Not so long ago, our images of farmers, nursery people, anybody who grew something, were pretty homogenous. Farmers wore overalls and drove tractors across their fields. Greenhouses were filled with benches covered in pots and trays of potting mix while an open bag of peat spilled its contents onto the floor.
Nowadays a farmer can grow food in a warehouse, the interior of which never sees the light of day. Greenhouses may not contain an ounce of potting soil. Arguably, the keenest diagnostic tool may no longer be our senses but a gadget we hold in our hand. Needless to say, times have changed.
How we do business has changed as well. Developments like food safety regulations and organic certification add layers of complexity and intention to what we do. Technology has revolutionized our industries. Advancements in this arena make it possible to check conditions on the land and in the greenhouse from another building, another town, another state.
These changes are exciting! They allow us to grow more food, conserve resources and keep people safe. However, they can also create division and misunderstanding: traditional farmers vs hydroponic farmers, urban vs rural, conventional vs organic. We love our tribes and are protective of our turf.
What we need to remember, though, is that there is room for many ideas and many ways. Feeding the soon-to-be 9 billion people on this planet will not be accomplished if we keep to our silos. Mutual respect and collaboration lead to innovation.
We can’t learn if our eyes and ears are closed to new ideas. And for all you lovers of new ideas, don’t forget that traditional ways have value too. How do we keep on top of the day to day tasks of running a business, continue to push the envelope of how we do business, and leave room for the myriad of ways in which food is grown?
At Quick Plug North America, we are proud to work with all of you. Hearing information across market segments invites a pollination of ideas from which we can all benefit. In that spirit, we hope to use this blog space to highlight commonalities, celebrate differences, and share ideas. We look forward to learning with you!