© Guardian photo by Maureen Coulter
Scott Drake, owner of Steerman’s Quality Meats in Vernon Bridge, P.E.I., takes a Felfie with one of his cattle. Farmers taking selfies, called felfies, is a way for consumers to connect with farmers.
Prince Edward Island producers taking self-portrait photographs as way to connect with consumers and show typical life on a farm
Many Canadian beef farmers and ranchers have taken the leap into social media to relate with consumers by taking felfies — a combination of farmer and selfie.
A selfie is a type of self-portrait photograph, typically taken with a hand-held digital camera or camera phone.
The felfie is seen as one way beef farmers can engage with their consumers by connecting the farm to the fork by taking a photo to show life on Canadian farms.
Scott Drake, owner of Steerman’s Quality Meats in Vernon Bridge, P.E.I., thinks felfies are a good way to connect the farmer to the consumer.
“Oh, it’s a good idea because people are so disconnected of the farm these days.”
Drake said most people are a least one or two generations away from the farm and therefore there is a real disconnect of where their food comes from.
“A program like this helps bring that back and makes them realize that there is real people producing their food — that they care about what they produce.”
Ivan Johnson, chair of the P.E.I. Cattle Producers and on the board for the Canadian Cattlemen’s Association, is himself a cow and calf producer in Belmont Lot 16 in P.E.I. Johnson said he thinks felfies are a great idea.
“As beef producers, we have been looking at ways to better promote ourselves.”
Johnson said it’s a sign of the times.
“You can touch and reach so many more people now through social media than ever before.”
Drake said when he first learned how to use a smartphone, he was ready to give it up after two weeks.
“If your finger was wet, or if a piece of dirt from the farm got on it, it wouldn’t work right.”
It took him a while to catch on, he said.
“I’m on to it now. Got the kids to show me a couple of things a week and kept progressing from there. I can do pretty near anything on it now — email, texting and pictures.”
Drake is a fourth-generation farmer and has been farming since he finished high school. He gradually built up his meat business and now has 300 cattle, 200 pigs and 300 chickens on his farm.
He feels the consumer has to have assurances of where their food is coming from.
“If they can put a personal face with that then they feel they can trust, that will help gain consumer confidence.”
Johnson said people want to know where their food comes from and what kind of environment their food was raised in.
“That’s really our goal is to show people where their product is coming from.”