Missing my time as a City Mom for Illinois Farm Families

Back in 2015, I had the privilege of being selected to be part of a group called "City Moms" that were taken on tours of various farms in the state through Illinois Farm Families, which is part of the Illinois Farm Bureau.

We usually had around 20 moms attending these tours and it was fun getting to know some of them as we got to know a little more about farming and where our food comes from and the hard work that these families put in to produce meat and vegetables and dairy and grains for our families.

I came across some pictures of our final tour of 2015 at Larson Farms near DeKalb, which was established in 1953. I know I didn't share all of these picks, so I'm sharing them now. We started off by touring the cattle facility and later visited the crop fields where we were able to experience the thrill of riding in a combine.

Every farming family that we met that year was so kind and friendly. Farming is truly a family business and like the other families that we met, there were multiple generations working on the farm. Our farm days filled a full day - some with cooking demos or other presentations involved, so we would have the opportunity to have a meal. We really enjoyed lunchtime at Larson Farms, where lunch was not catered, but prepared by the Larson family. It included, of course, beef dishes and other homemade sides and desserts. And we met four generations of the Larson family.

We learned a little about both sides of the business the business of being a finishing cattle farm and the crop production. On each of our tours I enjoyed the learning about farming, but mostly enjoyed meeting the families and seeing how they worked together. When you see big brand names in the store on beef or other meats or on produce, you might envision a massive factory-like operation. In reality, those big companies contract with smaller farms and it's families like mine and yours that are working to feed Americans. They take immense pride in what they do, they are close-knit and they pass on their knowledge and love of the land and farming to the next generation.

I also learned over the course of the year how much I didn't realize went into farming. It's high-tech these days and there's so much science these days. I know there were points along the way that so much of it was going over my head as they talked about soil conditions and planting grids and programmed farm equipment with iPads to take a certain path or adjust the amount of seed in a low-lying or problem area.

If you're ever wanting to learn a little more about where your food comes from, how it's grown and learn a little about the families that a producing it, visit watchusgrow.org and follow Illinois Farm Families on Facebook. After the experience of being part of the City Moms group, I have such a better appreciation for farming families and have so much respect for what goes into producing food and I don't doubt for a minute the care that goes into feeding our families as they would their own.
I'm missing my days as part of the program and urge anyone to take advantage of any farm tour you can be part of - whether it's a small sustainable family farm, a historic farm or a full-scale working farm. Look and listen and learn. Ask questions and see for yourself how it works.