Millennial Malorie

This could either be a good sign or a very bad sign. When I plugged “millennials” into Google, the ‘things you might also be interested in also searching’ came up as “work,” “technology,” –ok, so far I’m tracking– “hipsters,” wait, what? and “cell phones.” Oh boy. Here we go. Is it just me, or is Google being stereotypical of me and my peeps? Even though I claim all of those things as a millennial but the third… so far.

millenialsLet’s start from the top:  Who are millennials anyway? The ag community has recently turned its focus to this large generation, my generation, because my university said I couldn’t stay – not in so many words, but the feeling was then-mutual so I could get out and explore – I am between 18 and 33, and I’m either figuring out how to navigate the “real world” or starting my own little family, in both cases, especially since I’m female, I’m making food choices for either myself and/or my loved ones. And the ag community wants to help me and my fellow millennials make good decisions. Kind of like a mother hen, which I appreciate. But I’m an exception to the rule.

I am a millennial helping millennials, in the case of serving as an American National CattleWomen volunteer, I’m helping moms, millennials, and more figure out what’s so great about beef and why they (we) should place their trust in beef each and every time they (we) peruse the aisles of the grocery store. Are you confused yet? Let’s break it down now, Molly. [Barbara-Jean reference on the show Reba. Anyone? Anyone?]

My point here is a few weeks ago I made a pledge to blog more. After all, I’ve been a bit hesitant to dip my toe back into the blogging world after the little ripple I caused in the big pond last year. But I’m not going to let that drown me. I’ve been “on my own” in the “real world” for a bit over a year, if you don’t count the three months I lived with my parents after graduation and the three months I spent on the road with HungerU, I’d consider myself a pretty stable career woman now, in the most unstable way. It’s kind of like learning to walk again, but this time there’s no box of Coca-Cola to push around the carpeted floor of a 100+ year old farm house. Forgive me, I’m a bit rambley tonight, and that’s not even a word- Lord help me!

Here’s my idea. Eventually when I come home from looking at a computer screen all day, I’d like to look at a computer screen some more and reconfigure this blog-a-roo. Or at least do a better job of dividing it into categories and calling one section “Millennial Malorie”. I have so many topics I want to touch on so that I can share with you my first year on the lose- getting in your first fender bender, renting your first apartment (not on college campus), cooking your own meals- again, starting your network from scratch- again, finding friends, managing long-distance long-term relationships, what to do if your car gets a recall notice, how to set up a new bank account, what in the heck is a 401K and which benefits package do I chose if I have the option, etc. See? Lots happened this past year, and I’m sure someone could benefit from my heads-up on the topics. Right?

What do you think? If you think back (or forward, depending how you look at it) and ask yourself what you wish you knew or want to know from someone who was in your shoes then and now, what would you ask?

At this point, I’m willing to be an open book. What chapters appeal to you most?

As always, thanks for following along. I appreciate you and your kind input!

~Mal the Beef Gal

Addressing a Drought

Hello. Allow me to introduce myself. I’m Malorie, more widely recognized in the beef community as Mal the Beef Gal. I’ve been a stranger to you lately, and it’s time for me to address a drought.

Every day at work at the California Cattlemen’s Association, I learn about how ranchers are coping with the powerful drought in California that Mother Nature is holding over the heads of countless hardworking agriculturists across the state. This drought is serious. I most definitely acknowledge that and like the rest of you, pray for rain. However, lately, I’ve been struggling with a personal drought as well. A drought that Mother Nature doesn’t hold the key to– I do.

This drought for me has been a blogging drought. I have a new outlet for my writing that I contribute to in my roll at the California Cattlemen’s Association–the California Cattleman, the official publication of CCA. I hyperlinked the most recent issue of the book for you in case you’d like to peruse the pages! I’ve got about five pieces in the July/August issue ~ I hope you enjoy! As of late, I’ve been less inspired to come home to write after spending all day writing at the office, but that’s got to change.

Make it Happen

Here’s some inspiration. Thanks Pinterest! I’ve verbally and publicly (well privately public on my Facebook page) made a commitment to blog more.  And as I sit here with my favorite show, So You Think You Can Dance, playing in the background after attempting a recipe I’ve wanted to try for a long time from my friend Jenny over at the Prairie Californian, I was inspired to MAKE IT HAPPEN!

I figure this has to take some guilt off of my shoulders that has been catching a free ride on my mind for not fulfilling my goal of blogging more. But it’s not just for a personal reason I wrote this tonight. As usual, I hope to inspire you, my lovely readers, whom I appreciate VERY much.

Have you had a goal weighing on your mind lately that you just kept pushing to the back of the coat closet hoping it would disappear like the dust bunnies clinging to some household items you have no where else to put but the small space your apartment complex calls “storage”? Gee, that just kind of flowed out. I really don’t have anything against my cute little apartment, I promise!

Here’s to you friends. Quench the drought. Set a goal and achieve it! Try saying your goal out loud or sharing it with someone you trust to hold yourself accountable. I thank you for helping me stay accountable, and I hope to meet you back here soon.

Until then…make it happen friends! You can do it! Go team!

~Mal the Beef Gal

 

Lessons Learned: A Look Back

Today marks the day one year ago that Mal the Beef Gal went “viral”. I’m still not certain there’s a specific definition for the term viral, other than something that takes off at an exponential rate beyond anyone’s control, or desire. That, and the fact that companies are searching for the key to “going viral” daily. Unfortunately, as far as I know, the search is still on.

Almost 170,000 views later I’m proud to report:  I’m still me. After my blog post went viral I didn’t sprout wings, gain an extra life, or win a million dollars. I’m just a girl with an opinion that others felt passionately about as well. I happened to strike a nerve at the right place at the right time, unknowingly, and only a little bit on purpose. I am humbled by the amount of support I received (and continue to receive) for that post, and along the journey I learned many lessons. I’ve been thinking about this anniversary post for months now, and today something told me to check the calendar. So I did, and it was time. After much reflection on which angle to take, which stories to share, and how to commemorate such a monumental event in my life, I decided to compile a list of the lessons I learned throughout this experience. I hope that they help you with blogging or just life in general.

First thing’s first– I wrote the post, because I saw an opportunity to fill a gap, express my opinion, and hopefully educate others in the process. Contrary to popular belief, I was not paid to write it, nor did I gain anything from writing the post, except for a thicker skin and lots of love and new friendships. Here are some tips from my story.

Stick to your guns. At times I literally found myself asking “Who am I?” “Should I change my mind?” “Should I take the post down?” It was almost a constant struggle of back and forth in my mind, because of the responses the post was gathering. “Keep advocating for agriculture! We need more like you!”–keep it up. “You’re an idiot, and we’re all dumber for having read your words.” –take it down. “Malorie, will you help me start my own blog? You’ve inspired me.” — keep it up. “Mal, do yourself a favor, and jump off a bridge.” –take it down. Up, down, up, down; the cycle was viscous. But no matter how confusing it got, I stuck with my guns. I only added an intro to the original post explaining the situation, because I don’t post a blog unless I am 100% completely satisfied with it, and I couldn’t bring myself to undo what I had meant to write the way I wrote it.

There are rock stars in your circle. Those who are in your network will go to bat for you, no matter the situation. Even if it’s to kindly tell some guy who told you to jump off a bridge to back off. The outpouring of support and encouragement throughout the process of the “My Beef with Carrie Underwood” post, and its travels to all four corners of the world, was unbelievable. One day you’ll have the chance to return the favor to those who reached out to you when you needed them most. Do so with an eagerness to repay them for what they did for you. A simple “Keep up the good work” goes a long way in a hectic situation.

Some people are plain mean. Don’t let mean people get you down. Period. There’s a difference between someone teasing you, because they know you and a complete stranger putting you down in an irrational fit of anger. Sometimes you will strike a nerve, but chances are it’s for a good reason. Sometimes it just takes opening someone’s eyes to a situation to initiate a dialogue, other times it takes letting the interaction go, because in the end it’s not worth it to waste your time and energy. Simply put:  if you don’t have anything nice to say, don’t say it at all.

Stay positive even when it’s tough. I remember two days after the blog originally posted, I was invited to speak to the San Luis Obispo County California Women for Agriculture about my experience. I had originally planned to respond to every comment that the blog received, but instead, I found myself wallowing in the masses of words that readers had written in response to the blog–both encouraging and devastating. When I finally pulled myself away from the computer, ate my first meal in basically a day, and drove to Templeton, on my way there the sun came out from beneath a cloud. I cried. Sobbed, actually. The symbolism in that moment was so overwhelming that I couldn’t hold it back any longer. The whole process was fairly emotionally draining. I’m actually surprised my then-new-to-me boyfriend stuck it out with me like he did. He’s still around, so I guess it didn’t startle him too badly. I’m convinced it’s because I care and you care. But some folks didn’t, and chose to voice that opinion. Fair is fair, but at least be nice about it. Even when you think you can’t, keep your chin up, because someone will notice your job well done, and you will become stronger for it.

and the biggest lesson of all–

Keep on keeping on. It’s a year later and I’m still an advocate for agriculture. It’s deep in my roots, and it’s where I belong. There is nothing I love more than helping others find ways to share their stories, because your story is unique to you. If you have a story to tell, shout it from the roof tops. Who knows? Maybe it will accidentally go viral, and you’ll be a stronger person because of it!

Here’s to those of you who follow my blog and provide encouraging words as we go along. I can honestly say, I wouldn’t have gotten through April 22, 2013, and about the 72 hour period after that, without you.

Here’s to standing up for what you believe is right, finding the creativity to share your story, and above all, keeping your chin up along the way and you’ll never be led astray.

With much gratitude,

Mal the Beef Gal

A Blast From the Past…Coming Full Circle

Have you ever had one of those moments that gives your memory a kick start? I had the opportunity to experience that tonight at the Young Leader’s Social as part of the California FFA Sacramento Leadership Experience (SLE) conference.

Exactly 5 years ago (how in the heck has it been that long?) I was in my blue corduroy jacket as “Senator Bankhead” for the week at the capstone leadership conference of the California FFA in Sacramento. We learned about how policy is shaped in Sacramento for California agriculture and were deemed temporary senators for the week. We met new people, we made new friends, we visited with our state representatives, and we even got to debate on the senate floor. This was actually the one of the last times I stepped foot in the state capitol, except for visiting with legislators as a CA Young Cattlemen’s Committee member.

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Circa March 2009- “Senator Bankhead”

This evening I had the chance to attend this same event as a young professional in the beginning of my new career. I was reminded tonight that this was included on the list of my life-long goals back in high school.

Life Goal #xyz:  attend the SLE industry social as an industry professional.

Thanks to a recent lunch visit with my regional FFA advisor, Mr. Mooney, I was extended an offer to attend the Young Leader’s Social at SLE and had the chance to meet several top notch FFA members in California this evening. When I walked from the office I work in now in downtown Sacramento, through the capitol security and entered the hallways, it all came flooding back to me.

At SLE each “senator” is given a political standpoint and a bill that they research, form an argument on whether they are for or against it (which they are assigned), and eventually debate on the topics on the Senate floor. Though I don’t remember exactly, I do remember that my bill had something to do with pest control, and I remember some confusion surrounding my position on the bill. While I designed my debate around what I originally thought that I was assigned, carefully using the complicated system we were taught during the day, my conference facilitator came over to check in with me after I had completed my argument and told me he was sure I was actually supposed to take the opposite stance than I had constructed. Holding back tears while he checked for sure, I was devastated that I might have to go through the complicated process again. Thankfully, I was right all along and was able to keep my argument stance. I was also chosen as one of the few to actually debate in front of my peers on the Senate floor. I remember that I likened my bill to a house of cards simile. Without a strong base, the top card would never stand.

This evening I got to visit with several FFA members who are passionate about agriculture. They wore their blue jackets proudly. They wanted to know where I went to college. They wanted advice about higher education, career opportunities, the real world, and what it was like to be a college graduate. And on the flip side of the memories that came flooding back to me about my experience at the conference when I was a senior in high school, I was able to answer their questions, because now I was on the “other side” of the table.

We talked about what regions they were in and what chapters they were from, what their Supervised Agricultural Experience projects were, whether they were on their chapter’s livestock judging team, what colleges they had already been accepted to, what they wanted to study, when the black versus nude nylon issue would finally be resolved in California at state conference, and what the bills they were debating on this week were. And I loved it. I felt whole being able to provide them with information I didn’t know I would have now when I was in their shoes then.

The feeling was awesome!

Have you ever experienced something like this before? It was wild. As the event concluded and my heels clicked down the halls, I thought to myself, “You can come here whenever you want.” I work here now. In the capitol city of California. How. Awesome. Is. That?! I’m a Californian, and I’m proud of it. I’m also proud of the moments I was afforded in FFA and the moments I’m afforded now. In my new career at the California Cattlemen’s Association representing California cattle ranchers and their livelihoods.

Walking in the capital

I also pointed out to some of the new friends I made tonight that I wore my official FFA skirt to the event. :) #FFAProud

When was the last time you distinctly remember fulfilling a life goal you made a long time ago? Did it hit you with a flash when you fulfilled it? Mine did. Here’s to many more! When it’s all said and done, we control our futures. And they sure look bright!

#HungerCantWait

This West Coast girl finds herself in the South once again, this time in Columbus, GA, revisiting an experience of a lifetime in a different way.DSC_0284Last fall, I was a part of the HungerU Tour as one of three HungerU crew members charged with the task of inspiring forward action to help solve the world hunger crisis through education with the HungerU Tour exhibit. We traveled to 20 different college campuses and universities to visit with students on the East Coast about the difference we can all make in the world hunger crisis.

After the conclusion of the fall tour at the University of Florida, I made my way back to California, and soon after started my new adventure with the California Cattlemen’s Association as associate director of communications. But now I find myself back with the new HungerU crew for the weekend, helping inspire them to do great things during the spring HungerU Tour!

Today, I continue my communication training and am participating in my own activity:  write a blog. This morning we went over the importance of social media presence and how to effectively communicate with an audience across various channels including Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. Now, we are to the blog portion.

While I sit and listen to typing fingers around me, I decided to practice what I am preaching. Blogging can be challenging, but the best place to start is to simply begin. The format I have provided the HU Crew looks like this:

Introduction- introduce the theme of your blog

Background- include the Who, What, When, Where, and Why

Story Pieces- use the next few paragraphs to include the specific stories you want to include in this blog

Conclusion- summarize your theme and present an action statement.

While they practice this, I’ll explain my theme. You’ll notice that the title of this blog is a hashtag- #HungerCantWait. This is a new hashtag that the HungerU Tour will be using throughout their travels to link conversations and inspire that forward action.

After having been a part of the HungerU Tour, inspiring forward action is the ultimate call to action. Make a difference, because you can.

If you’re interested in following along with the new HungerU Crew- Mallory, Marshall, Tray, and Mollie- check them out online on Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, and the HungerU blog! Don’t forget to use the #HungerCantWait hashtag to share your efforts in being a part of the solution, too!

Have you thought about the action you will take to be a part of the solution to the world hunger crisis, because #HungerCantWait.

I Love Farmers, They Feed My Soul 2013 Agricultural Advocate of the Year Award

Wow! These past couple of months have been filled with a lot of firsts for me! I am so thankful to have recently joined the California Cattlemen’s Association staff as associate director of communications in December. This has led me to Sacramento, CA where my list of ‘firsts’ has infinitely increased in just a couple of short months!

Last week I traveled to San Luis Obispo to participate in the first ever FFA Link program panel. I joined a few of my fellow agriculture advocates in a panel discussion on agvocacy in front of Cal Poly students, local FFA chapters, and hundreds of other viewers of the internet broadcast! To view the panel discussion, click on the link above! I look forward to watching and helping this program grow!

When it is all said and done, I believe it is the greatest pleasure to serve as an agvocate for American agriculture, because it allows me to do what I love on a daily basis and help celebrate those who mean the most to me- American farmers and ranchers! There are a lot of us who have joined together in this front, and I am proud to be a member of the agricultural advocate community!

As for an additional first, yesterday, I was humbled and excited to receive the very first I Love Farmers They Feed My Soul Female Agricultural Advocate of the Year award, in honor of the late Mr. Gus Settrini, a cattle rancher from Salinas, CA, alongside the Male Agricultural Advocate of the Year, Ryan Goodman, who is the manager of communications for the Montana Stockgrowers Association, and three others who received honorable mentions.

This brand new program aims to recognize young advocates for agriculture who spend their time celebrating American farmers and ranchers through their advocacy efforts with goals to educate others about American agriculture. As it is the first year of the program, there was no formal awards ceremony, but rather a social media celebration in honor of the recipients of this year’s awards.

I am very thankful to be recognized by I Love Farmers, They Feed My Soul, but is important to note that as agvocates, we are a team! The thirst for the knowledge of agriculture that we possess is vast, and in order to quench it we must work together! I am honored to be a part of a great team of agricultural advocates, which grows every day just like the food that American farmers and ranchers raise for the world! Congratulations to Ryan, Jade, Taylor, and Sam and the countless other young people who advocate for agriculture every day!

ILF belt buckleRyan and I will each receive a belt buckle that looks like this in order to continue to spark the conversations about agriculture that are our main vehicle in agvocating. Nothing says “Ask ME about agriculture!” like a big, shiny belt buckle! Thanks ILF and the Settrini family! Your commitment to American agriculture, the people in it, and even those outside of it, is admirable and inspirational to us all!

Are you interested in helping this program grow? Visit the ILF website today!

Nipomo, Calif. Jan. 24, 2014‐ I Love Farmers…They Feed My Soul (ILF), a non-profit agricultural advocacy group, has selected Ryan Goodman of Montana and Malorie Bankhead of California as the 2013 Agricultural Advocates of the Year.

Those receiving HonorabILFle Mentions include Taylor Short of Missouri, Sam Wildman of Ohio and L. Jade Halliburton of Arkansas.

In an effort to recognize and reward young people who volunteer their time advocating for American family farmers and rancher ILF established the Agriculture Advocate of the Year Award in honor of the late Gus Settrini, a cattle rancher from Salinas, Calif. who enjoyed helping young people in agriculture. Winners were selected based on their advocacy efforts online in social media channels and at various public events in 2013. Goodman and Bankhead will receive custom silver buckles and a cash award.

Megan Silcott, ILF President said, “We are excited to identify and reward a strong group of young advocates for our inaugural Agricultural Advocate of the Year program. Each winner is an outstanding model for others to follow in advocating for agriculture.”

Goodman, 25, maintains an active blog called Agriculture Proud, has more than 13,000 followers on his Twitter and Facebook profiles and is a guest writer for the CNN Eatocracy food page. He is a graduate of Oklahoma State University and has a graduate degree from University of Tennessee. He is the manage of communications for the Montana Stockgrowers Association.

Bankhead, 22, maintains a blog called Mal The Beef Gal and is active on Facebook and Twitter. She has traveled the country as a member of the National Beef Ambassador Team and with the HungerU educational campaign. She is a graduate of California Polytechnic State University – San Luis Obispo. She is the associate director of communications for the California Cattlemen’s Association.

Short, 22, is a student at Missouri State University. Wildman, 23, is a student at The Ohio State University. Halliburton, 20, is a student Southern Arkansas University. These students are active in social media and have conducted a variety of public agricultural advocacy events on their campus, community and states. Honorable mention winners receive an engraved glass trophy and a cash award.

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Where in the World is Mal the Beef Gal?

The good news is I know where I am. Well, that’s only true most of the time, but in reality I’m in a whirlwind of excitement on my fall adventure! Some of you may be following along on my HungerU journey, but it has been a while since I last shared any details with you over my blog, so the just over half-way point of our tour is a great place to pick up where I left off!

Wait, you’re not exactly sure what HungerU is? Let me explain! HungerU is a hunger awareness program that is a special project of Farmers Feeding the World which is an initiative of the Farm Journal Foundation. The program is on its third tour, covering the east coast this fall. I first learned about HungerU when the exhibit came to Cal Poly and I volunteered for the crew as an Agricultural Communicators of Tomorrow club officer. After expressing my interest in becoming a part of the tour, I was hired on as a HungerU Crew member in August and began my new adventure September 15! Together, my two HungerU Crew teammates and I are visiting 20 college campuses and the National FFA Convention this fall from New York to Florida. We began at Cornell in Ithaca, NY (which is the last time I updated you…living on the road is a little hectic) and we are making our way down to the University of Florida in Gainesville, FL. What exactly are we? HungerU is a hunger awareness program that visits college campuses to engage with college students about the world hunger crisis and talk about how we can become part of the solution. We want to put an expiration date on hunger, and in order to do that, we know that we must first be aware of the situation.

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Students often ask, “What can I do?” Here, I explain to a student that whatever positive action step he takes will help, and I help him identify his action step based on his comfort level of involvement.

Here are the facts:  By 2050 we will have about 2 billion more mouths to feed. This begs the question-  How will we grow enough food to be able to feed that many people? We believe part of the answer will rely on advanced technology available to the farmers and ranchers in agricultural food production. It’s a tricky conversation to have with most college students, and sometimes, even more so their professors. But it’s one that must be had, because in order to make hunger a memory, we must first stop forgetting about it.

We have traveled from New York to Pennsylvania, to West Virginia, to Delaware, back to New York, to New Jersey, to Maryland, to Virginia, to North Carolina, to South Carolina, and now back up to North Carolina. That’s enough to make a girl dizzy! But it’s worth it. It’s all worth it.

I have been involved in communication my whole life, and now I’m considered a communication professional now that I have a college degree in agricultural communication. But there is nothing that can ever prepare you for what a stranger will approach you to say. Even more so when you are traveling all over heck and back asking and challenging people to engage and speak with you about a severe, depressing, humongous issue. Let me share one situation with you.

At a certain university, a student approached me and said, “I know how to solve the world hunger crisis. I’ve done research!” I inquired, “Okay, shoot.” He said, “Vegetarianism.”

I ran a few thoughts through my head for a quick second after hearing his solution. Easy, Mal the Beef Gal, I said to myself. Let’s play this one out a little differently.

“Tell me about that,” I said, giving me more time to see how I wanted to approach the conversation.

The student went on to tell me how he had won several speech contests with his speech on vegetarianism and how eating only a plant based diet would save the world from starvation.

Instead of pounding him with facts about beef cattle that I knew would refute every “fact” he had against the animal agriculture industry, and cattle in particular, I listened to what he had to say. He was passionate. He was articulate. He was just a little closed minded. So, I made it my mission of the conversation to pry open his mind about hunger and food production in general. First, I congratulated him on winning awards with his speech. I know what that takes, and it’s hard work. Our passions may be different, but passion is passion regardless. And his was meant for good, just like mine is. I looked at this situation from the 30,000 foot view. At least he has passion. At least he has the guts to take a stance on an issue. Yet, by the end of the conversation, together we had decided that it may take more than just a plant based diet to feed 2 billion more people in less that 40 years. I told him to keep his passion alive, and I thanked him for being brave. Because it’s going to take all kinds to solve the hunger issue. That student walked away from the HungerU exhibit feeling good about himself, which he had every right too, and eager to do more research about a diversified diet. But it was my hope that I continued to help inspire him to seek change. Vegetarian or not, in this situation, we’re on the same team:  being part of the solution to world hunger.

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Facts are forever changing as statistics do. We have it in our power to change those statistics to eliminate world hunger. We just have to start now. My Red Meat Mafia shirt helps me initiate conversations about agriculture when I am away from the HungerU exhibit. Have you got yours yet?

We know that you or I cannot simply wave a magic wand over the situation and make it all go away. Too many people are impacted by hunger for it to disappear over night. But if we all make a conscious effort to waste less food, buy only what we will consume at the grocery store, donate to more canned food drives, volunteer our time to food pantries, and actions like that, eventually we will start to make the ripple effect one that world hunger won’t be able to sustain.

My mission as a HungerU Crew member is to advocate inspiration through education. Inspiration to act, to use your heart for good, and to be the change you wish to see.

If you’d like to keep up with our journey for the next 4 weeks or so that are left of the tour, please check back with our HungerU Blog from the road, and check us out on Facebook and Twitter!

How will you make a difference in the global hunger crisis? Because, like it or not, it is demanding your attention.

As always, thank you for following along on the adventures!

~HungerU Crew Member, Mal the Beef Gal

A Sunday in Ithaca

Ithaca, New York is home to Cornell University which I will be calling home for the next two and a half days. Why? Because for the fall I will be spending my time as a Marketing Associate for the HungerU Tour visiting 16 college campuses along the east coast engaging with students in discussion about the world’s hunger crisis. You may have already known this. But did you know that I really actually have enjoyed the just over 24 hours I have been in Ithaca? Our first visit will be with the students at Cornell University tomorrow, and my teammates and I are excited to get started!

Today, we have the day off, so we decided to get a taste of Ithaca. We were not disappointed in what we found. First, we walked from our hotel to the local farmers market, which in my mind I was comparing to the farmers market in San Luis Obispo on Thursday nights. There weren’t any farmers there I know, like the Dairy Goddess, but I was personally amazed at the organization of the market.

On our way there we even spotted this ice chest accepting food donations in someone’s front yard. Have you seen a food donation system like this before in your area? We think it as great, easy way to help feed the hungry.

Food HubThen, about 25 minutes later, we arrived at the market. We knew so, because of this sign!

Me with Farmer's Market sign

I wore my Red Meat Mafia shirt today representing farmers and ranchers country wide at the Ithaca Farmer’s Market! Want a shirt like it? Check them out!

The market is held every weekend for certain times of the year. I was surprised by the infrastructure surrounding the market, as it was more of a covered permanent structure that vendors could set up their unique items to sell. One interesting aspect of this particular market that I appreciated was the fact that all of the vendors not only had to live within 30 miles of Ithaca, but the products they were selling also had to be grown within 30 miles of Ithaca. That sounds like a pure local movement to me. And it seems to be working for the farmers market vendors and visitors in Ithaca.

Farmer's Market barnSoon, we came to not only love the atmosphere of Ithaca’s Farmers Market, but we were soon falling in love with Ithaca. The sense of community the market and the people there brought to us was incredible. The flower vendor had beautiful flowers and arrangements. The honey vendor sold whole pieces of honey comb. The maple vendor had my favorite maple sugar candies AND maple cotton candy (YUM!). The glass blower has a gorgeous selection of fall decorations like pumpkins and squash he made himself out of blown glass. We were given free squirrel shaped dog biscuits by the organic dog treat vendor. The hammock vendor was in the process of weaving another hammock to sell. The cheese vendor let us sample a few pieces. The lady who we purchased Ithaca Farmers Market t-shirts from was extremely interested in HungerU and what we were doing at Cornell. The photography vendor had spectacular shots in print. The Daring Drake Farms lady let us taste something I had never seen before. Husk cherries. They look like a smaller tomatillo, but have a taste similar to that of a pineapple.

Husk Cherry

I love this picture, because I loved the intricacy of the shell on the cherry.

The apple cider vendor shared with us his U Pick farm, which we might visit before we leave, because my teammate LOVES apples and apple cider! I had a hot cup myself today, and it tasted delicious. Overall, the market was a great first choice to getting a feel for the local life of Ithaca. But it doesn’t end there. For lunch, we went to a place called Mate Factory which was below the Dairy House Co. When we stepped inside it was like we had entered a mythical scene of Snow White. I half expected Grumpy, Sleepy, and Happy to waltz by any moment! There were wooden furniture, leafy accents, and a homey feeling paired with “forest music”, as my teammate called it. What a lunch! Not only was it delicious too, but we spoke with our waiter about important issues like hunger. He was on board.

Home DairyLastly, before we wrapped up the day visiting local oddities and took our exhibit to campus, we stopped by the park near our hotel where the Ithaca College Orchestra was performing. It was a great experience which we thoroughly enjoyed. I’d say there were about 200 people in the park, at least, giving us a true sense of community that is Ithaca, NY.

Concert in the parkOver the next two days, my teammates and I are excited to meet the students, faculty, and staff at Cornell University to engage in discussion about the world’s hunger crisis. If you’re interested in following along with this journey, please like HungerU on Facebook and follow @HungerUTour on Twitter. For more information, you can also visit http://www.hungeru.com to learn about the program, an initiative of Farmers Feeding the World and the Farm Journal Foundation. I’m excited to share this journey with you!

Thank you for your support!
~Mal the Beef Gal

9/11/13 in New York

On a day like today, where most everyone in America can reflect on some part of the day twelve years ago today when tragedy struck America and changed the hearts of many Americans, it makes me thankful to, in fact, be an American. It amazes me how something so horrible can revive the fellowship of people, cooperation, camaraderie, compassion, sympathy, care, and strength of the people. I’ve witnessed that many times today through the stories and memories you have shared on social media today.

On a day like today, it is interesting to be in the state of New York.

While today I haven’t had regular contact with the “outside world,” per say, my heart feels heavy for the men and women who were the heroes, the survivors, and the lost of September 11, 2001. I watched a short documentary called “Boatlift:  an untold tale of 9/11 resilience”. (Thank you Katie Pinke for sharing) One of the men in the documentary said something that resonated within my heart. He said, “I believe everybody has a little hero in them. You gotta look in. And it’s in there. It’ll come out. If need be.”

The reason I didn’t have any normal contact with the outside world today was because I was in the first day of a training program for my new job that will help me find the hero in everyone. Today I am outside of Ithaca, NY learning how to be a mobile marketing associate for the fall HungerU tour. Together, my two teammates and I, will travel from New York to Florida engaging in conversations with college students at 16 different college campuses about global hunger awareness and what we can do to find a solution. We are spreading the message that it will take all of us to be the solution to hunger, and farmers and ranchers and the advanced technology they have available to them can be part of the solution.

HungerU Swag

Here is the HungerU swag I received today. I can’t wait to read these books to learn more about the effects of hunger.

Today we learned more about the HungerU mission and who we will be working with. We got to see our exhibit trailer, learn about talking points, and visit with our director and tour lead about our roles as mobile marketing associates. We also heard from our new friends at Charleston|Orwig about how we can be a part of the HungerU social media platforms. Over all it was a great first day.

 

However, the meaning behind today, the eleventh of September, stood in the back of my mind. I didn’t want to go the day without making some mention of how my heart reflected on today, as I, too, have a memory. My story goes like this:

I was just arriving to school entering the classroom, when my friend Chelsea turned to me and said, “Did you hear the Golden Gate bridge burned down?” With much shock, I was confused for a while, but then we spent the morning watching the news about the planes that had crashed into the Twin Towers in New York, as my teacher let us in on a bit of scary history that would change the world forever. Today, I am thankful to be able to make each day a new adventure, as some of us are not so lucky anymore.

My mantra for the next 9 weeks as I am away from my family and loved ones:  find the hero in everyone.

How will you be the hero of hunger? I’ll have more and more ways to help you discover that looking forward.

Love and peace to you all.

~Mal the Beef Gal

Twitter Party Hangover Cure

I think I have a hangover, and I’m in need of a cure. Don’t worry. It’s not your typical hangover that you’d usually get from indulging in a little too much of the drank, but another kind. The kind of hangover that has your nerves on sensory overload, your brain buzzing with excitement, and your heart beating a million miles an hour! I got my hangover from a party alright, but it wasn’t your average party. It was the #EZBeef Twitter Party, and this beef-loving California girl is amped up!

Now for my confession. You may or may not already know this, but I get drunk on beef. There, I said it. No, there’s no chemical component in my favorite protein that gets my liver working overtime or my nerve endings misfiring. This kind of drunk is almost the equivalent to to how a little kid might act when they’ve eaten a little too much sugar or when a dog gets really, really excited about a new toy. Simply put:  I just LOVE beef and sharing my beef story!

I love it so much that tonight I tweeted my little heart out by participating in the #EZBeef Twitter party! Were you there? If not, you missed another thrilling moment in the history of the American National CattleWomen. Less than twenty minutes into the Twitter party #EZBeef was in the number one trending position on Twitter. Let’s put this into perspective. Basically, of all the hashtags being tweeted on Twitter by Twitter’s over half a billion users, #EZBeef was being used the most. It was awesome! Now can you see why I’m so excited?

I’m such a nerd, that at one point during the beginning of the party I decided to check the trending stats on Twitter to see if we were on the list. To my great surprise, we were not only on the list, we were number one!

EZBeef Trending #1I realize I may have to back up a moment. Are you familiar with Twitter parties? If not, let me lay it all out for you piece by piece. First you must have a host. The American National CattleWomen works with Mommy Bloggers on Twitter to host our Twitter parties about our favorite protein:  BEEF. Then, we ask the Beef Checkoff if they will sponsor our parties. Because of the fantastic outcome of these chats on Twitter they have graciously said yes! We are VERY thankful for the Beef Checkoff! Next, we come up with a topic and a hashtag. Our last Twitter party (where we were the 2nd top trender on Twitter) was #BeefSizzles, a chat about grilling with beef. See?

Beef SizzlesThis time we chose a theme appropriate for a pivotal point in some folks’ lives right now:  back to school. We chose the hashtag #EZBeef to talk about quick and easy cooking-with-beef tips for the back to school season. Clearly, it was a hit! If you want to participate and enter for a chance to win prizes, yes that’s right I said prizes, then you can RSVP with the party host. This time we were very thankful for @ResourcefulMom, Amy Lupold Bair, for hosting us! Finally, once the party starts, the host asks questions and the participants can chime in and share their answers!

Here are some of the things I shared in my answers tonight! Did you know that BeefItsWhatsforDinner.com has basically everything you’d ever want to know about cooking with beef? There are yummy recipes, tips and tricks for choosing the right cut at the meat case, cooking methods and their secrets, and even reasons why beef is good for your health!

I dare you to get lost in all the beefy goodness! I do sometimes.

But remember about my hangover from all this excitement? The cure I’ve come up with may be opposite from how you would typically nurse yourself back to health after a night of partying too hard. The way I see it, I’ve got to keep the party I participated in going! After all, there is so many cool beefy things to share with folks! Like how sometimes trying something new, like peanut butter on a burger, may blow your tastebuds out of the water! Or how a safe and savory 160 degrees F is the optimal internal temperature for ground beef.

There will be more beef Twitter parties to come, but in the mean time, I’ll keep sharing my beef story with the folks who crave it. But what’s the better news? They crave yours too! We all have our own beef stories to share and fabulous resources available to us to help answer questions!

The challenge:  How will you keep this party going?

Put your party pants on, and join me in sharing the beef story. Because we can party ’til the cows come home!

~Mal the Beef Gal

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