Autauga County held its annual Farm City Week activities November 16-20. The week-long celebration included activities for children and adults, and was organized to recognize the interdependence of rural and urban communities.
According to Mike Lamar, chairman of Autauga County’s Farm City Week, "The purpose of Farm City Week is to provide a venue for rural and city residents to come together for fellowship, food and fun in order to help one another recognize the contributions to society each one makes."
Two highlights of the week were the Kid’s Tour, held Tuesday morning, and the banquet, held Thursday evening.
On Tuesday, Nov. 16, nearly 500 local third grade students attended the Farm City Week Kid’s Tour along with their teachers and parent volunteers. The event was held at R.H. Kirkpatrick Arena in Autaugaville where attendees were greeted by approximately 60 volunteers who organized stations where students could learn more about farm life. The stations included various farm animals, a plasticulture demonstration, bee-keeping, goat meat and cheese taste-testing, cotton-ginning, a wood-working demonstration and, the always popular, mobile dairy unit.
According to Yvonne Thomas, Autauga County Extension Coordinator, "The Farm City Week Kid’s Tour was sponsored by the Autauga County Extension office in partnership with Mid South RC&D, the Autauga County Farm City Week Committee, local farmers and the Autauga County Young Farmers."
Thomas also noted the importance of the Tour.
"It is important for students to attend the Farm City Week Kids Tour because it provides an opportunity to highlight what agriculture means to our local economy and exhibit how farm families supply many of the basic necessities of our daily life," Thomas said. "Through participation in the various activities, the youth discover the connection between farm life and their everyday life. Most importantly, the youth leave with a greater appreciation for those who grow, harvest and deliver agricultural goods to feed their families."
Thursday, November 19, R.H. Kirkpatrick Arena was once again bustling as the county’s rural and urban families alike joined to participate in the celebration’s annual banquet. The event boasted a delicious meal and recognized outstanding Autauga County citizens.
Lamar said, "The purpose of the banquet is to honor the achievements of businesses, business people and farmers who make Autauga County the great place it is. This is truly the one time each year each of the groups is at the same place at the same time."
Winners were Kirk McKinney, Farmer of the Year; Jim’s Restaurant, Business of the Year; and Clyde Chambliss, Business Leader of the Year. Several poster and essay winners from Autauga County schools were recognized as well.
In recognition of Farm City Week, the 4-H Home Grown Kids collected and donated 624 pounds of food to the Autauga Interfaith Caring Center.
It won’t be long before the 2010 Autauga County Farm City Committee will meet once again. According to Lamar, the Committee usually starts preparing for the following year nearly 10 months in advance.
"Our Farm City Committee usually begins our preparations with a wrap-up meeting in early January," he said. "At this meeting, we discuss what went right with our previous year’s festivities and how we can improve them."
But Lamar said it’s all worth it because it has cultivated effective communication between the rural and urban areas in the county fostering improvements and positive working relationships.
"Our county, town and city governments have worked together to bring in industries and businesses across the county that have improved tax revenues which, in turn, have improved services offered to county residents like schools and roads," he said. "A key reason this has occurred is that all groups communicate well. Farm City activities help promote this communication…."
Grace Smith is an associate editor for AFC Cooperative Farming News.