While my wife and I watched a Hallmark movie just a week ago, I had the idea to create the Shop Kansas Farms Facebook Group. Here are some lessons I’ve learned:

1. 4,580 people want to buy local. Yep, that’s how many people have joined in seven days. I was watching a Hallmark movie with my wife one week ago and thought, hmm, I wonder if a FB group page would help connect the general public to the wonderful farm and ranch families of Kansas so they can buy food directly from them. Apparently so.

2. Staying true to the mission (to connect you to the wonderful farm and ranch families of Kansas so you can buy your food directly from them) is kind of like herding cats.

3. My original rules, created by a preschool teacher to be nice and share or you’d end up in timeout, were heeded by the majority. However, a few had to stick their big toes across the line to see if I meant it. I’ll let them out of timeout soon.

4. The pleasure of watching people connect has reminded me of why I believe that the agricultural community has what we’ve all been missing – a true understanding of community based on need rather than convenience.

5. This isn’t a fluke; people want to buy local now, more than ever and this idea of connecting people who want to buy local with people who sell local is spreading like wildfire.

6. Consumers buying directly from local farm and ranch families is an integral part of the revitalization of rural America.

7. The best part? The farm and ranch families of Kansas, whom I admire so deeply, are discovering what I’ve been telling them all along; the American public has tremendous admiration, respect and love for the people who grow our food.

I want you to buy as much as you can from your local farmer and rancher. As importantly, I want you to fall in love with them as much as I have.

Feel free to join! Go to Shop Kansas Farms.

Know your food; know your farmer.