Throughout my career, I’ve been lucky to visit several small family farms. I’ve chatted with farmers, learned about their craft, and spent time sharing their passion. There is often a story that brings them to this challenging and highly rewarding work. There is a common theme that runs through them all, which is their devotion to their work, their deep love for their animals, their connection to their soil, and the pride they share in being able to nourish their community. I’ve always walked away from a farm tour with a sense of awe as to how they do it, and of course, a deep appreciation that they do.
I realize, however, that most people aren’t given the opportunity to visit a farm the way I’ve been able to. Of course, I also acknowledge that some children growing up in an urban environment may not even know that their food comes from farms or how hard farmers work to get those greens or glass of milk to their table. Luckily for all of us, agritourism makes that connection possible.
Agritourism is a way for families and children that aren’t part of the farming community to connect with those who are. It’s also a wonderful way to engage children with foods, like vegetables, that earn 3 Guiding Stars but which aren’t always easy favorites for children. Agritourism is growing, with more small farms offering family-friendly activities as both an income opportunity for the farms, and to encourage a better understanding of farming, sustainability, and the importance of supporting small farms. Whether you’re looking for a child-friendly activity for the day, a week, or to simply learn more about farming from your home or classroom, agritourism has an opportunity for you.
Your Agritourism Guide
Farm Stay Planet: Use this list of farm stays and guest ranches to spend a day or longer on a farm.
National Agriculture in the Classroom: Virtually connect from anywhere to see working farms around the country and follow curriculums to learn about honeybees, the impact of climate change on farming, and more.
Agritourism World: Use this state-by-state directory of family-friendly farms in your state that invite you to visit, pick your own food, and learn more about local farm production.
Urban Agriculture: Use this directory of resources to understand more about city-based agriculture.
Undeniably Dairy: Caring for Cows & Nourishing Communities: Brought to you by the National Dairy Council, this program for 5th-8th graders offers a behind-the-scenes look at dairy farming and includes a virtual farm tour and more.
National Farm to School Network: This non-profit works to bring agriculture education and locally sourced food into school systems.