Ten Chicago-area moms who have questions about food, farmers and farming have been selected as Illinois Farm Families®’ “Field Moms.” Throughout the next year, these moms will get the chance to see firsthand how their food is grown and raised, as they meet Illinois farmers and tour their farms. The Field Moms are:
- Julie Barreda, Chicago
- Farrah Brown, Glendale Heights
- Pilar Clark, Lisle
- Betsie Estes, Elk Grove Village
- Amy Hansmann, River Forest
- Angel Ishmael, Chicago
- Amy Rossi, Naperville
- Lisa Schneider, Wildwood
- Joelen Tan, Chicago
- Jennifer Weiss, Chicago
“I want to find out what kind of farms the food in my fridge is coming from,” says Field Mom Pilar Clark. “I want to meet the people on today’s farms and learn their values about food and their own families.”
Opening their doors to the Field Moms are Illinois Farm Families throughout the state. “We are family farmers who are excited to share the whole story of what goes on at our farms,” says Lynn Martz, a grain and cattle farmer from Maple Park, DeKalb County. “We know that moms have questions about today’s farms and what we do every day. So we’re bringing city moms out to show them what happens, to have candid conversations and answer all of their questions.”
For the first tour, the Field Moms will leave Chicago early Saturday morning, October 15, 2011, and spend the day visiting two farms. Martzes’ family farm is the first stop. The Field Moms will see all aspects of the Martzes’ farm, including how they “custom finish” beef cattle for today’s consumers. If the weather cooperates, part of the tour also will have the Field Moms in the Martzes’ combine, helping harvest corn.
The second stop on the Field Moms inaugural tour will be Dale and Linda Drendel’s dairy farm in Hampshire, Kane County. The Drendels milk 170 dairy cows daily at 3 a.m. and 2:30 p.m. The Field Moms will see how dairy cows are cared for throughout all life stages, and get the chance to help with afternoon milking.
The Field Moms will record their day on the farms by taking photos, videos, and journaling their observations. After they return to the city, the Field Moms will share what they have learned with other moms and consumers through video clips, photo albums, blog posts and other media on www.watchusgrow.org, www.facebook.com/illinoisfarmfamilies and http://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, and Illinois Beef Association who are 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. Today’s farmers are passionate about showing consumers how they continue to grow safe, healthy food for their families, and yours.