Tweeting famers set to collaborate for World Food Day

FARMERS around the world will collaborate on 17th October to beat last year’s global farming twitter chat of more than 700 participants from 17 countries.

The chat will mark World Food Day and run between 6-7:30am (Australian Eastern Standard Time) using the hashtag #AgrichatWorld. It will ask farmers to share experiences on smallholdings & family farming, and their responsibilities in feeding the world. Anyone interested in farming is welcome to take part.

Last year the chat ran for the first time and saw participants, mostly farmers, from 4 continents sending more than 3,600 tweets in just 90 minutes.

The same farming Twitter groups are reuniting this year under the @AgriChatWorld umbrella. All are run by volunteers. These include @AgchatOZ (Australia), @AgchatNZ1 (New Zealand), @EUFoodchat (EU), @AgriChatUK (UK), @Agchat (USA), @AgrichatNL (Netherlands), @AgchatDE (Germany) and @AgchatIRL (Ireland) .

Tom Whitty, one of the organisers at @AgChatOZ said: “#AgrichatWorld represents a unique opportunity to join a truly global community passionate about their work and willing to celebrate food production.

“Farmers – especially small family farmers – feed the world and face a myriad of challenges which are often shared by other farmers in completely different regions – this is a chance for them to share their experiences.

“The global media attention on last year’s chat was phenomenal and helped attract so many people – this year we want it to be even bigger,” Mr Whitty said.

The Brussels-based live chat @EUFoodchat will facilitate the discussion by releasing questions for debate between 9-10.30pm CET, 8-9:30pm BST. To take part, tweeters will need to use the hashtag #AgrichatWorld, and when space allows #WFD2014. The main language will be English; other languages being welcome to allow for wider participation.

Farmers in each country are also asked to share photos of their farms and their family farming experience using the hashtag #FarmPics. The pictures will be collated by @EUFoodchat on a Pinterest board.

Since @Agchat in the United States 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.

#AgChatOZ in Australia was the second official chat, starting in 2010. AgChatOZ has evolved into a digital platform and network for farmers to speak directly with consumers, media and government about the paddock to plate process. AgChatOZ is one of Australia’s largest social media networks, regularly reaching an audience of more than 375,000 people across the globe.

“The virtual conversation has firmly put agriculture on the map and is one tool in showcasing the diversity, professionalism and personality of Australia’s farmers,” Mr Whitty said.

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