Autumn is a wonderful time to celebrate agriculture in America with the harvest of many of the crops that feed the world. Studies show that the average American farmer feeds approximately 155 people. To celebrate the harvest and teach your family more about where their food comes from and how it is grown, why not learn more about agriculture and local food through:
- Visit to the local Farmers Market where you can actually talk with the grower http://search.ams.usda.gov/farmersmarkets/. Asking questions about which apple is best for baking, eating, or making homemade applesauce for example.
- Touring a farm – be it a dairy farm, historic farm, Amish farm, driving tour, or even an alpaca farm; there are many different types to choose from. Or watch for a farm safety day to be held in your area.
- Going to a “You Pick” farm to pick your own pumpkins or apples.
- Seeking out the nearest corn maze http://www.cornmazesamerica.com/. Be sure to wear sturdy walking shoes, casual clothes, bug spray, and bring a flash light. Check to see if the maze is recommended for teens, adults or small children.
- If visiting a farm isn’t easy for you, include books about agriculture or farming when reading to your children – here are a few lists of books to start with http://ofbf.org/uploads/BookAwardWinners_handout14.pdf or http://www.agday.org/education/reading.php . You may want to pick up one new agriculture inspired book each time you go to the library.
- Or encouraging your family to turn off electronic devices during your next car trip and playing old fashioned seek and find games. Who can see the next tractor, cow, horse, red or white barn, field of corn or pumpkins, apple orchard, hog, combine, wagon, lamb, goat, or other agriculture inspired item? My family has done this for years. Typically the person who found the last item lists the next item to look for. We all laughed hysterically when my young daughter said llama and a few miles down the road there were two in a pasture.
- And keeping your eye out for agriculture inspired poster, writing, poetry, or coloring contests. Many Farm Bureau organizations or other agriculture groups sponsor these contests for children to promote farming and food. Prizes may range from small to larger items like gift cards or scholarships.
Celebrate the harvest and local foods this fall and any time of year by trying one of these family activities.
Writer: Lisa Barlage, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Ross County.
Reviewer: Cindy Shuster, Extension Educator, Family and Consumer Sciences, Ohio State University Extension, Perry County.