Behind the Scenes

A single “tweet”

In Meghan Grebner’s role as Indiana Farm Director for Brownfield Ag News, she tells the story of agriculture.  As an anchor/reporter for Brownfield, she covers the issues of interest to small and large farms and everything in between.  From conventional to organic, corn to carrots, hogs to goats, all aspects of agricultural production are covered.  We are an equal opportunity agriculture shop.  If you come here looking for only stories about organic farming, you’re out of luck.  If you come here looking for only stories about 5,000 acre corn and soybean farms, you are also out of luck. 

Meghan has strong roots in agriculture – both on the farm and as a farm broadcaster – and any time she has the opportunity to learn and to help someone else learn – she does it.  This is an example of how she helped one person learn.  In Meghan’s words:

This story begins with a single tweet on February 12, 2012. A tweet from a chef that said Chipotle put together a great commercial to educate people about “proper food”.

That commercial depicted Chipotle’s vision of a utopian food system as the way all food should be produced… Small farms, organic, with everyone one or two steps away from the farm from which their food comes.

That commercial struck a nerve with me. I’d see tweet after tweet disparaging modern farming practices in 140 characters or less. Over, and over, and over again. I’d see phrases like “industrial farming” and “turn and burn” or others that said farming today isn’t sustainable. All of it made my blood boil.

But, those tweets opened a door.

It created an opportunity for a conversation with someone willing to listen. That person is now someone I call my friend. His name is Chef Hal Holden-Bache and he is the Executive Chef at Lockeland Table in Nashville, TN. He wanted to learn and I was willing to answer his questions. Over the course of a few months – we emailed. He’d send a list of questions… I would answer.

One of his emails said “if you’re ever in Nashville let me know”. In fact – I was in Nashville last week – for the American Farm Bureau Federation’s annual meeting.

So we visited.

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We had an amazing dinner and really received the VIP treatment. All of my guests are involved in agriculture. All of us are communicators (some radio, some print, and some PR). Chef Hal sat down with us – talked us through our meal and continued to ask questions about agriculture. He talked about how he selects and prepares his food, how he loves the farmers markets, and how much he appreciates farmers. I have a feeling our conversation about agriculture will continue. We may not always agree on things – but we both have a lot of respect for each other and now have a better understanding of how our opinions are formed.

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It was an amazing night. If you’re ever in Nashville – check out his place. It’s a little off the beaten path – but well worth your trip.

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In fact – Southern Living just named his restaurant one of the Best Bars in the South, they are featured in an upcoming edition of People magazine, AND this week the Food Network was there taping a feature for an upcoming show.

You can follow Chef on Twitter @halholdenbache or @LockelandTable and me @mkg81

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