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Got pilikia (trouble) with the community about your farm? Try this.

18 Mar 2022 12:15 PM | Alla Kostenko (Administrator)

Original Source

Got pilikia (trouble) with the community about your farm? Try this.

Many people are generations removed from growing food for a living. They haven’t had a farmer in their family in decades and don’t understand some of the basic farming practices. 

Despite recent efforts to grow more good locally, Hawaii still imports more than 90 percent of its food from off island. This makes it difficult for people to get to know farmers and the challenges they face, which can lead to misunderstandings or even conflict.

Perhaps a neighbor has asked about how you fertilize your crops or control pests on your land. You may have received a complaint about noise or smells associated with your operations. Or you may have been criticized about how you care for your animals. 

Farmers can be hesitant to engage with neighbors or community members about these issues because they fear the situation might blow up, making things worse.

Mediators can work with farmers to help address right-to-farm issues like these, but you also can learn how to talk about your farming practices so that your neighbor feels heard, possibly resolving things on your own.

How to defuse a tense conversation

1. Listen and Ask Questions

Before you share any facts, help the person feel heard and show you understand their concern.

“I haven’t heard that before, where did you get that information? Can you tell me more about why this is important to you? Have you experienced this firsthand?”

2. Restate What They Said

People like to know that you understand them. Let them know by repeating what they shared. 

"It sounds like you’re concerned about water contamination from the pigs and the health of your family”

3. Make a Connection

Shared values are three to five times more important to building trust than focusing on one version of the facts. Find a connection, for example, the health of your family, your love of hunting, land stewardship, or protecting water quality.

“We share your goal of protecting the land for future generations. We use the least amount of chemicals possible to control any pests.”

4. Acknowledge Them

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