Oct 08, 2015
What’s the most (over) used word in the world now? Social. Well, I don’t know if that is actually true, but is sure feels like it. The word social now seems to the be prefix de rigueur for nearly every kind of activity - online or offline. There is social media, of course, and social networking, we used to hear about social skills (or lack thereof) and social gatherings. We congregate in social groups and people advocate for social change. There is something called social engineering (and I’m not certain what that is…) and of course a top trend at the corporate level is social responsibility. But, there is more…
Recently, I read an article in the Huffington Post penned by my friend, marketing strategist, Deb Owen (www.debjowen.com). Deb is very hip and her article, entitled, Social Entrepreneurship is the New Black, certainly piqued my interest. In her piece, she pulled a definition of social entrepreneurship from the Ashoka Foundation (suitably, a network of social entrepreneurs) and reports it as follows: "Social entrepreneurs are individuals with innovative solutions to society's most pressing social problems. They are ambitious and persistent, tackling major social issues and offering new ideas for wide-scale change.” http://www.huffingtonpost.com/deb-owen/social-entrepreneurship-is-the-new-black_b_8064502.htm .
If one who takes an innovative approach to large scale problems can be defined as a social entrepreneur, then enter most farmers I know. Voila’! Agriculture can absolutely be seen in this cool and yet very serious space. Really, consider it, though. Deb’s piece goes on to point out most major problems have not been ‘solved’ by government or non-profits, but by business owners hungry to develop the tools they need to thrive and provide the products and services their customers need. Agriculture is the same; in our industry we are constantly seeking to best conserve land and water resources while adapting to feed a growing world all amid mounting regulations and consumer confusion about what type of agriculture is best, or safest, or yes, most socially acceptable. We embody social entrepreneurship at its finest.
There’s just one problem--we choose not to tell anybody. We don’t toot our own horns, bang our own drums, or get out there in the social spaces the way we could. That’s changing as more farmers and industry professionals are recognizing the need to be advocates and agriculturalists. But, we’ve got work to do. Let’s face it - we have a great story to tell; perhaps agriculture is the new black. Or maybe, Barbara Mandrell already got it correct: 'I was country when country wasn’t cool'.
Agriculture, It’s time to share our social entrepreneurship with the world.