When Bruce’s school principal told his parents he was too smart to be a logger, everything changed. Set apart from a family heritage society had deemed not ‘good enough’ for a smart son, Bruce’s childhood was tortured by the thought of leaving a life he loved. Dutifully, he moved away, went to college and got a job in a city. Until he and his wife, fed up with their ill-suited life, shucked all social expectations and moved their family back to Libby, Montana. Expecting to settle into a hard but rewarding life in logging, Bruce’s family and community were rocked by a growing antagonism towards their industry. Soon, he was thrust into the forefront of a national debate in which loggers were denigrated for destroying the environment.
Today, the general public craves information on food and agriculture with an unprecedented passion. But the agricultural sector, unaccustomed to an interested and inquisitive society, has largely failed to respond to the public’s demands for information. Instead, corporations, time-pressed journalists, bloggers, media celebrities, film-makers, authors and concerned consumers jumped in to fill the void. Food is emotional, and these players – some well-intentioned and others not – got a lot of traction playing off consumer fears of the unknown.