Creating Agri-culture


20. August 2018

Read time

5 min


Storytelling, Humanities, Agriculture

Designers are the cultural bridge between business and humanities. They are the translators for understanding how user needs are paramount and connected to strategy.

Food is a cultural element. In many countries it is akin to art. It’s woven into a nation’s fabric. It represents ways in which people gather together, share stories, and have communal events. It is one of the most empathetic and social elements across the world.

In paradox, agriculture, the industry representing the creation of food, is anything but those elements. Our cultivation of food has become the complete opposite of our consumption of food. As different industries continue to apply user empathy, the agriculture industry has a chance to bring the empathic and human elements back to the creation and cultivation of food. It has a chance to rejoin the two sides, creation and consumption of food.

As new generations embrace purpose driven lives, food culture continues to be a point of human connection. Whether about nutrition, personal brand, or a reflection of morale values, food is a cultural representation of identity. Food production is by extension, tied to that identity. A trend towards understanding where food is produced is becoming connected to that identity. This is displayed through a demand towards organic farming, fair trade and local sourcing. The agriculture industry should embrace the story of food to connect with the people they provide for.

"There are stories behind how the process works. From the process of the food being produced to how it lands on your table. Storytelling plays a huge role […] the people behind it, their “why” behind it."

Holley M. Murchison

Founder and CEO of Oratory Glory

Stories have long been a way to connect people across borders, share lessons, and express the lives of others. Food is a natural place for sharing stories. Agriculture companies should embrace this type of cultural relevance and approach. Bringing stories of creation, production, and the environment back. It can be a powerful way to connect with people. With 70% of the world food being produced by smallholder farmers, the societal benefits extend well beyond food production. There are chances for users to understand how, where, and by whom their food comes from. To identify and share in the stories between their foods creation and consumption.

The Thought for Food Summit brings together an eclectic mix of people, striving to bring humanities back into Agriculture. Telling stories about those who create the food we consume will uncover their needs. The tools for those in emerging markets will always be different from those in mass markets. The more we know of people’s stories, the better we can solve for individuals needs on a global scale.

Taking a philosophical approach, as opposed to a technological approach, to develop the necessary tools can better connect the world to farmers who produce their food. The real win here would be to develop global empathy for those farmers, from small to large. Understanding their needs and challenges. Sharing in their successes and supporting them during failures.

As food brings people together, in its own way, so too can Agriculture.

“Science and art aren’t separate things. Before we had Philosophy. If you split the two you lose a lot. “

Peter Bickerton

Poet and Science Communicator

“We have these robots that can produce more yield, but these people don’t have functioning toilets or they don’t have basic equipment that would make their life a lot easier. Taking a step back from the scientific side and looking at the human side, which I kind of think where philosophy comes in, is kind of a way of humanizing what is going on in the world. “

Peter Bickerton

Poet and Science Communicator


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