A new hands-on farming program for kids will be entering the Kitsap County Fair for the first time this year.
The program coined Little Farmers at the Fair is for kids 10 and under and aims to educate kids about the farm-to-table process of food. Organizer Kim Floyd, who was born in Bremerton, will run the exhibit.
“I think it’s really important to incorporate agriculture to kids at an early age so they know where their food comes from,” Floyd said. “You don’t have to give them the gory details but it gives them a learning experience and introduces them to the farm animals.”
The free event will be open for participation every day of the fair Wednesday, Aug. 21 to Sunday, Aug. 25. The kids will begin the program by being provided with a bucket to put the goodies in that they will be receiving throughout the day.
Participating kids will tour all sorts of areas to learn about the farm-to-table process. Along the way, they will gather gifts that are specific to each station to put in their buckets. Specific stations will include a fake cow milking simulation, a cheese making demonstration, lamb brushing, a chicken exhibit, a pig exhibit, a garden to plant seeds, and a horse stable.
After the kids have gathered all their items from each of the tours, they will put them in the back of a toy John Deere tractor for them to drive around in a designated area. From there, they will bring all their items to the local farmer’s market and identify the areas for which their collected items belong. Afterwards, a stop at Kitsap Bank will award them their Kitsap Fair Buck. Finally, one last trip to the grocery store to get a snack and their Farmers at the Fair ribbon to complete the program.
Floyd grew up participating in local 4-H programs and is familiar with farming experience. She started this program three years ago after seeing a similar program back east at a fair convention. This will be the first year it will appear at the Kitsap County Fair. Groups of volunteers along with Floyd will be on site to teach and show the kids each exhibit.
In this day in age, Floyd loves the idea of getting the kids out of the house and off their electronic devices to learn something important.
“A lot of kids, even at a really small age, are glued to computers and phones. This gets them away from that and gives them an actual hands-on activity that doesn’t require a computer or animation. We’re introducing them to that farming aspect.”
The setup and prep time for the event will take a couple days, but Floyd says she’s been setting up events for so long that it’s fairly simple at this point.
“We’ve gotten it down to a pretty good science,” she said. “I don’t even pay much attention to how long it takes.”
Not only is it beneficial for the kids to learn about agriculture, but it gives parents the chance to take a load off from chasing their kids around at the fair.
“The parents enjoy it because it’s kind of a quiet place where they know their kid is in a safe area and they can relax. Parents don’t always realize where their food comes from as well.”