By Clint Thompson
The Alabama Farmers Federation wants to take children on virtual field trips to help them learn about the different agricultural sectors that comprise the state.
Throughout the next two months, different Alabama farmers will connect with children via Facebook Live every Friday morning at 10 a.m. (CT) to discuss different crops. The virtual field trips will be offered through the Alabama Farmers Federation Facebook page, starting Friday, April 3 and ending May 22.
On Friday, April 3, Jonathan Sanders, a farmer in Coffee County, will talk about peanuts and other row crops that are produced in the Wiregrass Region.
How do peanuts grow? When do Alabama farmers produce different fruit and vegetables? What’s the difference between a cow, a bull and a calf? These are just some of the questions that will be answered during the virtual field trips, said Mary Wilson Johns, Alabama Farmers Federation Director of News Services.
“I know that this is just uncharted territory for a lot of parents, a lot of students. By Fridays at 10 in the morning, you might be at the end of your rope trying to figure out what you are going to do today to keep the kids engaged,” Wilson said. “Hopefully, these farm tours will fill that need and these links to those other resources will continue that education so that students will learn a whole lot more about where their food, fiber and timber products come from.”
Wilson said she got the idea from a friend with Girl Scouts of Southern Alabama, who was looking for a farmer to talk about agriculture. She’s also seen the success the Cincinnati Zoo has had with its home safaris and conjured up this unique way to communicate.
“Because of that suggestion from the friend and really seeing how well another organization has done this, I thought, we could do that same thing. We could host these virtual field trips, invite kids to listen to a farmer and learn what goes on at their farms and how they’re producing, not just food that we’re all eating but things like cotton or timber products that become our toilet paper,” Wilson said. “We have a lot of very well-spoken farmers here in Alabama who would do a great job with that. We also have a number of resources that we’ve developed, either through the Alabama Farmers Federation or through Alabama Ag In the Classroom or National Ag In the Classroom, that we can link to after these virtual field trips to continue the learning for these kids.”