Decatur County student Walker Elrod won the state prize of $150 and an additional $100 for being the GFB 9th District winner. Elrod was a seventh-grader at Grace Christian Academy when he wrote his essay earlier this year. Essay has been slightly edited to fit space.
By Walker Elrod
Can you name two of Georgia’s top economic industries? If you said agriculture and tourism, you would be correct. In fact, if you put agriculture and tourism together, you get agritourism.
According to Wikipedia, agritourism is when agricultural productions or activities and tourism are linked to bring people to visit, view, or participate in the operation of a farm. Agritourism provides many educational learning experiences. Kids, as well as adults, will get a chance to learn where our food comes from when participating in a hands-on activity.
Agritourism has many benefits. The farmer can earn extra income. The community has a chance to show off local products and have educational field trips. The agricultural land is preserved for the environment, and the tourist can get outdoor experiences.
A few examples of agritourism include: farm visits, farm stays, U-Pick operations, farm museums, pumpkin patches, petting farms, corn mazes, Christmas tree farms, hay rides and farmers markets. There may be an admission fee for some of these activities.
In the great state of Georgia, farmers have a climate to grow almost anything. Many farmers sell to consumers through their own markets. The Georgia Farm Bureau (GFB) Certified Farm Market (CFM) Program connects consumers with the producers and agriculture. A CFM sells agricultural products that producers have grown and harvested themselves. Consumers are able to purchase fresh produce that is locally grown.
One way to discover Georgia is the Farm Passport Program. You have to Dec. 31 to get your passport stamped from each CFM you visit. Make sure you submit your stamped passport to GFB by Jan. 7, 2022, to win prizes.
There are more than 80 CFMs in Georgia. Twenty-six are located in the south, 24 in the north and 34 in the middle part of Georgia. By traveling to these farm markets throughout Georgia, you can meet the families, help the farmers, enjoy fresh food, learn more about growing our food, experience more outdoor activities, and create family memories.
In an interview with Babs Coyle, I found out she has been working many years for a local GFB Certified Farm Market in Bainbridge, Ga. Long’s Produce is a family business that sells local produce and is a member of the Farm Passport Program. Babs feels that agritourism gives children an opportunity to learn about food and how it is grown and cultivated. She also believes it is important to rotate crops, which helps to replenish the nutrients in the soil.
I am looking forward to taking a road trip throughout Georgia with my family, so I can create memories and become more educated about Georgia Farm Bureau’s CFM program and Georgia agritourism.
Georgia Farm BureauAg in the Classroom Coordinator Lauren Goble may be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org or 478-474-0679, ext. 5135. Contact your county Farm Bureau if you’d like to volunteer with their Ag in the Classroom program.