By Maggie Edwards
One hundred thirty-five miles separate Cherokee and Montgomery counties, and while agriculture has a key economic impact in both counties, locals still battle a disconnect between farmers and consumers.
That’s where Alabama Farm-City and local county committees shine.
“Even in a rural area, a lot of kids have never seen a dairy cow, been around farm equipment or seen what farmers do,” said Cherokee County Farm-City Committee Chair Barry Bailey. “It is important for kids to get the opportunity to see what agriculture is about in their own county.”
Cherokee County Farm-City Day in Sand Rock was bright, sunny and filled with exhibits showcasing cotton, corn, greenhouse products, poultry, livestock and more. The Cherokee County Farmers Federation, with assistance from Alabama Extension, hosted the event in October, bringing hundreds of third-graders from all five county schools to hear about and see agriculture firsthand.
“As a former agriscience teacher, I see this as an educational event for young kids,” said Bailey. “It’s something they will remember for the rest of their lives.”
Montgomery County Farmers Federation also finds value in sharing agriculture with the community. It hosted its annual Farm-City Festival was in October, too, welcoming 400 people of all ages to Pike Road.
The festival included an evening of fun filled with pony rides, agricultural exhibits, farm animals and Cowboy Bruce’s Wild West Show.
“We have held this event for the past 25 years,” said Montgomery County Farm-City Committee Chair Kathy Gordon. “This is our way of thanking urban families while showing them what we do and sharing the country way of life.”
Farm-City is a state and national program that focuses on bridging the gap between rural and urban families. The year’s theme for Alabama Farm-City was Sustaining For The Future, a play on the yearlong Down To Earth: Agriculture Sustains Alabama conservation awareness campaign.
Aside from farm days, media events, banquets and other local activities, students of all ages participate in contests showing their artistic skills in drawing, writing and video editing. All creative projects must be centered around the theme, giving students the chance to cultivate their own research of agricultural life.
Celebrations took place across the state this fall and culminated during Farm-City Week Nov. 18-24. County committees and statewide contest winners will be recognized during the Alabama Farm-City Awards Program April 13 in Birmingham.
For more information, visit AlabamaFarmCity.org.