CULLMAN, Ala. – The North Alabama Agriplex has recently wrapped up one of their most successful summer educational programs. On June 10-11, they held the 20th Annual Farming Tour for Kids. Each year, this event allows children to spend time learning about local farms and the agriculture-based work that goes into their daily function. It’s a huge opportunity for local children to literally dig their hands into all things flowering, farming and flourishing. The North Alabama Agriplex dives deep into the agricultural background of Cullman to provide children with as much knowledge as possible about the agriculture industry.
Rachel Dawsey, the director of The North Alabama Agriplex, shared, “This is to connect the kids with our agricultural heritage and with our current agriculture farmers so they can see what it’s all about. They can see where their food comes from, but also, there is more than just growing food. There are places, like 4D Farms, where they can explore agrotourism and so much more.”
The children were able to visit eight local farms to explore and learn from 8 a.m. – 3 p.m. each day. On the first day of the Farm Tour, they visited Sullivan Creek Ranch in Vinemont where Greg Anderson spoke to them about beef production, bovine care and nutrition. They were also given a horsemanship and cattle sorting demonstration.
Next, they toured Steele Orchard in Cullman where they discussed different types of apple trees and the famous Johnny Appleseed. The children were also able to visit The Festhalle downtown, where they helped separate and bag 800lbs of sweet potatoes given by Clark Haynes Farm and Society of St. Andrew- Alabama, and afterwards, walked two blocks down and donated it all to Cullman Caring For Kids.
On the second day, the group wore their new matching Agriplex T-shirts and visited the Agricultural Department at Wallace State Community College, where they rotated through centers to learn about the soil mixes the college students use and the differences in vermiculite, perlite and peat moss. They also were able to enjoy a hands-on experience with propagating clippings from flowers and discussing the different aspects of landscaping. As they walked through the greenhouses, they discussed the importance of controlled environments and how there are certain insects that are exceptionally good for plant growth.
The kids enjoyed sharing their newfound knowledge with one another and discussed among themselves their newfound knowledge. Smiles radiated among them as they toured their next location, 4D Farm in Welti. Here, they were able to learn about agrotourism and the importance of getting involved with local farms. With plenty of room to play, the children got to ride swings, jump on the bounce pad, feed goats and sheep, and even sift for gems.
After lunch, the group made a quick visit to Providence Farms to tour their grounds and greenhouse, and then traveled to the Young Family Flower Farm. Samantha Young gave a demonstration of how to make your own fertilizer with apple cider vinegar and broken eggshells. To finish off the day, each child made a small bouquet of sunflowers to take home.
Several children were attending the Farming Tour for Kids for the second or third year and agreed that the animals and flowers were their favorite parts. Many parents joined the tours as well. One parent, Jaclyn Bailey said, “I think it is good for the kids to see how other farms work. They are not all the same, but they all contribute to something larger.”
The North Alabama Agriplex will also be hosting their 2nd annual Farming Tour for Kids on today and Tuesday in Winston County, working with their extension office to provide an identical learning experience.
Click here to view a photo gallery of the event
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