If an intelligent woman like Cactus Kate, who comes from a farming background, and JC, who left a comment here , struggled to get the message then I’m afraid the bridge you were trying to build across the rural-urban divide has been lost in translation .
You are right about the importance of agriculture to New Zealand, and the world, and Federated Farmers’ Open Farm Day is a good initiative to get people from town in to the country.
But your invitation came at the end of a long piece and if the feedback I’ve had is anything to go by I suspect most of your target audience wouldn’t have got past your opening paragraphs.
That’s a pity because you’ve laid some solid planks across that town-country gap in radio interviews and Qutoeunquote pointed me at an interview in The Press where you do it so much better:
But he has to ask why New Zealand, of all places, is shooting itself in the foot this way. He says it is shocking how dependent we are on food production as a country. Surely everyone knows that agriculture and forestry account for 65 per cent of New Zealand’s exports?
You might think Australia is a farming nation, too. Yet, despite those outback farms the size of small European states, agricultural exports are not even 4 per cent of the Aussie economy.
We are quite simply the biggest dairy and sheep meat exporter in the world. Or, to turn it around, the society whose fate is most closely tied to what is going on in its paddocks.
Yes, it is an exceptionally difficult trick we are trying to pull off – to be a nation with a First World standard of living based on an industry that generally, unfortunately, pays a Third World return.
“So many people are coming with negative connotations as to how we farm. And yet the world needs food. Farmers get out of a morning, pull their boots on and produce food, the best way we currently know how,” Nicolson says.
It’s clear, concise, easy to understand and easy to remember.
It worked in this piece and it’s a good blueprint to follow next time you want to build a bridge.