When farmers get together to have a party, a lot of friends and neighbors tend to want to join in. You can see evidence of this now that it is county and state fair season. Later this fall hundreds of thousands will walk the streets of Circleville at its Pumpkin Show not perhaps knowing that in 1903 the mayor of Circleville decided it would be a great idea to get the country folks and city folks together to mingle. The mayor invited farmers to bring the best of their produce to town for competition and display, and now we know that giant squash help draw a crowd.
The leadership of Ross County Farm Bureau, led by President Mark Crosier, might have the newest of these farm-folks-invite-city-folks traditions on their hands. “Farm Factor” is the event this group came up with, organized and implemented July 14 for a second year. It was a progressive farm dinner where about 400 attendees enjoyed a four-course meal at four different Ross County farms. The last farm on the tour was my home place where my sister and her family now live. Seeing friends and neighbors (my former pediatrician was there and I went to high school with the lead singer in the band), mingle with co-workers, family and new folks serves to reinforce in my mind what special places farm communities are — and how Farm Bureau can bring those communities together.
Of course good food always brings a crowd, but so does a committed group of farm families who are willing and eager to host a lot of hungry, curious visitors: in this case many of them fellow Farm Bureau members who don’t farm but still appreciate a fun day, a nice drive in the country and a chance to visit with friends and neighbors. We call them the “agri-curious” and Farm Bureau is uniquely positioned to bring them in contact with their farmer neighbors to answer questions, build community and have some fun. It’s not a new concept by any means, but it’s one that has endured the test of time and has found new ways to evolve through the creativity and hard-work of groups like the Ross County Farm Bureau.
Special thanks to those Ross County farm families who were hosts for this event:
- Tom and Beth Ramsey – Mile Tree Lawn & Garden/Hiser Seeds
- Larry & Betsy Moore – Dunlap Ridge Farm
- Tom & Mary Harp – Harp’s Black River Farm
- Tom & Pam Snyder – Old Hickle Place