Farm and food advocate Michele Payn-Knoper has written a new book, No More Food Food Fights! Growing a Productive Farm & Food Conversation,” to encourage groups to “reach across the plate” and find common ground. In the book, she calls for decorum rather than the current mayhem that weaves through our conversations about farm and food. 

Payn-Knoper, who began breeding and judging dairy cattle as a registered Holstein breeder at nine and now resides on a small central Indiana farm, says she wrote the book after becoming frustrated watching the various groups talk past one another rather than focusing on their common values and ideas. 

The book’s very design lends itself to exploring both sides of the issue. One side of No More Food Fights! is written with chefs, healthcare professionals, foodies, dietitians and retailers as its primary audience. Flipping the book reveals the other side, which is geared toward those who produce food — farmers, agricultural businesses and ranchers. She intersperses personal stories from all manner of stakeholders throughout the book.

The book encourages readers to “think about the importance of the conversation from all sides of the food plate — a discussion that should involve farmers, dietitians, agriculturists, chefs, foodies and ranchers,” she notes. 

“Food fights might seem entertaining, but there’s nothing funny about the fights taking place over food production,” Payn-Knoper writes. “Resource limitations, animal welfare and biotechnology are just a few issues cropping up to create confusion in the grocery store. Ultimately, both farmers and food buyers are making a personal choice.”