Shipping 2

Can you see my ears pinned back? Not shipping has been a Polyface virtue and to suddenly abandon it seems like dancing with the Devil. To say we’ve created a bit of a tornado here would be an understatement. So first, let me apologize, profusely and publicly, for not rolling out this marketing trial with obligatory finesse. As we’ve watched the backlash, we realize this looks sudden, desperate, and disappointing to many. That is our fault—my fault—partly because we’re so close to the issue and have been wrestling with it for three years and partly because as a farming business, properly manipulating social media is not our forte. So let’s back up.

First, thank you everyone who cares deeply about Polyface integrity and my own integrity as a leader in the local authentic food movement. That so many would critique me on this indicates a protective boundary around my wandering off the reservation. How delightful to know I have a community conscience around me. Thank you.

Second, what we do best here at Polyface is healing the land with caressing management (more earthworms, more pollinators, more biomass, more soil, more water retention) and producing top line authentic meat and poultry. We are not social media savvy, as indicated by the recent Instagram post with me showing off my brand new flip phone. This is the first major innovation we’ve done in a social media space, and we fumbled badly. Stay tuned for the corrections.

Third, we made this decision at least a year ago (more on the angst in future posts) and have simply been waiting for our logistics and technology to enable us to do it. We’ve been telling the world it’s coming in all of our speeches, our spring newsletter, and other venues for a year—but not Instagram. That was a mistake.

Fourth, we see this as nothing more than staying relevant in a changing marketplace where our whole goal is to decrease impediments to getting honest, good food to people, and to testing new ideas that will offer other farmers models to be successful and wrest control of the food system from unsavory agendas. Without the background, context, and a carefully orchestrated buildup, we realize many people—especially our beloved fellow locally-branded farmers—felt betrayed and shocked by this announcement. Again, that’s on me, on us at Polyface.

So now what?

First, you will see several 2 minute videos over the next couple of weeks dealing with the issues surrounding this decision. In keeping with our character, we’ll be real and transparent, walking you through our context.

Second, we will be launching a new initiative in August that will be perceived as the opposite of shipping, but which we hope will offer a new platform for local collaboration between farmers and consumers. This initiative brings an urban-oriented partner into our space that we think could be a “next big thing.”

Third, I am not a pithy sound-bite type of person. I love stories and context—get ‘em in the mood and then hit them with the punch line. In our text-messaging era, this can be off-putting. But for those of you who really want to understand and get to the heart of our “why” on this, I beg you to hang with me through a couple more posts. I’ll do my best to keep them short, but letting the story unfold I think will be rewarding for both of us. For those who don’t care about any of this, fine. But those of you who have reached out—some as cheerleaders and some as vitriolic detractors—I think you’ll find wisdom and heart in these posts.

Enough for now; stay tuned for the next installment. And thank you for caring.