Feed piglets, go on a wagon ride and learn about cold-hardy wine grapes during the Farm Around Boulder County Farm Tours on Sunday, Aug. 13. Participating farmers are opening their doors and inviting the community to experience agriculture abundance during the peak of the growing season.
The farm tours are organized by Farm Festivities, a local business with the mission to provide educational and fun farm events for all ages. Founder Gretchen Heine hopes that when people experience farm life first-hand, they will understand the importance of local agriculture and the key role farmers play in our daily lives.
Heine grew up on a farm in Central Oregon and credits her upbringing to her interest in agriculture education. “My dad began farming when he was 18, growing crops for seed and raising pigs. It wasn’t an easy life for my parents but it helped shape me into the person I am today. I have a great appreciation for the men and women that produce our food.”
According to the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s (USDA) 2012 census, Boulder County has 855 farms. Many farmers lease their land from the County, including a majority of the farmers on the tour. “When I began meeting local farmers and hearing their stories of why they chose agriculture, I was inspired to share that experience with others.” Many of the farmers on the tour are self-taught, first-generation farmers that see a better way of growing food and sharing it with their community. “We have two restaurant owners on the tour that grow the food they serve to their patrons. We also have farms that offer CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) shares through produce, milk, and meat.”
Each farm tour is offered at a specified time and people are encouraged to select more than one farm to visit. The tour offers a variety of farm experiences, and Heine hopes that people of all ages take advantage of the opportunity to meet and learn from local farmers. “Kids often don’t realize where their food comes from. Providing a fun experience on a farm is a great way to start educating kids about the importance of supporting agriculture,” said Heine. “This is an opportunity to celebrate Boulder County agriculture,” said Heine. “We have people that are eager to share their farms with the community and provide a fun experience for all ages.”
Tickets are $10 per person for each farm tour, and kids are admitted free. A portion of the proceeds will directly benefit local farmers. Heine explained, “My family lost their farm in the 1980s farming crisis and I understand that the struggle is real for many people trying to make ends meet through agriculture.” Many farms on the tour have one person that works a day job and the other person focuses primarily on farming. “I want to support our community farmers while also opening the public’s eyes to local agriculture.”
Farms visited include Longmont’s Stonebridge Farm, La Joyia Farm, McCauley Family Farm, Kilt Farm, Sky Pilot Farm & Creamery and Pachamama Farm & Wellness. Six additional farms in Boulder and Lafayette are also on the tour. Tours start between 3-5 p.m. on Saturday, Aug. 13. For more information on each farm and tour times, click here.