Remember the days of elementary school field trips? Some of my favorites were always the outdoors ones, whether it was visiting a farm or a zoo or an old homestead for school or Girl Scouts. I loved being outside, and I loved feeling a little bit more connected to my life and especially where my food came from.
As an adult, I've enjoyed chaperoning field trips, and one of my favorites was the Waggoner Farm field trip in Glenview, Illinois where we visited an 1800s farm and learned all about how it worked. Yes, the kids even churned their own butter to put on crackers. I thought it was pretty cool, too, and I learned why some chickens make brown eggs and some white eggs.
Now you have a chance to do the same kind of thing with the Illinois Field Moms program. They are currently recruiting applicants to come learn about Illinois farms and where we get our food. It's a grown up sort up, field trip, and pretty cool, I think. As a field mom, you'll have a chance to go visit various farms and ask any question your heart could desire. The tours will take place on Saturdays, with transportation provided to and from Chicago. Even better for moms? Reasonable childcare and transportation expenses will be reimbursed - making things even easier!
Each Field Mom will be provided with a video camera to capture the tour and what she's learned so that you can share your adventure with other people. You do not need to be a blogger to participate, although the Illinois Farm Families will ask that you post about your experience on their blog. There may also be some media opportunities to share what you learned and saw.
The exact farms and types of tours will vary based on what the Field Moms are interested in seeing, which will make it all the more interesting. There are opportunities to see beef, pork, dairy, corn, soybean, and more farms at different points in the life cycle. Tours will occur starting this fall and continue through early next summer to allow the Field Moms a chance to see the work done during different seasons.
Why are the Illinois Farm Families doing this? They know that consumers, especially moms, have questions about how their food is grown and are interested in taking an opportunity to answer those questions one-on-one. As they said, "We’re proud of what we do, and we’re opening our doors to show you how we grow and raise your food."
They are looking for Chicago area moms over the age of 18 who have at least one child under the age of 13 living at home. Obviously an interest in learning about where our food comes from is key! They are taking applications through August 21 at the Watch Us Grow website.
Go. Apply. Have fun (and good luck!). And tell them I sent you. If you have any questions, shoot me an email which you can find on my about me page or you can email info (at) watchusgrow (dot) org.
There will also be a meetup on on August 8 at 7pm to learn more about the program. While it isn't required that you attend the event to apply, but it's a great opportunity to learn more about the program. There will be fun, food and wine - and possibly some fun giveaways, too. You can learn more on their Facebook page - and please RSVP if you're able to go so they can plan for the right number!
I hope to see you there!
In the interest of full disclosure, I have been compensated as part of being an ambassador for the Illinois Field Mom program. As always, all opinions expressed are my own.