Kids Day at the Farm

Children from Ball Charter School in the heart of Springfield were wowed at Veenstra’s Vegetable Farm last Thursday, July 23d. Kids Day at the Farm, organized by Illinois Stewardship Alliance and the University of Illinois Extension office in partnership with local farmers, is an annual event aimed at getting urban kids out doors and connecting them with where their food comes from and how it is raised. Learning was opportune on the cool 73 degree and sunny morning and the kids were overwhelmed with excitement to visit the farm. With the added bonus of making friends with Choco, the family pup, the kids were able to explore the 6.5 acres of pristine land. The farm is truly a family affair where dad, Garrick, hand plants the beds, mom, Violeta, tends to the beautiful wild flowers, and daughter, Sol, supervises the chicken coop. In between the tall stalks of wild flowers were rows of peppers, tomatoes, kale, and more. The kids were in awe. They first toured around some of the small machinery and seeds that the farm uses and then were able to see first hand how the tomato plants had to be tied up from the ceiling to keep them growing in the green house. They then took a hayride to visit the chickens, who were not particularly thrilled to have a large crowd visit but loosened up to be fed by all the little hands. The kids even got to do some of their very own harvesting of potatoes. Digging for gold indeed! The morning ended with a personal farmer’s market, giving the kids a chance to purchase some of the fresh fruits and vegetables that they viewd that morning. The trip may have ended with a big yellow bus ride back to school, but you can bet that the memories made and the lessons learned won't stop there.

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