Family farms play an essential role in putting food on the table in homes across America. But it’s easy to forget where this food comes from, as well as the people on the front lines of growing this produce, when you’re always buying food at your local grocery store.
One way to overcome this blind spot is to make a visit to a local farm. During the fall, farms throughout Mississippi are open to the public and offer a number of interesting experiences to help your family explore and learn about farming in a creative, interactive way. Another great place to learn about farm life is by taking a virtual tour of farms and experience it online.
Looking for specific activities to enjoy during your farm visit? Here are five options to consider.
Create a farm notebook with your children
Encourage your kids to be actively engaged in their farm visit by using a notebook to document their experiences and discoveries. From writing down interesting facts and observations, to including interesting hand-outs or other memorabilia they find on the farm, you can give your kids a simple tool that trains their senses on the entire farm experience, and helps them retain the information they learn while they’re there.
Explore a rice farm (and bring some rice home to cook)
Mississippi is home to hundreds of rice farms, and the Mississippi Delta in general is a major source of rice that gets distributed across the United States. Rice also requires a cultivation process that is much different than other types of produce, making it an interesting and unique destination to bring the family as you learn about farming together.
“You can turn your farm visit into a take-home activity by purchasing some local rice and using it to cook a dinner for the family,” says David Arant, Farm Families of Mississippi rice farmer for, Delta Blues Rice. “Find a simple, kid-friendly recipe that lets them learn how to boil rice and prepare it in a pot, and then mix it with vegetables or other ingredients to create a rice casserole, or a fried rice dish.”
Conduct a scavenger hunt on a local farm
Challenge your family to identify interesting plants, tools, buildings, and other features during your family farm visit. You can even turn this into a team activity, dividing up the family and comparing results after the fact.
A scavenger hunt is also a great way to encourage movement around the farm, ensuring that your family fully engages with the landscape and comes away with a memorable experience.
Harvest your own produce
At some farms, visitors are able to go out into the fields and pick their own produce to bring home. This can be an intimate experience for your family, connecting them to the source of their food and teaching them about the harvesting process in the fall.
“A wide range of farms allow you to come and pick produce, including farms offering berries, pumpkins, and other fruits and vegetables that your family can pick and buy in bulk,” says David Arant, Farm Families of Mississippi rice farmer for, Delta Blues Rice. “If you’re looking to pick up multiple types of produce on your trip, map out a visit that lets you stop by multiple farms.”
Read farm books while visiting a farm
Combine learning experiences by encouraging your children to read books about family farms before or during their visit to a farm. Even small children can participate in this by bringing board books and identifying animals and other farm landmarks that they recognize from their books. Older children can reach about life on family farms, the history of farming in Mississippi, or other subjects that supplement and enhance their visit to a farm.
Local farms aren’t just a source of food—they’re also a great educational destination that can teach your family about the food industry and the importance of farming to healthy, well-fed homes and communities. If you’ve got more ideas than you can fit into one visit, remember that you’re not limited to a single trip to the farm—if your family has a good time, you can always keep coming back.