Monday, April 23, 2012

Connecting with Food and Farm


Like many of you, my expanding interest in urban homemaking and homesteading stems in part from a desire to understand and connect more deeply with food and earth. In the city, it is easy to grow complacent and disconnected from the soil and farms that feed our families.

As we were thinking about our growing homesteading interests, and considering options for enjoying Daddy's limited vacation time this summer, we found what we think is the perfect fit: a New England farm-stay. We discovered a 100-acre Vermont farm that invites families to become actively involved in the daily tasks of farming and homesteading, all from the comfort of a separate cottage on the farm.

I spoke with the owner of Falkenbury Farm, Jacki Ambrozaitis, and asked her if she would share with me her thoughts on why families--and particularly homeschooling families--are drawn to a farm-stay vacation. Here is what she said:

"We just welcomed a homeschooling family from out of state that spent several nights with us. They helped to bottle feed our fun little group of baby goats and even took them for walks before we put them to bed for the night in the barn. They fed the cows, collected the eggs, and watered the rabbits. We searched for the biggest frogs up by the pond out back and talked about how much fun it is to catch lightning bugs on warm summer nights. The several new batches of bunnies were an especially interesting sight during their visit. Sometimes there are baby calves to feed as well. It’s an ever changing scene here on the farm! 

We find it important and part of our nature to teach people about our farm and our homesteading practices. People need to know where their food comes from. I used to say that we need to teach the children where our food comes from, but we’ve learned there are adults who are just as interested. There seems to be a new wave of people who are concerned about where their food comes from, and they should be. The whole "buy local" movement is very prominent in our community.

We get phone calls fairly regularly asking: “If we come to your farm can we milk a cow?” The answer is always: “Of course you can!” We have had guests come to our farm who said they had never seen a cow! 

We offer farm stays so families can learn and connect. It’s not just the farm that appeals to our guests. It’s the wide open space. It’s letting your children run free through the fields. It’s taking the time to unwind, relax and renew or make a new connection to nature. Imagine falling asleep listening to the peepers and waking up to the cows mooing. It’s a different way of life and we like to share it." 

We can't wait for our summer farm-stay vacation to experience all that farm-life has to offer, enjoy the wide open spaces and sparkling lakes, and quiet, starry evenings in the Vermont countryside. I hope to return to the city with a greater appreciation for where my food comes from and with some additional homesteading skills. (Jacki has already said she will show me yogurt- and cheese-making!) 

If you would like to learn more about Falkenbury Farm, visit their website. And for more information about a farm-stay vacation in your area, visit Farm Stay U.S.

6 comments:

  1. This sounds wonderful! I had no idea something like this was even available to people. I know me and hubby would definitely consider it in the future. In the meantime I'm looking forward to how your visit goes! :)

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    1. Thanks for visiting, Carrie! Yes, I had heard about farm-stays but had never seriously looked into them and then found the Farm Stay U.S. site which is really helpful in narrowing down choices that fit each family's needs. I can't wait for this summer vacation!

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  2. This place is great. I have been several times with my two kids from Connecticut. A great drive up and they are so great with the kids-taking them in the barn, with the animals, tractors...

    I plan to share this blog with some of my Boston friends...the Farm and this blog are wonderful.

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    1. Molly, thank you so much for visiting the blog and commenting. It is great to hear how much you enjoyed the farm, and I appreciate your sharing this post with others!

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  3. Hi Kerry, we are so excited you found our site useful in looking for a great farm vacation for your family. We have worked hard since we launched Farm Stay U.S. in June 2010 with the assistance to several USDA grants.

    I am sure your family will come home with stories to tell and photos to remember all the wonderful things you did and learned. We get so disconnected these days from the natural world and often don't even realize it.

    I will be extremely interested to hear all about your stay at Flalkenbury and you can even write in their Guestbook right on our site so others can evaluate what their stay might be like.

    Thanks for your wonderful support!

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    1. Thanks for visiting my blog, Scottie! Farmstayus.com was a great resource in helping to narrow down our choices for a farm stay vacation that would work best for our family! -Kerry

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