Consumer education is a powerful tool. Research indicates that more than 85 percent of U.S. households buy organic, and yet there is still marketplace confusion about why organic is healthier for eaters, farmers, and environments.
Most farmers don’t have an extra hour in the middle of their day to be a guest on a podcast, host a webinar, or create infographics to share on their social media platforms. Groups like Kitchen Table Advisors and other third parties make consumer education more accessible for organic farmers, but CCOF and its Foundation are still looking for additional avenues to get the word out about organic. One strategy to educate consumers is simple: go where they are.
Despite the growth of organic, since 2003, into a $50 billion–plus industry, many farmers struggle with the technological advances required to market their organic products to a variety of buyers, especially direct-to-consumer sales channels. The CCOF Foundation recently launched a podcast series with the goal of providing education to farmers and consumers without a time constraint; farmers can listen to podcasts while in the fields, and parents can listen to a podcast on their way to and from the grocery store. Even so, how do we reach the conscious consumers, ranging from Gen Z through older millennials, who might not know much about their food sources? One avenue only lightly explored by CCOF has been celebrity endorsements.
Actors, influencers, and public figures alike have massive platforms that have the power to affect real change really quickly. One need look no further than a 1988 interview of Meryl Streep on 60 Minutes to prove the effectiveness of a celebrity endorsement. When Streep claimed she only feeds her family organic, people listened. With the democratization of the celebrity through social media in the modern era, influencers, foodies, and dancing TikTok sensations have joined the ranks of esteemed artists like Streep in educating their followers on food systems, health, and more. Most recently, actors Nicholas Gonzales and Kelsey Crane have joined in supporting organic farmers across the United States. They take special care to call out greenwashing and use their platforms to educate their followers on climate change, environmental impacts of chemical agriculture, and (we think most importantly) the benefits of organic farming in regenerating soil health.
Listen to CCOF’s Shawna Rodgers, Gonzales, and Crane discussing the history of CCOF, our organic transition initiatives through the CCOF Foundation, and how consumers can support organic farmers now. The recording is available on YouTube and Instagram.