Social media has made me a better gardener and I can’t imagine growing without it. To be able to talk to people around the world who are growing in different ways inspires me. We can all learn from one another about how to grow success using the web. If it weren’t for being so active online I would have never know about GMO, or Monsanto. Ask anyone in my community here in Ohio ‘what do you think about Monsanto ‘ and they can’t stop praising all the wonderful technology Monsanto has introduced to the farm industry over the years. It was very confusing for me to be so active online in the garden community which is about growing beautiful and healthy veggies and see negative shares about a major seed provider in our nation.
I think I first met Janice Person of Monsanto on #AgChat a few years back before the garden community had it’s place to share on Twitter chat forums. I began to follow her on social media immediately with hopes of learning more about seeds. One thing led to another and I met up with her for coffee when she was visiting family in my neck of the woods a few years ago. It was so awesome to be able to put a voice with the tweets after a visit to Starbucks. She asked if we could do a photo for instagram together and I will admit I had to take a second to answer for fear of what the garden world would think. I knew in my heart that I wanted to learn more about what GMO really was from the source. Over the years I realize and take advantage of how fortunate enough to be able to reach out to Janice on social media about confusing articles on GMO’s and she always has the facts to share with me. When I was asked to come tour the farm and facilities at Seminis / Monsanto in Woodland, California this summer I was honored to be a part of their BlogHer Farm Team.
What did we do at #MeetVeggies
My farming friend were shocked that I was allowed in to the Monsanto facilities. HA No seriously, not many garden media folks have been asked to come see whats growing and to ask questions on location at Monsanto. Not only was I in the facilities where seeds are researched, walking the trial gardens and ask questions to the researchers I was able to snap photos and tweet as we go! This must have been the first day of a major garden event that I was MIA online because I was so engulfed by everything being shared and meeting the amazing people in the company.
EAT – Tweet and Learn More about Growing Food!
When we first arrived to the Woodland farm field it was pretty much like many of the farm fields I have been to in the Midwest during a great season. There weren’t any super huge genetically mutant vegetables on the vines or stand offish scientist walking the fields with clip boards in hand guarding their top secret growing facts. Being so active on social media, that is how I kind of imagined a place were all this GMO activity might be going on. Instead there were friendly growers who took the time to stop and introduce themselves and share about what they were excited to grow in the field.
I spent the day with a few of the leading ladies from the farm industry. Leah Beyer and I were the first to grab a tomato for the sampling. Did you know that these are not GMO? Corn, soybean and some squash are the only true GMO seeds on the market for farmers today. NOTE : only farmers can purchase GMO seeds – not home gardeners. I’m pretty excited to learn this because I always thought all seeds that were not heirloom are GMO. Alan Krivanek shared that they are researching what works so you can grow more with less pesticides. Wouldn’t it be cool if they could come up with a tomato that was blight resistant? By the way … this tomato was super yummy!
This was totally fun … cutting open food in the field and eating it! It doesn’t get much fresher then this.
In the watermelon fields we got to sample close to a dozen different varieties that are grown all around the world. This was a pretty cool experience cutting open a melon and tasting it out in the field. Jerome Bernier and Greg Tolla we re the watermelon growers sharing with us that day.
Over in the onions… It smells amazing! There are many new varieties coming out 2015!
Jason Cavatorta aka onion guy has some very healthy looking onions in his section at Seminis seed. We didn’t do any tasting in the onion area but I was able to take one of these beauties home and ended up using it in a salsa that was scrumptious!
Photos from Woodland, Ca – Growing Fields
Want to see more images from the growing fields? Click on my Flickr Album Here.
Brunch with Monsanto #FoodFarmChat
#FoodFarmChat Brunch took place the day after #blogher in San Jose where there were many bloggers who attended and had the opportunity to learn more about Monsanto and their food growing mission. I think the highlight of this brunch was listening to the other bloggers from different niches (lifestyles, foodies, mommy and craft writers) sharing how their friends would be shocked to know they are having brunch with Monsanto. I could relate to these other bloggers because I feel people need to listen and ask questions about GMO . I think many will find that Monsanto is more then GMO and that they are a company filled with friendly people who just want to grow healthy food.
Home With Produce and A Whole Lot Of Information
I returned back to Ohio with a #BlogHer bag filled with fresh veggies from #MeetVeggies and plenty of information to think about. The day I returned was also opening day of our county fair and I felt like Queen of the Fairgrounds when my farming friends had plenty of questions about the growing facilities at Monsanto. It was exciting to share with them about my experience. Did I mention the peppers from Terry of Seminis seeds were some of the best I’ve ever had?! I’m looking forward to growing some of his prize winning seeds next year in my home garden.
My BlogHer14 bag filled with produce from Monsanto
** My trip to Woodlands and San Jose California was paid for by Monsanto. The information I shared on this post today was from my experience and are my own opinions.