Jones, who comes from a California dairy farm, and Isaacson, whose agricultural roots began through a 4-H horse program, are both students at California Polytechnic State University in San Luis Obispo, California.
The two friends made a pact to live a vegan lifestyle for a week.
“Probably, the biggest inspiration for our adventure into veganism is that so often we try to ask consumers to understand our perspectives as agriculturalists, when we don’t attempt to understand their choices,” Jones wrote in his blog.
“This week will be an exercise in ‘walking in someone else’s shoes,’ if you will. If we can do this, maybe, just maybe, we can be a little closer to gaining some common ground with consumers, understanding perspectives and communicating our positive messages as agriculturalists.”
The students kept a running tab of the menu for the week, including choices like black bean burgers, potato patties with salsa, soy lattes, vegan chili, hummus and plenty of vegetables. They even took and posted photos of some of their meals.
The vegan challenge was picked up by several agricultural media outlets, and the students were surprised to see suggestions and encouraging words from “real-life” vegans.
“This week was about beginning to gain insight into another perspective, all with the hope of becoming a more effective communicator because of it,” Isaacson wrote in her blog at the end of the challenge. “I may have only been vegan for a short seven days, but I experienced some of the challenges vegans face every day and some of the choices they have to make.
“I was also reminded of some pretty important things this week. Supporting the agriculture industry doesn’t mean just buying milk, eggs and beef. It means supporting all people in the industry, from broccoli to lentil producers. They are all part of the industry I love, and they all deserve to be advocated for. This week has made me more mindful of the choices I make in the grocery store and of who I am supporting.”
“Perhaps one of the greatest things I walked away with this week is the realization that the voice which barks the loudest is not necessarily the voice of the group,” Jones reflected. “It’s refreshing to realize not everyone who doesn’t understand you is out to get you. My humble blog posts stretched further than I imagined they could this week. To herbivores and carnivores alike. Thanks for joining, thanks for your input, thanks for your comments and thanks for your support.”
Proud to Dairy staff would like to commend the students for taking on such a challenge and teaching us all how important it is to learn about differing viewpoints and opinions.
Learn more about the vegan challenge for yourself at the following links:
• David Jones’s blog: http://agrilifestyle.blogspot.com
• Carrie Isaacson’s blog: http://carrieisaacson.wordpress.com/
• David Jones’s YouTube channel, where the pair posted two video blogs: www.youtube.com/user/wdavjones PTD