EXPOSURE TO THE FOOD SYSTEM: Farm Field Days maybe the Missing Link
As a child, I absolutely loved the great outdoors especially playing in the dirt or what we now call soil. I would make mud pies selling them to family members and friends. I would sit on the front porch trying to crack pecans from our pecan trees. I would even take off my shoes and walk in the lush green grass, grabbing a handful of honey suckles gazing at the sky. Yes indeed, I love the great outdoors. As an adult, it’s not surprising I studied Agriculture Business Management/ Economics. Business and Agriculture the best of both worlds. So it’s definitely no surprise when you see farmers and urban gardeners appreciate the great outdoors too especially attending farm field days. In my opinion, farm field days are one of the many educational tools which participants enjoy learning on the land from a farmer’s perspective. Farm field days allow participants to “see, hear, and touch,” first- hand about farming but without the fluff. In addition, participants can hear and see the passion in the farmer’s eyes sharing their life story.
Presently, I’m working on a few educational programs which will include farm field days highlighting food safety, value-added agriculture and government programs and services. Our farm field days are generally open to the public for customers to come along for the educational journey to learn about where they food comes from and the opportunity to purchase local food. Our Center is constantly trying to build bridges with farm days/tours from farmers to consumer and the youth. This opportunity provides a forum for people of all walks of life to gain exposure to farming, learn more about growing their own food and including the exposure to agriculture careers. Exposure plays a pivotal role in growing future farmers, especially inspiring the youth into STEAM (Science Technology, Engineering, Agriculture Mathematics) careers. Farming is a doorway to building and growing a healthier community. The simplicity of exposure through farming can spark the imagination, giving all participants to view the food system and the people that grow it. We must never underestimate the power of exposure. By hosting one farm field day, we have the power to influence how individuals see agriculture. We have the power to inspire future farmers of America. We have the power to showcase farmers and urban garden, and guess what- extend the focus on health and wellness practices. Whether its promoting farmers, providing opportunities for urban community gardeners, and exposing consumers to buy fresh by local from farmers, our hope is to spur the imagination on all levels. We are the connector of the food system. And I believe it can happen by viewing one farm at a time