From 1986 to 2006 we conducted school tours on a daily basis during the fall months. As each succeeding generation becomes more further removed from direct contact with agricultural production, the need for children to learn about modern agriculture and the vital role it plays in their lives, becomes exceedingly important. We decided, therefore, in 2017 that we would reintroduce tours to our farm. Our tours offer students and their parents the opportunity to experience a large commercial family farm up close and learn how the crops we grow are produced and used in daily life.
In the upstairs great room of our 1857 Homestead Barn visitors to our farm will hear a brief history of the humble beginnings of Howell Farms and its transformation into a 21st century family farming operation spanning two generations. We explain the importance of agriculture to the global economy and to each student as an individual. In the rock-walled, lower level of the barn, visitors will view a short video of year-round daily activity on the farm. In this setting we also provide a hands-on connection with the life cycles of three of the crops that we produce and their daily food and non-food uses. Our guests then are treated to an escorted and narrated wagon ride through the headquarters of our modern farming operations across the road, explaining machinery, grain handling, pumpkin packing and shipping in real time as they ride. The end of the tour includes a stop in the Pumpkin House where we teach the life cycles of pumpkins and the role of bees for pollination on our farm. Young students even learn how to do the “Bee Dance”. Each visitor then is able to choose a full sized Jack-O-Lantern pumpkin to take home. A corn crib converted to picnic shelter and gently sloping green space for games or ga-ga is available for those with time to have lunch before they depart.
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