Yesterday and today have been devoted to giving farm tours to a class from Earlham College, a Quaker School on Richmond, IN. This is the 5 or 6th time we have given this tour to this group. We did not do it last year because we were in the middle of moving the farm from the Crubaugh farm to this farm and had no time or really a farm to tour.
The students are a mix of all years and majors. They are studying sustainability and are taken to two farms. A conventionally managed grain farm owned by Earlham and us, a small organic produce farm. After doing the two tours they than have to write a paper comparing and contrasting the the two ways of doing agriculture.
One day I would like to read some of these papers to see where these people are at in their thinking about agriculture.
So what we do with the groups is take them out to the market garden and than stand around and talk about what we do, the state of organic agriculture, the difference between local organic/not certified small organic farms and industrial organics and other germane subjects and answer a lot of questions. The end of the tour takes them through the farm store where they can buy things if they want. The group yesterday had no time and no one expected to be able to shop so few had money the ones that did bought a lot of honey and other items.
I really like doing farm tours. I have always enjoyed public speaking (the one thing about 80% of the population would rather die than do) and I like discussing organic/sustainable farming topics. over the years we have given about 20 farm tours. Some have been about season extension/hoophouses. Some have been pretty general, mainly a stroll through the market garden talking about what is growing. Some are directed to students and speak mainly about sustainability issues. Some are for other market farmers or MF wannabes and are about how to set up a market garden and how to market.
I would like to get into doing more of these and doing all day tours/workshops so we can delve deeply into a subject instead of simply scratching the surface.