Young people are becoming more removed from where their food originates. School-age children do not have a proficient understanding of how the food system works and the types of agricutural commodities raised in the local area. In addition, young people need to be educated on healthy food choices, many of these foods being grown locally. In collaboration with local agricultural and conservation organizations, we are building a Farm Friends Barn exhibit in Becker, MN.
Little Farm Hands and their families get their work aprons and fire up their imaginations to help with the farm chores, collect goods to sell at the farmer's market, and then spend their "earnings" at the grocery store.
This mock agricultural adventure will consist of a series of livestock barns, a grain bin, a tractor dealer, garden plots, an apple orchard, and a farmers market. The experience staff directs and explains what happens to food from a starting point to the step in the process at the grocery store.
Each station provides hands-on tasks related to planning crops and the tending of animals. For example, at the chicken coop, the Little Farm Hands feed the chicken grain they "harvested" and then collect the eggs. At the dairy barn children milk a cow and at the tractor shed they drive peddle tractors with wagons to haul the hay for the animals. After the children have gone through each of the miniature barns and collected their products they "sell" them at the farmer's market for "cash" to be used at the retail grocery store where they have the opportunity to "buy" their finished product such as apples, milk, cereal, jerky, soy nuts, fruit, and vegetables. Additional stations will address agricultural related concerns; such as ground water quality and quantity, soil erosion, etc. Consider contributing to this project. We need this to happen more than ever.