Your First Public Informational Meeting

Use this meeting to educate your community on the factory farm issue and motivate them to help you confront the factory farm.

  • Invite your public officials and let them know that they do not have to answer questions but that you will save them a seat with their name on it (have chairs set up in the front row with the names of public officials displayed on the back. That way, you know who doesn’t show up). If the fear of being put on the spot keeps them away, let people at the meeting know up front that public officials are there as spectators only.
  • Have someone who will be unbiased as the moderator. This person will ensure the meeting follows the agenda, that no one is disrespectful to anyone else, and handle comments and questions.
  • As people arrive, ask them to fill out the sign-in sheet. Provide space for their name, address, telephone number, email, and a section for people to volunteer. Leave the sheet on a table by the door, with a big sign. Mention the sign-up sheet at the end of the meeting, for anyone who arrives late or forgets to sign up. Tell the audience that signing up does not commit them to being part of the group, but you will contact them in the future. Be sure to assign someone in your group to pick up the sign-up sheet at the end of the meeting.
  • Handing out copies of the agenda is optional. Whether you distribute it or not, read the agenda to everyone in attendance at the beginning of the meeting. Post a copy at the sign-in table.
  • Provide information on the table about factory farms and their impacts, including material people can take home. Consider making a poster with visuals of local factory farms. Pictures can be enlarged to 11 x 17 so people can see them better. If you do not have access to materials, print information from the Beyond Factory Farming Coalition website and make copies. (See the Educational Tools section)

During the meeting

  • Show one of the videos recommended in the “Educate Yourself” section.
  • Have any presenters talk about the social, environmental, and economic impacts of factory farms. You may wish to have experts like soil specialists, microbiologists, economists, water quality experts, etc., on hand. Find local experts who are established and familiar with your area. Try your nearest university. Please note that agriculture departments at universities can be heavily funded by agribusiness, so they might not be much help. You can try the Biological Sciences department. Know where presenters stand on the factory farm issue before you invite them to speak.
  • If possible, have someone speak who lives next to a factory farm. If you can’t find someone to speak in person, film them or get written statements about their experiences. A selection of testimonials can be found in the Educational Tools section.
  • Have a jar where people can make donations to cover costs.
  • At the close of the meeting, set a date and time for a follow-up meeting. Hand out a bulletin summarizing your concerns. Make sure to include your name and contact information on the flyer.