Dinner Is Grown: Discussing ag issues one meal at a time

Paul Rea shares his take on a one-of-a-kind event

No matter where you live or what you do for a living, we all share one common denominator — food. It nourishes us and sustains our health but it’s more than that. It defines our culture, shapes our experiences, evokes emotion and perhaps most importantly, it brings us together.


But amid the commonalities of food is the unique experience of providing it. What it takes to produce food and help get it to the dinner table is only experienced by a small fraction of the American population. The farmers that make up this small group don’t often have a chance to connect with those that consume their products. Similarly, consumers know to expect fresh produce in their grocery stores, but they may not be aware of the process for getting food to supermarkets. In a survey conducted by U.S. Farmers & Ranchers Alliance (USFRA), 72 percent of consumers said they knew nothing or very little about farming and ranching.


Recently, BASF hosted an event, Dinner Is Grown, to facilitate a conversation about the challenges farmers face to produce food for our dinner tables, as well as the desires we all have as consumers to know more about where and how our food is grown. Our goal with this event was to help make connections, build relationships and have the critical conversations that will foster a greater understanding between today’s food producers and consumers.


To do this, we asked some of our farmer partners to join media and consumer voices in a discussion over a meal made with locally grown ingredients. During dinner, I heard a range of opinions. Guests discussed and asked questions about innovation in sustainable farming practices, the resources necessary to ensure safe food sources and the importance of knowing where your food comes from. Having diverse perspectives at the table allowed us to foster understanding and empathy on all sides.


By the end of our event, each of our participants said they learned something new about our industry and all that it affects. One of our attendees spoke on how she learned about the many sacrifices farmers make to feed a growing population. She also stated that our dinner encouraged her to educate her audience on choice, variety and options for their food in a way that’s empowering. One of our farmer guests appreciated the opportunity to have discourse with those he normally wouldn’t. For me, I learned that dialogue is really important. It’s important for BASF to step into those difficult conversations about what farming means to consumers and the impact it has on society today and in the future. I’m committed to ensuring we have these conversations because the planet needs it and humankind is depending on it.


I’m grateful to have had the opportunity to witness and participate in this engaging conversation, and I’m encouraged by the relationships that were formed. From here, my hope is that all of our guests spread the knowledge they gained to others in their circles and continue to be advocates for the agriculture industry. Myself and others at BASF will commit to continued dialogue through events and initiatives like Dinner Is Grown. We encourage everyone, both inside and outside of the agriculture industry to be open, understanding and empathetic with one another when discussing what it takes to put dinner on America’s tables.


About BASF’s Agricultural Solutions division
With a rapidly growing population, the world is increasingly dependent on our ability to develop and maintain sustainable agriculture and healthy environments. Working with farmers, agricultural professionals, pest management experts and others, it is our role to help make this possible. That’s why we invest in a strong R&D pipeline and broad portfolio, including seeds and traits, chemical and biological crop protection, soil management, plant health, pest control and digital farming. With expert teams in the lab, field, office and in production, we connect innovative thinking and down-to-earth action to create real world ideas that work — for farmers, society and the planet. In 2018, our division generated sales of €6.2 billion. For more information, please visit www.agriculture.basf.com or any of our social media channels.


About BASF
BASF Corporation, headquartered in Florham Park, New Jersey, is the North American affiliate of BASF SE, Ludwigshafen, Germany. BASF has more than 20,000 employees in North America and had sales of $19.7 billion in 2018. For more information about BASF’s North American operations, visit www.basf.com. At BASF, we create chemistry for a sustainable future. We combine economic success with environmental protection and social responsibility. The approximately 122,000 employees in the BASF Group work on contributing to the success of our customers in nearly all sectors and almost every country in the world. Our portfolio is organized into six segments: Chemicals, Materials, Industrial Solutions, Surface Technologies, Nutrition & Care and Agricultural Solutions. BASF generated sales of around €63 billion in 2018. BASF shares are traded on the stock exchange in Frankfurt (BAS) and as American Depositary Receipts (BASFY) in the U.S. Further information at www.basf.com.