- Agronomic: potatoes, grass (misc. perennial), hay
- Additional Plants: ornamentals, trees
- Animals: bees, bovine, ratite
- Animal Production: feed/forage
- Farm Business Management: new enterprise development, marketing management
- Sustainable Communities: partnerships, public participation, urban agriculture, urban/rural integration, community development
Producing and distributing a 4th grade activity book to accompany the Prince William County Farm Tour proved to positively impact the educational efforts of the farm tour, but had little impact on event attendance. The addition of offering teacher materials in advance of receiving the books gave teachers an opportunity to further develop subject matter and incorporate the book into the classroom. Employing a system for obtaining teacher feedback will ensure that teacher materials will better reflect their needs in the future.
For three years the Prince William County Farm Tour has offered citizens of this urbanizing area an opportunity to experience the county’s vibrant agricultural lifestyle. Seven farms opened their gates to the public offering fun and educational demonstrations, displays and activities. Area businesses and the Prince William County Convention and Visitors Bureau support the effort with donations and in-kind services. Farm families, community organizations and farm tour organizers volunteer hundreds of hours to the event.
The event continues to grow as a popular family event. Participation has increased each year to approximately 6000 visitors. Participant feedback continues to be extremely positive, especially regarding one-on-one interaction with the farmers themselves.
This is the second year that project coordinators have produced and distributed an activity/coloring book to the county’s fourth graders to accompany the farm tour. In 2003, teacher materials were also developed and distributed to address challenges of less than ideal book distribution timing (first week of school year), directing teachers to sources for more in-depth information and increasing book utilization in the classroom. These teacher materials were anticipated to improve the overall effectiveness of the activity book.
The goals of the 2003 Farm Tour are:
Educational components of the farm tour will be enriched to reach beyond the event itself.
The farm tour activity book will be incorporated in 75% of PWC fourth grade classrooms.
Farm tour organizers plan to support these goals with the following objectives:
Work with farms on the tour to enhance educational activities on the tour.
Promote participation in the farm tour through the County’s public and private schools.
Reinforce the farm tour themes and messages with children and their families independent of participation in the farm tour with production of the Prince William County Farm Tour Activity Book to be distributed to all fourth graders in Prince William County public schools and private schools (by request).
Increase teacher acceptance and utilization of the activity book with production of valuable teacher materials.