Posts Tagged With: agvocacy

Kids’ Reading List: Fantastic Farm Machines

Fantastic Farm MachineryThe day-to-day business of harvesting crops to feed the world involves lots of lifting, hauling, cutting, chopping, plowing, planting, watering, mowing and more.  Historically, this work was done by hand.  Today, there are amazing pieces of machinery that help get each job done.

The ninth book in our Kids’ Reading List series, Fantastic Farm Machines by Cris Peterson with photography by David R. Lundquist, introduces readers to 12 big pieces of farm machinery.  From skid steers to sprayers, the author and photographer give an up close look at farmers and their implements hard at work.

Children in kindergarten through third grade will enjoy the firsthand view of modern farm machinery and their functions.  Young fans of heavy machinery won’t be able to put this book down.

Thanks to Holly Spangler for compiling this list, which was featured in the March 2012 issue of Farm Futures magazine.
Check out the past selections in the reading list:

Categories: Kids' Reading List | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Kids’ Reading List: Little Joe

Fairs are some of my favorite events during the summertime.  Blue ribbons, funnel cakes, rodeos and show animals looking their very best.  It takes hard work, perseverance and a love for animals from the whole family to get the cattle, pigs, goats and more ready for the show.

Little Joe by Sandra Neil WallaceThe eighth book in our Kids’ Reading List series, Little Joe by Sandra Neil Wallace and illustrated by Mark Elliott, describes how Eli raises his bull calf, Little Joe, for the next year’s county fair.  The heartwarming tale details the joys and discomforts of taking care of another living thing.  Read along as Eli, and Little Joe, learn life lessons about growing up and taking on responsibilities. 

Readers in fourth grade and up will be immersed in the natural world of the farm.  This book appeals to readers who can have similar experiences to Eli and many more who share a love for animals.  The theme of family love is apparent through the story, making it identifiable for most readers.

Thanks to Holly Spangler for compiling this list, which was featured in the March 2012 issue of Farm Futures magazine.

Check out the past selections in the reading list.

Categories: Kids' Reading List | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Life on a Kansas Farm

Ever wondered what it’s like to live and work on a farm?

The America’s Heartland TV program recently featured the Brunkow family from Westmoreland, KS. The show shares the story of daily life on their family farm, from providing constant care for their cattle and sheep herds to salvaging what’s left of their crops in the drought-stricken Great Plains. The show recently aired on RFD-TV.

Categories: Conversations | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Guests Enjoy Fine Dining on the Farm at Feast of the Fields

Feast of the Fields

Feast of the Fields guests gather outside to hear about the Mertz family’s work at River Creek Farms. Guests enjoyed a four-course dinner inside the 136-year-old barn.

The sun retreated into the rolling Flint Hills, casting its glow over the historic rock barn at River Creek Farms. In the twilight of the Kansas River valley, guests mingled amid over wine the crisp autumn air. Inside, chef Noah Reagan and staff prepared to put the finishing touches on the first dinner course awaiting guests in the regal 136-year-old structure.

Guests and volunteers of CommonGround Kansas were among the privileged few to experience a world-class dinner on a working farm at Feast of the Fields – Barn Edition on Saturday, Sept. 29. In only its second full year, the event has amassed its share of supporters seeking a unique dining experience and a taste of modern agriculture. The biannual event was started in 2010 by the Mertz family, which raises sheep, cattle and crops at River Creek Farms near Manhattan, KS.

“Everything was so well done, from the flute and violin music by K-State students during the appetizers and wine to the four-course meal,” said volunteer LaVell Winsor. “It was lovely. Each course served with a different wine served by K-State hospitality student volunteers.”

The perfect weather and beautiful lighting in the 100-year-old barn created an elegant atmosphere to enjoy agriculture at its finest, she added.

Feast of the Fields and CommonGround share similar missions. Many Americans underestimate the importance of agriculture in their lives. With the majority of Americans several generations removed from the farm, agriculture has become unfamiliar territory. Most consumers’ only exposure to the industry is via the media, where misinformation can be quickly perpetuated. It can be challenging to sort through the myriad messages littered with hype and hoaxes. Many folks have questions, yet don’t know a farmer to serve as a resource for making informed decisions about the food they eat. That’s where Feast of the Fields and CommonGround unite.

“Today, 98% of farms in America are family operations. We’re a fourth-generation family grain and livestock operation,” said Mary Mertz, event organizer and member of the family farm. “Across our nation, farmers are producing the finest quality and most abundant foods in the world. Many people, however, do not truly understand agriculture and its significance in their lives.”

The Mertz family tells the story using meats, produce and wines from the Flint Hills region of Kansas. Guests come from across the region to enjoy fine dining and a taste of the farm.

“Feast of the Fields highlights farm-fresh foods in a natural setting,” Mertz noted. “It is our goal to provide participants with an authentic culinary adventure that leaves them feeling positive about Kansas farms and foods.”

The barn edition followed the tradition of offering cuisine prepared by an accomplished chef. Noah Reagan, owner and chef at downtown Manhattan’s della Voce, prepared a menu featuring fresh meat and produce from the area (menu at right).

Thanks to Mary Mertz and her family for allowing CommonGround to host our guests at this wonderful event! For more information on Feast of the Fields, please visit or contact Mary directly at or (785) 456-9201. Feast of the Fields features two editions each year. The summer event features the same fine dining and entertainment amid a growing corn field. Events sell out quickly, so mark your calendar for the 2013 editions.

Categories: Events | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 1 Comment

Create a free website or blog at