Illinois Farm Families Blog

Nov 14 2011

Joelen Tan on 'farm to table'

Joelen at harvestChicago is known to be quite the urban metropolis. It's a city full of sleek glass, cold steel, bright lights, rich culture and a balanced mix of modern and historic energy. Here in Chicago, we take our food seriously and knowing where our food comes from is a growing interest for many. Just a few miles from the bustling city vibe are farms. Quite a few of them and of various kinds. These are farms that supply some of the food our hungry city enjoys. But what are they really like? What does it really take for food to come from the farm and onto our dinner table? For me, I became more interested in the idea of 'farm to table' as soon as my son began eating solid food. I guess my interest came about by thinking back on my own childhood.

Growing up, I learned about the importance of farmers and how they contribute to the meals we enjoyed. My grandfather was a farmer and my parents grew a garden every year that my siblings and I tended to each spring and summer. Now as an adult with a child of my own, I wanted to get hands-on, interactive experience learning about the ways our everyday food is grown and raised, from farm to table. I soon learned about the Illinois Farm Families 'Field Mom' program. This program involves selecting a group of Chicagoland moms and giving them the opportunity to venture out to Illinois farms and meet the farm families. Through this interaction, these moms have the chance to get hands-on experience about the farmers' lives and the journey our food takes prior to getting to our tables. It's something everyone should be aware of, especially children. I was thrilled to be selected as one of the 10 moms participating in this program and here's a great video that recaps our day.

We learned quite a bit about beef cattle farming, field corn farming and dairy cow farming all in one day... so you can imagine how much information we soaked in! Because of the large amount of things I learned, I'll be featuring a few posts in the coming weeks on the various topics that resonated with me. So stay tuned for some interesting things about our food and how it goes from farm to table...

Joelen Tan
Chicago, Illinois

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