by Felicia Brower
For many children, the sights and sounds of farm life are new and unfamiliar, but a Centerburg-based organization is helping to change that. Bring the Farm to You was started by Christa Hein as a way to bring hands-on, farm-focused programs to people interested in learning about agriculture. Hein started Bring the Farm to You two years ago after discovering an unmet need in the community. “I was working at an ecological center, and we were getting lots of requests for programs that would come out to you,” says Hein. Due to a lack of staff and available resources at the ecological center, Hein decided to start an organization of her own.
Hein’s traveling classroom allows people of all ages to learn a new skill or to see elements of typical farm life. There are currently 15 different programs to choose from, with the most popular being Chick Hatching, Farm Animals and Apple Cidering. Through these programs, participants are able to experience farm life close to home.
This spring, the organization launched its newest program: Child Homestead. “We bring all types of old-fashioned toys and activities that kids would have done on the farm. We use washing boards, roll bread, and we play with a stick and hoop, stilts and puppets. It’s an old-fashioned play and work center,” says Hein.
There is a large demand for programs at childcare centers, schools, libraries, senior centers and public events. While Bring the Farm to You will travel anywhere in the state, most of the locations they visit are throughout Central Ohio.
For children living in downtown Columbus, seeing and touching farm animals is an enlightening experience. Bring the Farm to You exposes them to things that they would have no other opportunity to see or be near. “The Farm Animals program is popular because we do it at so many inner city locations,” explains Hein. “To me, that’s our most valuable program because it opens people’s eyes to what food looks like and where it comes from.”
Bring the Farm to You is not just for school-aged children. Programs are frequently requested at senior centers and events where an older audience will be in attendance. For older people, it is a chance to get reacquainted with familiar pastimes. “We get a lot of seniors who attend, and it brings back a lot of memories. It gives them a chance to talk about their lives,” says Hein.
Anyone – no matter their age or background – can benefit from the various programs offered by Bring the Farm to You.
Felicia Brower is a freelance writer based in Columbus. Connect at FeliciaBrower.com or email firstname.lastname@example.org.