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3 Good Reasons to Visit A Farm This Summer

3 Good Reasons to Visit A Farm This Summer

As I have written here several times, saving our farmland is vital not only for the food it provides us, and the livelihood it provides our farmers, but because it can promote and protect regional food systems, contributes to environmental quality, and provides fiscal stability to a region.

One of the most enjoyable ways to help save farmland is to visit a farm. Visit a farm and you are doing your part to help preserve farmland by providing a steady source of income for not only the farmer, but for the local economy as well.

Aside from saving farmland and supporting local economies, there are some other reasons to visit a local farm or farm trail during your summer vacation.

Since it is summer and all about vacation time, having a good time is the number one reason to visit a farm, farm trail, ranch, or even a winery or wine trail. There are so many diverse activities and types of locations depending on where you are traveling. These include farm tours, bed and breakfast farm stays, corn mazes, hay rides, train rides, agricultural/historical museums, petting farms, farm markets, food festivals, pick-your-own produce farms, roadside produce stands, nurseries, greenhouses, and wineries.

You can learn something new through a farm visit. Many offer cooking classes and workshops, and farming and gardening classes. You can learn how to care for farm animals, and if you are traveling with your kids, they can learn alongside you. You can learn to horseback ride. Or, you can learn how to make cheese, jams and jellies, or how to preserve and can your fresh fruit and vegetables.

Perhaps the biggest lesson you will get is learning what it really takes to be a small farmer, and why it is often hard for them to stay in business, and why it is so important to support them. You will have a unique opportunity to see where your food comes from, how it is grown and most importantly, who grows it.

If you arenít sure if there is a farm, farm trail, or a farm stay near your vacation spot, you can start with a search for farm stays at Farm Stay USA. It has a menu you can search by state.

If you want to just go to a farm to pick or get some fresh produce, check Pick Your Own. It not only lists farms in the United States, but worldwide as well, and also includes crop availability calendars so you will know what to look for.

A state with many farm trails, like California, often has one central directory you can search by activity or commodity such as type of produce, wine, educational activities, or accommodations, or you can search by area. The state now has nearly 30 organized farm trails from San Diego in the south up to the Gold Country. You can find these through UC Davisí California Agricultural Tourism Database.

Related:
Sustainable Food Resolutions
Know What’s In Your Food: Buy Local
What Makes a Farmers Market Great?

Read more: Conscious Consumer, Food, Nature, Outdoor Activities, , ,

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Judi Gerber

Judi Gerber is a University of California Master Gardener with a certificate in Horticultural Therapy. She writes about sustainable farming, local foods, and organic gardening for multiple magazines. Her book Farming in Torrance and the South Bay was released in September 2008.

12 comments

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1:39PM PDT on Apr 1, 2013

Thanks

1:37PM PDT on Jul 5, 2012

All great reasons to visit a farm, and not just in summer. There are usually lots of things going on with the different seasons. We appreciate you mentioning the Farm Stay U.S. website since staying overnight on a farm really gives you the chance to feel the rhythm of farm life and meet the people behind the food on your table. Thank you! We look forward to greeting you on one of our many farms across the U.S.

7:53PM PDT on Jul 3, 2012

Farmers arent really supported these days, and if you can, visit an organic or biodynamic farm.

3:12PM PDT on Jul 3, 2012

thanks for sharing

2:30PM PDT on Jul 3, 2012

Maybe people might develop compassion for animals if they see them on farms

10:34PM PDT on Jul 2, 2012

Agricultural Tourism Database; well it found it fantastic

2:34PM PDT on Jul 2, 2012

thanks

12:59PM PDT on Jul 2, 2012

protect life, prosecute those that seek to destroy our shared home and our fellow beings
life has value beyond measure
Peace and Love
*********** WALL OF SHAME ************
┬┴┬┴┬┴┬┴┬┴┬┴┬┴┬┴┬┴┬┴┬┴┬
┴┬┴┬┴┬┴┬┴┬┴┬┴┬┴┬┴┬┴┬┴┬
┬┴┬┴┬┴ The Wall ┬┴┬┴┬┴┬┴┬┴
┴┬┴┬┴┬┴┬┴┬┴┬┴┬┴┬┴┬┴┬┴┬
┬┴┬┴┬┴┬┴┬┴┬┴┬┴┬┴┬┴┬┴┬┴
DEMOLISH ------>>>>> THIS WALL !!!!
DEMAND FREEDOM, FOR ALL THE WORLD!!!!

12:20PM PDT on Jul 2, 2012

Farm visits are great to help families understand what is required to produce our foods. Other good projects include gleaning (collecting/ harvesting farm donated foods for food banks), and "gang farm volunteers" (groups of volunteers who help farmers with a project requiring a lot of unskilled labor). If farm visits to the U.S. don't get you excited check for church groups, NGOs and others who send volunteers overseas to assist Third World smallholder farmers.

12:05PM PDT on Jul 2, 2012

I think that it would be a great idea if all grade schools had "field trips" to small farms. There is indeed much to learn from actually seeing where and how your food is produced. Good article, thanks.

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Disclaimer: The views expressed above are solely those of the author and may not reflect those of
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