Children were able to learn more about the world of agriculture thanks to a display at the Hall County Fair.
The Grand Island Area Chamber of Commerce’s agricultural committee coordinated the Little Feet on the Farm display housed in the Pinnacle Bank Expo Center at Fonner Park. The display featured a variety of displays that educated kids about agricultural production.
Volunteer Gloria Thesenvitz said when the kids visited the Little Feet on the Farm display, they were able to do a variety of educational activities. She said they could pick up grain, set it in a basket and feed animals.
“They go through the chicken display, where they can pick eggs, and they can also feed the chickens,” Thesenvitz said. “They can go through the apple orchard, too. As they go around, the kids can feed the farm animals. At the end of the display, there is a grocery store setup, so they then see where those products come from and can buy the vegetables and grain products.”
Brenda Hack of Grand Island brought her granddaughter, 5-year-old Sophia Hack. Sophia rode around a mock cornfield on a pedal tractor and collected apples from an apple orchard.
“She (Sophia) got the thrill of going around and picking up and seeing different things,” Brenda said. “She collected a lot of it in her basket, too. At the end, she found out what is really in the cereal and different things.”
Brenda said Little Feet on the Farm was “very good” at introducing Sophia to what goes on at a farm since they live in Grand Island and Sophia has “never really been out to a farm.”
Cindy Johnson, president of the Grand Island Area Chamber of Commerce, said when it was announced the Nebraska State Fair was coming to Grand Island more than 10 years ago, she went with a group of people to the Iowa State Fair to get some ideas.
One thing Johnson witnessed at the Iowa State Fair that she was “so enamored by” was its Little Feet on the Farm display. She said Hall County Fair Manager Corby Flagle “just loved it” and decided to bring to the Hall County Fair where it has been a fixture every year.
“Even though we are in a small, rural town, there are a lot of people who do not know what agriculture is all about,” Johnson said. “The agriculture committee’s events are geared toward educating the populace — especially the younger populace — about agriculture and its importance to the economy. We need these young people to come back, stay on the farm and bring back new technology, education and information to the farm to continue being an ag producer in this area.”
Thesenvitz echoed Johnson and said Little Feet on the Farm is an opportunity for kids to experience the farm without actually going to one.
“It is a chance for them to look at what we do on the farm and how that relates to where their food comes from,” she said. “I think over the years, less and less of the population has direct roots to the farm. This is an opportunity to bridge that gap so they (kids) know where that McDonald’s hamburger or French fries come from. It (the latter) is really potatoes.”
Johnson said with the Chamber being a small five-person staff, volunteers are critical in carrying out its mission of educating people about agriculture. She thanked the agricultural committee and the volunteers for making Little Feet on the Farm a success.
Dave Johnson, Doniphan-Trumbull High School FFA adviser, said the FFA group volunteered to work a shift Sunday afternoon. He said the group gives back to a number of organizations, and decided to volunteer with the display Sunday as a way to educate kids about agriculture.
Haley Robb, an incoming sophomore who serves as FFA secretary, said she and her classmates handed out bags to the kids and provided them with education about farm life.
She added she feels it is important for kids to learn about agriculture at a young age.
“They go to the grocery store and do not really know what goes into it or how much hard work it takes to make all these things,” Robb said. “If you want a career later in life, there are all sorts of opportunities in the agricultural field. This (Little Feet on the Farm) just helps kids to be exposed to that at such a young age.”