At 2:03am, January 1st, 2015, Andrew Campbell tweeted a photo of a newborn calf on his family’s dairy farm in southwestern Ontario, kicking off a year of highs and lows posting farm photos on social media every day with the #farm365 hashtag.
The project’s goal was to shed more light on the daily happenings on a farm and to spur conversations around food production. The idea gained traction with farmers around the world, leading to thousands of tweets and social media posts from farmers across North America, Australia and Europe. Looking back, the #farm365 tag gained much more exposure than Campbell anticipated.
“It surprised me more than anything that so many people, one, on the consumer side were interested in what a farmer was doing, and two, that other farmers from Canada, the U.S. and around the world were interested in posting their own daily life on the farm,” he says in the above interview. “What it turned out to be completely surprised me, but it was a really exciting surprise.”
— Andrew Campbell (@FreshAirFarmer) December 4, 2015
Activists tried to hijack the hashtag during the first few weeks of year posting memes, pro-vegan slogans and accusing farmers of murder. Meanwhile, farmers continued posting photos of daily life on their farms.
“Farmers said ‘No, this is not what’s happening on the farm. What you’re saying is really made up,’ so they said ‘Okay, the solution to this is we’ll post what we’re doing.’ I don’t think it was their intention from the activist side but they really got the farm community behind it and posting their own stuff,” says Campbell, who wrote about this response in one of his recent columns on RealAgriculture.
After finding a subject and posting a photo of it online for 365 consecutive days, will there be a #farm365 photo from Campbell on January 1st, 2016? How does he plan to follow up on the momentum gained during 2015?
“I’m not sure, because while I probably won’t post every single day of 2016, I still want to be pretty consistent,” he says. “If anything, I’ve learned there are a lot of people interested in what’s going on.”