Around our house, we joke about normal kids learning their ABC's, while our farm boys are learning about the differences between Holsteins and Angus (one
are a breed of cattle known for producing great milk, while the other is the go-to breed for steak), or like the video above, they are learning where
their food comes from. While we enjoy a good chuckle over such instances, we also know that our children's peers don't necessarily have the same knowledge
base. Helping consumers understand how food gets to the grocery stores is something Greg and I are extremely passionate about.
In 2011, we started Sycamore Run Farms at our farm in the northwest corner of the county. We're kind of "off the beaten path." Nonetheless, in the four years we operated at our location, we made some great strides in building a real, authentic ag experience. When Kent and Laura asked us if we were interested in moving to Pickwick in 2015, we didn't think twice. Surely, at an awesome location we'd be able to take the framework we started and reach even more people.
Nonetheless, there were challenges we didn't anticipate. Who knew it would be so hard to start conversations about farming right on the edge of town? Feedback we continuously received both from weekend guests and teachers was that they missed the part of the experience that came from visiting a farm in the middle of nowhere. Personally, we also missed the authenticity, especially from a livestock perspective, that came from having our farm right outside.
At the same time that we were receiving this guest feedback, we also stepped back and evaluated exactly what we wanted to accomplish. Our goal has always been to provide experiences that help kids and adults understand food and farming. We began exploring the option of restructuring Acres of Adventure as a 501(c)3 not-for-profit corporation. It seemed like a natural fit with our vision. We completed the restructuring and received our nonprofit status a few months ago.
So, where does that leave us? We are a nonprofit corporation with a goal of providing real farm experiences. After some deep soul searching, we're not sure that Pickwick is the best location for us to accomplish what we set out to do. While there are definite benefits to being in Bucyrus, there are also drawbacks. After a deep discussion with our newly formed board of directors, we've made the decision to move our main location back to our farm. This time, instead of being located at Greg's and my farm, we are going to move a mile up the road to our dairy farm. In the coming months, we'll be telling you more about our plans to construct a new learning center and facilities best designed to host guests right on the farm. Tours of our dairy farm will be a huge component of what we accomplish, allowing our visitors to see how their milk gets from the cow to the cup.
What does this mean for our activities at Pickwick? First, we won't be there this fall with our activities, although The Market will still have pick-your-own pumpkins. We'll be in touch with our current teachers with our plan for fall field trips. We hope to be at Pickwick from time to time in the future with special, one-day programs. Did you know nonprofits like COSI and the Columbus Zoo have mobile programs that they can take out to different locations? We'll be developing a component like this to allow us to still reach guests at Pickwick while also keeping our "home base" at our main location.
The main take-away we've learned learned through the process of building Acres of Adventure is that sometimes when you start down one path, it's not necessarily the best route. Keeping your end goal in mind is invaluable, but so is being flexible in how you reach it. When you're driving down the road, if you hit a road construction sign, you're not going to give up on your final destination; you're going to find a new route. Life is the same.
Here's to the new route for Acres of Adventure!
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