Friday, August 24, 2012

Our first farm crawl

What's a farm crawl? I think it's an Iowa invention, but it's becoming an Illinois thing after last weekend! You see, I have these farm-girl-girlfriends from the Iowa-Illinois Quad Cities area, and they had a "farm crawl" last year in September. It was such a success, and they kept talking about it and telling me that I should get together with some local farm-girl-girlfriends and coordinate one here. And that's exactly what I did.

Since April, the four of us have been meeting monthly -- Janet from Eden's Harvest, Cheryl from the Farmer in Odell, and Kat from M2A Farm (Am Too A Farm) -- and planning the North Central Illinois Farm Crawl. Even though we're all within about ten miles of each other, we live in four different towns and two counties, so we had to come up with a somewhat general name.

We created a website, mentioned it on our Facebook farm pages, as well as internet groups related to livestock, and contacted the local newspapers. We cleaned up our farms, put signs on the fences to tell a little about the animals in there, and set up tables with homegrown items to sell.

And then the big day arrived! And we were astonished at the number of people who came to visit our farms! Not only were there people from the local area, but we even had some visitors from Chicago and the suburbs. We're estimating that we had about 300 visitors throughout the day. At Antiquity Oaks, the first car arrived at three minutes before 10 a.m., which was the start time, and by 10:30 when we did a goat milking demonstration, there were eight cars here.

We sold goat milk soap, books, yarn, roving, and sheepskins. And we had tons of fun talking to everyone. The other farms had just as much fun, and by the end, we were all talking about next year!

So, if you want to keep track of our plans for 2013, you can subscribe to the Farm Crawl blog.


Michelle said...

What a great idea; so glad you followed through! From your post and the number of visitors, it sounds like YOU are glad you followed through, too. Did you sell enough wool products to make you think you need to keep more of those sheep? ;-)

Miss Effie said...

I tell ya! Took me several years after I heard about the concept from BlueGate farm to get people in our area to accept it. But it was awesome! We are tweaking it again slightly to increase the economic benefit and bring more people through.

So glad you are joining us this year.

MamaTea said...

Now that sounds like one awesome idea, and something that would totally take off in MN! Looks like it was a success! :)

girlwithasword said...

I LOVE that this idea just keeps going and going and spreading and increasing! One of our friends loves our Sample Sunday (same thing, only monthly) that she started one in the Chicago area. YEAH!

Deborah Niemann said...

Michelle - the yarn was the biggest seller, but I think that if I'd had some knitted or woven items, they would also sold well.


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