Of Land and Sea in the Age of Instagram

This article first appeared in Salty: The Island’s Food Digest on January 1st, 2017.

Island farmers and fishers are sharing their stories through social media, and people are eating it up

What if today’s youth were inspired to consider a career in farming or fishing because today’s innovative farmers are sharing their experiences and livelihoods with the world in all their visual glory? A breathtaking view of an Island sunrise on the water, the day’s colourful harvest, or a mouthwatering meal made with homegrown ingredients – these are the mesmerizing backdrops to a life on the land and sea that you can discover on social media.

Several Island farmers and fishers are making their mark on Instagram, Facebook, and Twitter. I reached out to three of those superstars to learn more about why they snap pics and share their livelihood on social media.

Do you find that posting to Instagram and Facebook has helped your career grow?

I was actually contacted by Grundens because they were releasing a new women’s line and looking for women in the fishing industry to try it out! They’ve since shared a few of my photos, which allowed me to connect with other people in the industry. There’s not a tonne of fisherwomen around here and it’s nice to be able to converse and share experiences.

I think it’s very important that farming and fishing is depicted on social media! It allows people to see and understand how food is brought to their plate.

Why do you think it’s important to see fishing and farming professions in social media?

I think that as fishers and farmers it is now our job to educate the public, and social media is the strongest, loudest tool at our disposal. At one time 50, 60, 70+ years ago, there was no need (to do so). Everyone either farmed or fished or both, and if not, your neighbor did and you helped in whatever way you could. Now things have changed, and the percentage of people who have never been on a farm or boat is growing. What makes this change dangerous is that a higher percentage of the world knows nothing about how their food is produced. Therefore, they are vulnerable to outside influences, regardless of whether that source is (providing accurate information). We need to make it our mission to bridge the gap and make people more aware of the lengths we take to ensure that the food we produce is safe and the methods we use allow for sustainability.

What motivated you to begin sharing your adventures in farming online and what has the response been like?

We’ve been sharing our farming adventures online since the very beginning – in one way to let our friends and relatives see what we’re up to, but as well to get the word out there about who we are and what we do.

Farming/fishing lends itself to amazing pictures and that is what attracts people the most – visual images. Posts with pictures in them get the most response, no doubt about it. People love to see what’s going on at the farm and what we’re harvesting. Also, it gives us an opportunity to educate people on how we farm and why. It makes customers feel more invested in our farm and creates a better connection. Often, we post what we are harvesting and bringing to the market and many customers will say they saw the post and that’s why they came (to the market).