Georgia Foundation for Agriculture hosts Farmtastic Fun Day
By Jay Stone, Georgia Farm Bureau
Fun was in full supply at the Farmtastic Fun Day hosted by the Georgia Foundation for Agriculture (GFA), Georgia Farm Bureau, the Dairy Alliance and the Georgia Public Library Service at the Rock House Creamery in Morgan County on July 24.
More than 100 visitors toured the Georgia Ag Experience mobile classroom, which highlights Georgia agriculture through hands-on STEM activities. When they weren’t doing that, they swung on tire swings, enjoyed story time, drew cows, took tractor-drawn wagon rides to visit real cows, churned butter and planted seeds. And, no visit to a creamery would be complete without a serving of ice cream.
Georgia Farm Bureau President Tom McCall read “Tales of the Dairy Godmother: Chuck’s Ice Cream Wish” to children in attendance, with the goal of improving agricultural literacy.
“The thing about reading to these kids, it piques their interest in where their ice cream really comes from,” McCall said. “I hope they learned a little bit that ice cream starts with the grass on the ground and the cow eats it. Then the fact that they got to go see how it’s made up here. They learned that it just isn’t in a freezer in a grocery store somewhere.”
The proceeds from the event will assist GFA in its mission to prepare the next generation of Georgia leaders for success in agriculture.
“We’d like to extend our heartfelt thanks to Rock House Creamery and Keith Kelly for their generous support of the Georgia Foundation for Agriculture,” said Georgia Foundation for Agriculture Executive Director Lily Baucom. “It is through partnerships like this that the foundation and continue pushing toward improved agricultural literacy.”
The Dairy Alliance had a table-top video game. Morgan County FFA students helped children plant seeds in cups filled with of soil. Children churned butter in condiment containers with assistance from Newton County Farm Bureau.
“This is the first year we have hosted an ag literacy celebration to highlight the AFBF Ag book of the year,” said Baucom. “We partnered with the Georgia Public Library System, Georgia EMC, and the Dairy Alliance to bring the book to life- at Rockhouse Creamery and Farm. We aim to create an in-person experience like this every summer to allow everyone to enjoy time with on the farm and have fun in the sun.”
Kelly, who owns Rock House Creamery, said he was willing to open his farm for the event to encourage children to learn and become interested in farming. The 130-acre farm, where Kelly milks cows from a 100-animal herd, sells its milk, cheese and ice cream at Farmview Market in Madison and other outlets across the state.
“It was education as much as anything,” said Kelly. “I think we realized years ago that our young people don’t know much about our food system. I just think we, Farm Bureau, everybody that possibly can has got to get the word out. We’re woefully short in getting Americans educated as to where food comes from.”
The event, sponsored by Georgia EMC, served to promote “Tales of a Dairy Godmother: Chuck’s Ice Cream Wish,” and featured exhibits from The Dairy Alliance, The Georgia Public Library Service, Morgan County FFA and Newton County Farm Bureau.
“Obviously farming is important across rural Georgia and of course being a partner with Farm Bureau in the book distribution, this event really seemed like a good tie-in for us to show the support that the EMCs have at the local level with those local libraries and local school districts with youth education and agriculture,” said Georgia EMC Public Relations Representative Kaleb Frady.
The Georgia Foundation for Agriculture is a non-profit 501(c)3 organization dedicated to preparing Georgia agriculture’s next generation of leaders. The foundation offers scholarships to students pursuing agricultural careers, manages the Georgia Ag Experience mobile classroom, funds leadership development programs and projects that increase students’ and the public’s understanding of agriculture. Visit www.gafoundationag.org to make a tax-deductible donation or learn more about the foundation and its programs.