AgriGrowth recently facilitated a discussion between several of our members and an initiative to discuss, promote, and celebrate racial justice, inclusion and diversity within the food system. The initiative is being kicked off by the Center for Food Integrity (CFI) and the Food Industry Association (FMI).
Knowing AgriGrowth’s trusted reputation as a leader and convener of complex discussions for the entire agricultural and food chain in Minnesota and beyond, those national organizations came to AgriGrowth first to seek an opportunity to share this important initiative and to gain thoughts, input, and ideas from our members.
As an organization, AgriGrowth was grateful for the opportunity to convene a conversation with parties from across the food supply chain because diversity is key to a healthy, resilient global food system.
As the national conversation about equity and racial justice continues in Minnesota and around this country, it’s critical agriculture and agri-business are part of the dialogue. Our work touches everyone’s lives in some way from employment to our economy to the food that we eat, and a variety of perspectives and ideas are welcomed at our broad table. We can all certainly do better, but even now there are many positive stories and examples of diversity among our members and others in the agri-food system.
Consumers and consumer trends in a global food system are by definition diverse, so pausing, listening, and learning about and from the communities and consumers we serve is essential to success. Diversity in food means many things from new ideas for food and agricultural practices, to our workforce, to building a stronger more resilient society and economy. Furthermore, as an industry, we are always looking to hire the next generation of agri-food leaders, and ensuring we include and recruit a smart, diverse workforce is invaluable.
Many of our member organizations are leading conversations in the public sphere about diversity equity and inclusion. Doug Baker from Ecolab, Land O’Lakes CEO Beth Ford, and General Mills Chief Executive Jeff Harmening are just a few agri-food leaders who have talked about this issue in depth over the past several months, and its impacts internally on their businesses as well as externally at a societal and economic level.
Our industry is closely woven together and actions by one impact many across the supply chain. Communities, employees, and consumers are part of that interconnectedness, and diversity, equity and inclusion are acritical lens with which agri-food must continue to incorporate into our work across the food supply chain. From engaging in diversity at the local community level, to collaborating with foreign nations, markets and consumers on a global scale, the success and resiliency of the agri-food industry and diversity go hand in hand.
I am thankful that our leaders are coming together to listen, learn and collaborate for these important conversations and explore how we can continue to listen, learn, improve and build a better future for all.