Regardless of your role, life on a farm operates at a slower, if more physical, pace than the one many of us lead in offices, warehouses or taking care of kids at home. My step-grandfather raised horses and livestock, and I vividly remember the smell of oats and hay, long walks outside to carry out whatever chore he assigned me, the chewed and worn edges of barn doors, and the personal connections, whether they were to family, farmhands or animals. The work days were long – and everyone in the family had jobs to do on the farm – but I had a sense of deep satisfaction by sundown. Those memories come right back to me when my wife and I visit our friend Dave’s livestock farm, walking through the barn or out feeding apples to the donkey.
Find a farm at FarmVisit
Here in the US, you can search for farms that are open to visitors at Farm Visit. The web site lets you search by state and crop, and provides contact information, directions and a short description of what they offer.
Find One at a Greenmarket
New York State Farm Tour Online Guide
New York State also offers an online guide to find a farm tour. They focus not only on farm visits but also hope you’ll buy some produce while you’re there.
As part of their efforts to raise awareness of environmentally responsible farming, UK organization called Linking Environment and Farming (LEAF) promotes farm visits, whether on Open Farm Day or a farm visit that you arrange. While this is a bit far from my home, the idea is to stimulate your senses, get in touch with nature and a different kind of life, and operate at a different pace. There’s an short article at Christian Today about the great experiences one group had on their visit. What a great idea.