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 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!)