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Down “Om” the Farm, Yoga Event Yields Organic Conversations

What better place to get your “om” on then smack dab in the middle of a hay meadow.

Kansas CommonGround hosted yoga on the farm Saturday, June 1, at Circle S Ranch just outside of Lawrence, Kan., for an event that offered an ideal setting for peaceful poses and plenty of organic conversation.

“It provides everything we’re looking for in an outreach opportunity,” said Jodi Oleen, program coordinator for CommonGround Kansas. Sponsored by Kansas Corn and Kansas Soybean, CommonGround Kansas is a group of farm women working to help dispel myths and build trust in today’s agriculture.

Yoga on the Farm is one example of agritourism that’s an important component of earning trust and building relationships with consumers who otherwise would never step foot on a farm.

“People are hungry for opportunities to visit a farm, but offering them something they can connect with makes them more apt to come,” Oleen said. “An activity like yoga gives us a common place to start and provides a bit of comfort in a setting that can be unfamiliar.”

Three CommonGround Kansas farmers and four registered dietitians were among the nearly 40 women who attended the two-hour event, which began with a one-hour yoga session followed by introductions from CommonGround farmers Janet Phillips, Lavell Winsor and Krystale Neitzel who talked about family and life on the farm.

“One farmer shared how the rainy spring had impacted their farm. It’s easy for me to think about how inconvenient the rain is for my schedule, but it is not impacting my livelihood or even my availability of food,” said Bethany Frazier, MS, RDN, LD, nutrition consultant and owner of The Kansas City Dietitian. “It brought into perspective the hard work that farmers do every day and the knowledge they use to make sure we have a steady supply of food despite unpredictable weather patterns.”

At a time when consumers are “scared of big farms,” Frazier said, the event was a great opportunity to see the faces behind the farms in her own state that “are families just like mine.”

A post-workout yogurt bar sponsored by Midwest Dairy in celebration of World Milk Day provided an opportunity for relationship building.

“That’s where some of the best conversations were had,” said Oleen.

With milk (white and chocolate) in hand, attendees topped off the morning with a toast not only to tasty dairy but to a fun-filled morning down(ward dog) on the farm.

This is the fourth year for the event and Oleen said they’re shooting to get three more on the calendar in 2019.

“We’ve done other events, but by far this captures everything we want:  it’s mindful, thoughtful and makes for great connections.”