For the third year, Illinois family farmers are welcoming Chicago-area moms to their farms to answer the moms' questions about how food is grown. The "Field Moms" will tour four Illinois farms and a northern Illinois grocery store between February and October this year to see how farmers care for their animals and the environment.
The Field Moms will tour a pig farm, corn and soybean farm, dairy farm and beef farm. They will ride along as crops are planted and harvested. Their first tour will be of Ultra Foods in Wheaton on Saturday, Feb. 22. While there, the Field Moms will have a chance to speak with Ultra Foods managers and staff and registered dietitian Jodie Shield will answer the moms' questions about healthy food and nutrition.
Local 2014 Field Moms are Mysi DeSantis of Crystal Lake and Michelle Follman of Carpentersville.
"I am very interested in learning the facts around farming," said 2014 Field Mom Lynn Prehm of Naperville. "There is so much conflicting information about what foods we should buy and why, and I just want to know the facts. I'm looking forward to getting the facts from the source, not secondhand from people who don't live it."
Illinois Farm Families will open their doors throughout the year, welcoming the Field Moms and answering any questions they have about animal care, pesticides, biotechnology and more.
Donna Jeschke of Mazon is a corn and soybean farmer and is one of several farm moms who will be accompanying the Field Moms on their tours during the year.
"Today, most people are at least two generations removed from the farm," said Jeschke. "As farmers, it's important for us to connect with those moms who maybe don't have a personal connection to the farm and answer any questions they have about how we raise the plants and animals they feed their families."
The Field Moms each will record their days on the farms by taking photos, videos and journaling their observations. After each farm tour, the Field Moms will share what they learned with other moms and consumers on www.WatchUsGrow.org, www.facebook.com/IllinoisFarmFamilies and twitter.com/ILFarmFamilies.
Illinois Farm Families are Illinois farmers who support Illinois Farm Bureau, Illinois Pork Producers Association, Illinois Corn Marketing Board, Illinois Soybean Association, Illinois Beef Association and Midwest Dairy Association through farmer membership and checkoff programs. The group is committed to having conversations with consumers, answering their questions about food, farmers and farming, and sharing what really happens on today's Illinois family farms. More than 94 percent of Illinois farms are family owned and operated.