the organisers hope food producers and consumers everywhere will take part.
The UK’s main farming Twitter discussion group @AgrichatUK, will facilitate the live chat by releasing questions for debate between 8-9.30pm BST. This will make it 9pm in much of western Europe, 3pm in the US (ET), 10pm in eastern Africa, 6am on the 17th in Australia and so on. To take part, tweeters will need to use the hashtag #AgrichatWorld.
Farmers in each country will be asked to share their experiences and thoughts on the challenges they face, the future of the food system, and to share photos of their farms. The pictures will be collated together by US farming twitter group @Agchat on to a Pinterest board.
Since @Agchat started running farming Twitter discussions in 2009, other ‘agchats’ and ‘agrichats’ have sprung up around the world, offering farmers in different countries an online space to meet and debate agricultural issues.
The UK group, AgrichatUK, has been running since March 2012 and has rapidly grown to over 8,000 followers. It hosts a chat every Thursday night between 8-10pm, which over one hundred farmers and non-farmers debate in. The group has hosted chats in collaboration with Defra, BIS, NFU, Soil Association, Forum for the Future, MPs and government ministers.
Jez Fredenburgh, co-founder @AgrichatUK
+44 (0) 7810132920/ firstname.lastname@example.org
Charles Tassell, UK farmer and co-founder @AgrichatUK
+44 (0) 7973412179/ Charles@tassell.co.uk