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Wednesday, June 2, 2010

Tailgate Lectures: This is the Life

I can remember sitting in my grandpa’s office, helping him gather receipts from the fiscal year. I was told to find the receipts from all things related to feeding the cows, gather them together, staple and file. Easy enough. We worked in silence for a long time with an intermittent piece of advice from the old man about organizing your finances so that you can avoid getting audited. He paused when we had gotten through one stack of papers. He said, “Tera, I’ve got a great family, successful farm and beautiful cows. Grew up on a farm and this is the life.”

This is the life.

The idea of growing up on a farm isn’t something everyone can relate to. This is a pretty obvious concept as the cityscapes spill out onto new land making a wider swath of urbanized culture through America’s heartland. Suburban subdivisions that were once surrounded by corn fields become surrounded by more subdivisions and we’ve created an even bigger division from rural America. Don’t get me wrong, urbanization isn’t all bad. With urbanization comes stronger economies, more jobs, higher land prices, diversification of farming practices, easier production methods and the list goes on. Part of our mission with Food for Thought is to keep the idea of farm to fork alive. We want consumers to have a source, close to agriculture; to gain knowledge about where food comes from. So that people who are removed from agriculture can still come back to the farm, per say.

There are other initiatives that are literally bringing people back to the farm! I have to commend several municipal systems for setting up farm zoos so that families and children raised in the city can have the opportunity to see a cow being milked, pet a goat and play with baby chicks. It is things like this that help children better understand where it is that there food comes from. Make it a point to visit a farm zoo near you, I have found several in near and far places:

Deanna Rose Children’s Farmstead, Overland Park, KS

  •  I have personally visited this farm zoo and it has an abundance of opportunities for children to learn more about agriculture on a farm. You can milk a cow, plant corn seeds, feed goats and during the Fall make apple cider! It’s a wonderful initiative by the City of Overland Park. Admission is $2 to boot!


Queens Farm Zoo, New York City, NY

  • Within the Queens Zoo lies a portion where agricultural animals thrive. Information about cattle, chickens, goats and more. Part of a funding project from the Heckscher fund, a great addition to this park.

Kentish Town City Farm, London

  • Free entrance to this educational and recreational project set up to simulate a town that is based in agriculture. Along with farm animals, stables and gardens there is the correlation of what agriculture can bring to a small town.   


What a way to experience agriculture with your children! Now you can get the idea of what my grandfather was talking about when dubbed growing up on a farm with family as, “This is the life.”

 - Tera Rooney


  1. I had no idea that communities and cities were during this. What an awesome idea. Thanks for brining it up. Another really good post Tera.

  2. You should visit the Deanna Rose Farmstead in Overland Park. It is a really good example. My sister used to take her boys there when she lived in the city. They loved it. There are special days that you can visit and do more intensive things. Every day there are the exhibits of farm animals, though. I loved milking the fake cow!



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