Annual farm tour invites kids to meet what they eat

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North Alabama Agriplex

CULLMAN – On June 14-15, the North Alabama Agriplex will again offer its original summer educational program Touring Farms for Kids.

Director Rachel Dawsey talked about the upcoming event, “Children will learn about farming in Cullman County and North Alabama.  Cullman, Alabama is one of our top agriculture counties, and we like to showcase these rich traditions for our participants.  We try to vary the tour every year, because we have repeat attenders, but there are some old favorites that we always include, such as the Festhalle Farmers Market where children get vouchers to spend at the market to buy local foods.  This year we are focusing on Reduce, Reuse, Recycle and will focus on conservation on the farm.  We will visit a cotton gin and learn about growing and processing cotton.  We will visit Waterworks Environmental Education Center in Hartselle focusing on water conservation, and we will visit other farms and agriculture sites.

“The tour is for ages 7 to 13.  It is a drop-off camp but if parents want to attend, they can register and pay to do so.  We do not start until age 7 because it is a long, active day of touring and children younger than seven do not seem to have the stamina.  Children can come from Cullman County or beyond.  We have had out of state children visiting grandparents that attend the camp for a little Alabama farm culture.”

The two-day program can take up to 35 children.  The cost is $25, which includes a North Alabama summer programs T-shirt, snacks and lunches featuring local foods, transportation on the Wallace State Community College tour bus, $5 of market money to spend at the Festhalle, and more.

“Children definitely get their money’s worth,” said Dawsey.

Touring Farms for Kids was the first project that the North Alabama Agriplex Board hosted, starting in 2000.  The program has benefited over the years from the work of several people, including Dr. Tom (Big Doc) Williamson, Tim Scott, Jamie and Billy Troutman, Cherrie Haney, Arnold Caylor, Dewb Widner, Clay Borden, Travis Kress, Will Harding and Rachel Dawsey.

This year’s sponsors include Regions Bank, Wal-Mart, the Cullman Industrial Development Board, Cullman County Farmers’ Federation and Wallace State Community College.

Dawsey shared, “I was in Charlottesville, Virginia last weekend and saw an advertisement for a Farm Tour there called "Meet Your Eats."  I think this could be a good title for this tour.  Participants will see first-hand where their food and fiber come from.  They will meet the farmers and learn the importance of buying locally and supporting Alabama agriculture.  We will have fun as we learn!”

At a glance

Touring Farms for Kids

June 14-15

Hosted by the North Alabama Agriplex

Pre-registration required, $25 per participant.  Parents welcome.

For more information or registration, contact the Agriplex at 256-297-1044 or email cullmanag@gmail.com.  On Facebook, visit https://www.facebook.com/events/130018080886635.

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