“Everyday there’s another story about people not understanding the basics of food,” said Livermore.
It’s not the visitors’ fault, though. “It’s because farming has consolidated so much,” said Livermore. It used to be that 90 percent of the country was involved in agriculture and farming, but these days “farming is so small it’s dropped off the occupational category of the census,” said Livermore. Now educating the public on farms and food has become, in part, the job of someone like Livermore.
Want to get in touch with your food and farming history? Here are a few of our favorite farming museums across the country.
The Farmers Museum, Cooperstown, New York
We can thank modern farming technology for advancing our food systems, but vintage equipment sure did look cool. The museum’s agriculture collection displays tons of interesting equipment like a milk fat tester from 1890. The pickup truck exhibit is another intriguing glimpse into farming history. The top attraction here, though, is the museum’s “very tolerant cow,” said Livermore. She allows inexperienced visitors a try at milking her.
Georgia Museum of Agriculture and Historic Village, Tifton, Georgia
Be sure to check out the Peanut Museum tucked inside this 95-acre site. The museum within a museum includes peanut planting and harvesting equipment and a field of peanuts growing out back.
(Image credit: Muffinn / Flickr)
Primrose Farm Park, St. Charles, Illinois
This 1930s dairy farm offers historic farm demonstrations and classes on milking, horse grooming, egg collection, and even hog butchering.
Queens County Farm Museum, Queens, New York
Visitors can explore this 47-acre tract of farmland — including a greenhouse and historic farm buildings — without leaving New York City. Come in the fall for the Amazing Maize Maze and the Maze By Moonlight.
(Image credit: Josh Kesner / Flickr)
Loudoun Heritage Farm, Sterling, Virginia
This museum prides itself on activities for all age groups. Kids can work as farmers for the day, milking mechanical cows and collecting eggs, and later find out what it was like to cook before electricity and modern appliances at the Grandma’s Kitchen exhibit. Adults can follow the history of agriculture through the museum’s timeline.