Volunteers are the heart of Breakfast on the Farm events
Michigan State University Extension’s Breakfast on the Farm program engages volunteers during the planning and delivery of events.
Since 2009, Michigan State University Extension has hosted 40 Breakfast on the Farm (BOTF) events throughout Michigan attracting over 88,000 people. With an average of 2,200 visitors to each event, volunteers are critical to the overall safety and success of the events.
From beginning to end, volunteers play key roles. Members of the volunteer planning committees use their time and talents to assist with sponsorship and fundraising; menu planning; marketing and promotion; ticket distribution; facilities and rental arrangements; children’s activities and parking.
On the day of the events, 200 or more volunteers in brightly colored t-shirts are spread throughout the host farm. Volunteers do not need to be farmers or familiar with agriculture. They are friends and neighbors, moms and dads, kids and teens, students and teachers. Their assigned tasks include greeting visitors; staffing educational stations; maintaining order in the parking area; serving food and beverages; directing foot traffic and providing assistance throughout the tour route; surveying visitors at the end of the tour; helping with farm set-up and clean-up and serving ice cream. Educational stations are staffed by people who have knowledge and first-hand experience as these volunteers field a lot of technical questions from visitors.
In order to adequately prepare volunteers for the event an orientation and farm tour are conducted the day before. During the session volunteers learn more about the farm and the host family. After receiving their work assignments and instructions, volunteers are given a guided tour of the farm that highlights the educational stations and where other activities will be offered.
Breakfast on the Farm events have been held on dairy, beef, crop, apple farms. Currently, organizers are looking for farm hosts. If you or someone you know is interested, please contact either Ashley Kuschel, BOTF program coordinator, at firstname.lastname@example.org or 586-469-7616 or Mary Dunckel, agriculture literacy educator, at email@example.com or 989-354-9875. For more information about the program visit www.breakfastonthefarm.com. Many thanks to all MSU Extension Breakfast on the Farm volunteers!