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Give the Gift of Agriculture

The holidays are a time of giving, and what could be better than giving the gift of agriculture? Here are five ideas for farm-related gifts to include under the tree.

Donate food.

There are so many opportunities to donate food all year, not just at the holidays. Yet, it seems the needs increase this time of year. Whether a food bank, a backpack buddy program, or other community collection point, food is always a gift, especially for those in need.

I talked to a pig farmer yesterday about a program at our local YMCA. Every December the men’s group does an outreach program, giving food boxes to needy families and taking the family shopping. Pig farmers from Wayne County (the county where the YMCA is) donated hams for the food boxes.

In addition to donating hams, this farmer took one of the families shopping. The man was in his 70s and walked with a cane. His wife is homebound on dialysis. They just received custody of their three great-grandchildren. The needs are there, and I’m sure this family and all the others appreciated the gift of food.

Donate farm toys.

This year we donated farm-related toys to the annual Toys for Tots campaign. It’s easy to do with all the agriculture toys out there – tractors, Legos, trucks, stuffed animals, and even Barbie. We also chose a name from the angel tree and are adding a toy to the shoes the little girl we chose asked for – a Farm Vet Barbie.

Give an agriculture book to a child or a teacher.

Every year we give our boys books, and this year is no different. In North Carolina we are lucky to have the Ag in the Classroom Book of the Month program. For $5 a month, you get a book that is accurate about agriculture. Our boys’ shelves are full of great books we have received by particpating in this program. Each book comes with lesson plans, so this would make a great gift for your child’s classroom.

You can also find a list of accurate agriculture books and other recommended resources on the American Farm Bureau Foundation website.

Give an agriculture experience.

With so many farms diversifying into agritourism there are many opportunities for kids to visit farms. Many offer camps during school breaks and summer as well. Consider giving the gift of a farm experience – one you might enjoy, too!

Give a Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) subscription.

This is a way to support local farmers by purchasing a subscription to a weekly box of food grown by the farm (or sometimes several local farmers). Each box contains seasonal produce and can vary from week to week. North Carolina, like most states, has many farms offering CSAs and some include other foods like meat and cheese.

Would you like to see any of these under your tree?

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