Welcome to Food and Farm Discussion Lab

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photo: Paul Stainthorp | flickr | cc

Last year I began blogging at REALFOOD.ORG some time in September. In January of this year I started the Facebook group Food and Farm Discussion Lab as a place for a respectful, evidence based discussion about agriculture, nutrition, food policy and food security issues. Since that time FAFDL has grown to over 750 members and covered issue after issue in wonderful, well sourced detail. It’s a community that I’m very proud to be apart of.  FAFDL was started as an outgrowth of the work I was doing in GMO Skepti-Forum, another community that I’m proud to be associated with.

This new website will continue the writing that I’ve been doing at REALFOOD.ORG. I will be inviting the current contributors to join us over here. I also hope to grow the number of regular contributors.

More importantly, I hope to use this this website to expand the reach of the Food and Farm Discussion Community. There were a few instances where the work we did at FAFDL made it’s way to the pages of REALFOOD.ORG. Most notably the write up of the Q&A that
Katie Olthoff of Squaw Creek Farm did as well as Ron Rein’s guest essay the price of oats in Canada which grew out of his comments in a discussion thread. My goal is to do a lot more of that. Turning Q&As into articles, inviting members to do guest posts and use our best discussions as the basis for articles and essays.

The new site also has some great social networking features. Members can create groups and message each other. There is a function for setting up discussion forums here, for those who don’t use Facebook or for discussions that are a little to ‘small bore’ for the Facebook group. Members can set up their own blogs and a list of new community posts is kept on the front page. You can customize your blog to your specifications and there are themes especially for photography oriented blogs and some special features for recipe and cooking blogging. It would be great to see farm photo blogs, and food porn blogs and cooking blogs along with. Over the next few months, I’ll be working on making sure that despite the customization of everyone’s blogs, the community is still stitched together. Something great may grow here or it may stay entirely on Facebook, either is fine with me. The community aspects are an experiment to see where we might go next. My guess is that people will figure out ways of using this site that will surprise and amaze me.

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