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Follow farmers, see the world

Get a glimpse of life around the world via social media.

When I was in eighth grade, my class signed up for pen pals. I was assigned Angela from Ireland. We wrote all through high school and college, fell out of touch as our lives got busy, then reconnected on Facebook several years ago.

Kids today don’t have pen pals. Or write letters. I think they’re missing out. It was so fun to learn about my Irish friend, her family, and their customs. We exchanged photos and gifts. The big world suddenly felt smaller.

Social media has taken the place of the old pen pal program. My kids have friends from around the globe who they’ve never met except online. The whole world feels smaller today.

I’m obsessed with following everyday people from all over the world on social media, especially farmers.

It’s so interesting to me to learn about their daily lives. My feeds are filled with photos and tales of irrigation efforts in Botswana, the coffee harvest at a tribal farm in Uganda, dairy farming in Argentina, soybean and rice production in Japan, plus Swedish goats and vineyards in France — just for starters.

When war broke out in Ukraine, I began following several journalists, farmers, and other Ukrainian accounts. Seeing their heartbreaking photos and hearing stories about their families took a news story from a faraway land and made it personal to me.

One of the best things about using this technology to follow farmers from around the world is that you don’t have to speak their language. All it takes is a click on the “see translation” link under posts, and language is no longer a barrier.

That’s a huge advantage over the old pen pal days. I loved getting to know Angela, but because I spoke only English then, my choices when it came to selecting a country were pretty limited.

Do a few searches in your favorite social media platforms and add some farmers from around the world. It will be interesting to see the differences in your ways of life, and witnessing the similarities will make your world feel smaller.

Browse a list of some of Lisa’s favorite Irish farmers on Twitter at irishtwitter.

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