Behind the scenes at Breakfast on the Farm

MSU Extension’s Breakfast on the Farm events would not be possible without the dedicated volunteers who help to plan and implement each event.

Breakfast on the Farm, a program of Michigan State University (MSU) Extension, gives consumers and farm neighbors a firsthand look at modern food production and the farm families who work hard to produce a safe, wholesome food supply for Michigan communities and the world. More than 5,100 interested persons attended the first two events in 2012 and it takes a lot of planning and preparation to be ready to welcome so many visitors to the farm during a four hour period.

Host farms for the eight 2012 breakfasts were selected in December by the state Breakfast on the Farm advisory council. Following the selection, Extension educators and the host farm family meet to discuss this educational opportunity and begin to form a local planning committee comprised of 10 to 20 individuals. By mid-February each of the events has held an organizational meeting with their planning committee and various responsibilities are accepted by the committee members. Planning committees are comprised of the host family, Extension staff, local Farm Bureau and commodity group members, fellow farmers, neighbors, friends and local business representatives.

Planning and implementing a Breakfast on the Farm event is a six month process. The local committee works hard to obtain donations to market the program and to provide a free breakfast and educational tour of the farm. The entire planning committee typically meets monthly and sub-committees meet as needed. As the event approaches, many of the committee members are in continuous contact with ticket locations in order to distribute and track tickets. The volunteer chairperson is busy identifying and contacting approximately 175 volunteers. The host family handles the facility arrangements and the planning committee assists with set-up and clean-up for the event. Some of the committees prepare the food themselves, while others opt for a local group or caterer. Approximately an hour before the event begins the host family and volunteers have everything in order for the visitors to enjoy a delicious breakfast and fun-filled, educational tour of the farm. The success of each event is due to the outstanding host families, the dedicated planning committee and volunteers and the supportive local and state sponsors who make the program possible.

Applications for farms interested in potentially hosting a Breakfast on the Farm will be available in the College of Agriculture and Natural Resources (CANR) Tent at the Ag Expo at MSU, July 17 – 19, 2012. Checklists of items to consider before completing an application will also be available. Interested families will have the opportunity to experience some of the Breakfast on the Farm educational stations and will be able to visit with MSU Extension agriculture literacy educators and Breakfast on the Farm coordinators, Mary Dunckel and Nancy Thelen.

For more information on the remaining six Breakfast on the Farm events or to obtain a host farm application after Ag Expo, visit the Breakfast on the Farm website or contact Mary Dunckel at 989-354-9870 andNancy Thelen at 734-222-3825.

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