Monday, October 5, 2009

Farm City Day 2009 a Success!

The first Saturday in October marks Farm City Day, an annual event started in 1955 by the NC Cooperative Extension Service and Kiwanis International to raise awareness of the dependence of farm people and city people on one another for products and services essential to modern living. Farm City Day was designed to create a mutual understanding of farm and city life and to encourage cooperation and exchange of ideas between the two groups with the goal of creating appreciation and good will.

The weather was beautiful again this year! As a result there was a great crowd of people that came out to Jackson Park to take part in the festivities. This year our Henderson County Cooperative Extension office decided to reward the children that visited all of our informational booths. They received a card listing activities and after they completed each the activities they received a stamp. After gaining all of the stamps, the kids were entered into a drawing for some great prizes.

The NC Cooperative Extension Activity Card that the kids had to complete to be eligible to win a prize.

For my activity, I wanted the kids to learn about science and agriculture. To make this effective, I decided that the kids needed to get their hands dirty. So, I had each of them plant a pumpkin seed. I know it is late in the season to be planting pumpkins, but that isn't the point. Plus, I made it clear that they needed to have their seedling survive throughout the winter and transplant it into the garden next spring. I know what you're thinking, "Fat chance". But, maybe a few will actually do it.

My Farm City Day Booth. Teaching kids about agriculture in Henderson County.

The soil the kids used to plant their pumpkin seed and a description of how a seed grows into a plant.

I made the kids reach into the pumpkin to get their seed. One little girl said matter-of-factly, "that is the most perfect place for those pumpkin seeds."

This little boy was very proud of his pumpkin seed.

Overall, 96 kids planted a pumpkin seed!

Some of the most memorable comments I received from the kids about planting a seed included my first visitor, a little boy, who was very hesitant to get into the soil. He told his mother, "I don't want to get my hands dirty". Well... farming is not for everyone.

Another classic comment was from a little boy that was attending with his dad. After planting his seed he said, "I really like this, Dad". I thought that was just too sweet.

I also had a small pumpkin and gourd patch that I let the kids enjoy. They really like the small sized pumpkins and the pumpkins with the "goosebumps".

A father and daughter enjoy the pumpkins. I love how this little girl is holding her pumpkin seed in one hand as she plays with the pumpkin with the other!

Oh, I forgot to mention my praying mantis! I was lucky to catch it on Thursday. It was clinging to the side of the office and I had to get it to show off to the kids at Farm City Day. They loved it!

I took the opportunity with the praying mantis to teach the kids about beneficial insects.

One of the most exiting things was when we caught a large katydid and put it in the praying mantis's cage. She must have been hungry because within a few seconds she caught the kaydid and started eating.

Starting, of course, with the head!

She methodically devoured the katydid. Ripping one leg off at a time to suck out the contents and then crunch on.

Sounds gruesome, but the kids really enjoyed this! I was surprised to hear about all the people that have seen praying mantises this Fall.

Overall, it was a great day! Thanks to my co-workers who made the NC Cooperative Extension activity cards a hit.

A special thanks to the Farm City Day organizers for another successful year!

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