Kristi Diener on FarmFacts Banners
By Charmayne Hefley, Associate Editor
Farm-friendly banners sporting agriculture facts are beginning to sprout along California freeways in an attempt to reach consumers with the truth behind where their next meal comes from. Kristi Diener, a member of the FarmFacts website steering committee and a fourth generation San Joaquin Valley farmer, said the movement has 40 hosted banners lining several of the state’s freeways and highways from Ventura to Tracy.
“We wanted to take our message one step further by using the website to expand on the facts presented along the roadways,” Diener said. “We wanted to demonstrate how hardworking farmers are, so we ‘rebranded’ them by sharing onsite photos of growers and their families in their dusty boots, blue jeans and plaid shirts. These people are not greedy, ‘monopoly-banker’ characters; they are real industrious people who have families just like everybody else and are trying to earn a living.”
Diener said the movement plans to focus on positive messages. “While messages sporting the lines “Congress Created Dust Bowl” and others feel good to post,” she said, “they have a negative impact on consumers who already distrust farmers. “For ‘Joe Citizen’, messages like that only reinforce the falsehood that we are the bad people they’ve that we are.”
“We want to provide a positive message that also educates,” Diener elaborated, “one that would garner consumer support for our shared dependence on water.” Diener said the website reinforces the message that farmers are good.
“People can go onto the FarmFacts website after they see the banners,” Diener said, “see the same banners they passed on the road and gain an expanded version of that fact. Maybe some will take a look around the website. And, perhaps, we can change a few people’s minds about who we are and what we do. Let’s get the truth out there.”
Diener said the movement is hoping to transform the banners into a usable size to be put on trucks so the message can travel further.