My Passion – Fast Food Farm

WHAT IS YOUR PASSION?   My passion is teaching our youth as well as adults at times about the importance of agriculture.  This time of the year ends my nine months of fulfilling my passion.  My year starts with the beginning of the spring season and ends with the end of the fall season in teaching about “Where Does Your Food Come From?”                                                        

Fast Food Farm sign

At the Fast Food Farm the youth become physically involved in the growing process of their food.

Through hands-on activities they learn how the weather affects the plants, and what happens to the food when it leaves the farm.   They also learn about food nutrition, food preparation, and food processing.

#3 .Harvesting for the Needy - Geans 2

In working with the Ag Science students throughout the school year I have seen them grow in leadership and character to become leaders in our community.   At the Fast Food Farm students learn how to respect the land as they discover how to cultivate and prepare the soil for planting.  

 Throughout the nine months over 5000 students are learning about “Where Does Your Food Come From?”  It is so rewarding to see our youth connect to the soil, plants, animals, and the source of their foods.

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Father’s Day

I’m sure everyone will describe and celebrate  their father differently tomorrow. I look back and remember my father  instilling a sense of independence and fearlessness in me. Through his eyes I believed I could do anything. As I look at my husband I see him instilling a sense of interdependence in our children and grandchildren. They too believe they can do anything but they have an awareness of uncontrollable  conditions and an ability to be flexible that I had to learn later in life.   DSC03249Farming together we have learned that we all need each other because there are so many things we cannot control or change like the weather.

As we work through each day we realize this is the only time we will have this  moment, this decision and this opportunity. Make the most of every moment this weekend and every day that follows because,

Following in your footsteps.

Following in your footsteps.

Seed, soil and sparkles

Seed, soil and sparkles

Girls can farm too!

Girls can farm too!

whether it’s tutus or tractors we all need each other.

Some one is always watching.

Some one is always watching.

Remember some one is always watching us. What are we teaching them?

Dads - working together, learning from each other.

Dads – working together, learning from each other.

 

Happy Father’s Day!

Family farm or corporate farm?

We all live busy lives today. Add to that busy-ness, information overload. What do you do with all that information? Who has time to sort through all the information surrounding us? Let me help you with at least one question. What’s the difference between a corporate farm and a Family farm? I have read so many articles lately on the evils of corporate farms and how they are pushing family farms out of business. When I follow the resources I find conflicting information; farm sizes are shrinking/Corporate mega farms are growing, family farms are being pushed out of business/more families are bringing the next generation back to the farm, too much land is being used for food and fuel production/we need to feed more people today than ever before in history ??? My head is still spinning.

Welcome to our farm

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We are a family that grows corn for food and feed, soybeans for cooking oil and sweet corn for immediate consumption :-) My husband and I raise this food together with our daughters, sons in law, grandchildren and my father and mother in law. In order to be able to sustain our farm for future generations we incorporated several years ago. Our grandchildren love working the land with us and talking to our neighbors about what we are doing as well as sharing sweet corn with them in the summer.

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So, as you can see from our farm, things are not always as they are portrayed. We are a family farm that is incorporated. Statistically you will find us included in the “corporate farm” numbers and not family farm. I think that’s very misleading. Incorporating has nothing to do with size or mission and everything to do with financial and long term identity. For us that means we can pass the farm on to our children and grandchildren in a way that protects them in the future.

What’s the difference between a corporate farm and a Family farm? Most of the time NOTHING.

“RICE”

As a young child, my father was a rice farmer in Crowley, Louisiana; “The Rice Capital of  America”.  Now as an adult I live in Arkansas, rice producing state.

 

Arkansas is the nation’s largest rice growing state, producing half of the nation’s rice and nearly nine billion pounds annually.  Arkansas ranks first among rice producing states. 

 

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Rice production is concentrated in the eastern half of the state.  The top five rice producing counties are Arkansas, Poinsett, Cross, Lawrence and Lonoke.  Arkansas rice is sodium, cholesterol and gluten free.  Rice has only a trace of fat and has not trans  fat or saturated fat.

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Celebrating the Winter Solstice

In the north, on or about December 21st the sun reaches its lowest point on the horizon, making that day have the fewest hours of daylight.

The shortest day is called the winter solstice and is the beginning of the winter season. Over 750 years ago, the word solstice (comes from Latin – “sol” means “sun” and “sistere” means “to stop”) was used for the first time when the sun seemed to stop moving.

It takes 12 months for the earth to go around the sun. The tilt of the earth on its axis as it rotates determines how the sun’s rays hit the earth and what season it is.

Today, the northern part of the earth tilts away from the sun, and the sun is low in the sky and shining from its southern-most position. It is called the winter solstice, with the shortest day and the longest night. Every place within 400 miles of the North Pole has 24 hours of darkness.

Many cultures celebrate the shortest day – the early Romans placed evergreen wreaths on their doors because they stay green and it reminded them of the coming spring. Many people bring in mistletoe and holly because these plants survive the harsh winter and are symbols of life and bring strength to their families. Years ago, Europeans celebrated with apples and candles to represent harvest and light. In Sweden, a festival of lights celebrates the longer days. On St. Lucia’s Day, girls wear crowns of evergreen and candles – hoping to rekindle the sun’s fire.

For more than 5,000 years people have welcomed the winter solstice because it’s a new beginning. (We are headed toward spring.) In three months the sun shines on the middle of the earth and we celebrate the spring equinox. The days and nights are of equal length – when the north and south are the same distance from the sun.

Information for this blog post was taken from “The Shortest Day,” written by Wendy Pfeffer. I enjoy reading this story to my grandchildren.

Harvesting for the Needy

Ag Science students harvesting green beans

Ag Science students harvesting green beans

This week at the Fast Food Farm we are Harvesting for the Needy.  As part of the Fast Food Farm project the Ag Science classes and the Pro-Start classes plant seeds in late summer and early fall on 15 rows.  Once a week the Ag Science students care for the plants until it is time for harvest.  What perfect timing for harvest, just in time for the Thanksgiving Holiday.   This week we harvested 90 family bags of broccoli, green beans, turnips, peas, corn, and lettuce and donated to the St. Vincent de Paul for the Thanksgiving baskets for the Needy.

Ag Science students and Pro-Start students donating vegetables to the needy.