In today’s society, people are continually asking where food comes from and how it is grown. For many, it is believed food is grown in a grocery store. Kathy Guse and a committee of farmers and people who work for agribusinesses saw a need for a program that allowed children to learn about farming and where their food comes from. Farm Camp Minnesota was created to do just that.
This year, Farm Camp Minnesota hosted their 4th annual Farm Camp at Farmamerica, located outside of Waseca, Minn. The camp is set up in a station style that allows kids to rotate through and spend 40 minutes at each station. Commodity groups represented included soybeans, beef, corn, dairy, turkey, pork and tractors.
At each of these stations, time was spent learning about how farmers grow and care for each product. At the tractor station, kids even had the chance to get to take a ride in a tractor. This two- day camp had a turnout of 150 kids per day.
“I came to Farm Camp Minnesota last year,” an attendee said. “It was a lot of fun. We played a lot of games and I learned a lot about farming and all the work farmers have to do to keep their corn, soybeans and animals growing.”
With a growing demand for this camp, Farm Camp Minnesota added an additional day at Wolf Creek Dairy, the dairy farm of Paul and Barb Liebenstein, located right outside Dundas, Minn. This camp targeted middle schools from inner city areas, specifically in St. Paul and Minneapolis.
“So many people these days have not been on a farm,” said Guse, Farm Camp Minnesota founder. “It is nice to be able to get them out to one that is fully functioning and supports not only one family but all of their employees and families as well. It is important that people know where their food comes from. Having Farm Camp is just one way to show them.”
At the Soybean station, attendees learned about how and when soybeans are grown, uses of soybeans that include food, biodiesel, paints, crayons and more. Attendees also got to go into a soybean field and scout for aphids and talk about the impact they have on the plants.
The Minnesota Soybean Research and Promotion Council (MSR&PC) is a sponsor of the program, as it sees value in getting urban children involved. MSR&PC provided a monetary donation as well as coloring books, crayons and pencils for their bags to take home.
“I want to come back next year,” a Rochester area student said, “It was so much fun. I cannot wait to tell my mom and dad about farming and how important it is.”