As he thanked me for a lovely evening at Banquet in a Field, one of our guests leaned in and hugged me, just like I was an old acquaintance. My new friend sincerely gushed, “Thank you so much for inviting me. I could just feel the honest pride in these farmers’ voices as they talked about their work. I don’t have that passion in what I do for a living. I’ve got to tell you, I’m pretty jealous.”
As the host of Banquet in a Field, I have the tremendous honor of welcoming guests to our farm. But, I’m working beside an entire team of farmers from CommonGround North Dakota to pull off one heck of a Party on the Prairie! After a social hour of appetizers prepared from the crops grown in our great state, our North Dakota-loving chefs lay out a feast fit for royalty. And a group of people who are mostly strangers, gather around the table for food and conversation, just like old friends.
But, as stellar as the food is (and it truly is…thank you Sarah and Tony Nasello and NDSU Meats!), the conversation is what excites me – and keeps me smiling – several days later. Here is a sampling of some of the comments I heard:
“Why does a corn plant have a tassel?”
“I’m 45 years old, and I’ve never set foot on a farm before.”
“I get it! I have technology in my smart phone and my smart house. You have technology on your smart farm!”
“How does a person get started farming if they don’t come from a farm?”
“Thank you! I can’t wait to come back to a farm and ride in a combine during harvest!”
Our guests leaned in to hear the responses as two CommonGround farmers were interviewed. One of the questions and its answer clearly stands out. When asked to name the most important tool on the farm, Sarah Wilson responded with one word: Faith. She explained that without their faith, she and her husband could never muster the hope or optimism to work through the challenges that come with farming (like this year’s drought). The crowd gathered around the tables erupted in applause of support.
See why I’m so excited? Connections were established out in that field on a lovely summer night. Friendships were made. Trust was rooted. People really enjoyed visiting our little piece of paradise, and they learned a smidgen about agriculture at the same time.
And maybe the next time one of our guests from Tuesday has a question about farming, they’ll remember that I offered to be a resource at any time.
I made 120 new friends at our little party on the prairie. And I loved every connection I made. I encourage you to do the same. You do not have to invite 120 guests. Just reach out to invite one couple from town to experience what you do. And then repeat.
That’s all it takes. One conversation at a time.
Let me know how it goes. I cannot wait to hear from you.