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Local farmers set to launch ‘virtual’ tours

Farmers in Polk and Rutherford counties have decided that if you can’t come to

see their farms, they will bring them to you. Virtually, that is. Beginning next week you

will be able to visit local farms on line.

The free virtual farm tour will begin Monday, August 3 and run through the last

week of October with different farmers presenting their operations to you via social

media each week.

“We will be highlighting individual farms on Facebook and Instagram, where you

get to see and interact with each farm highlighted. Some farms will convey their stories

through photos and descriptions, while others will host Facebook Live events during

their assigned week,” said Erica Shanks, Polk County’s farm and community relations

specialist.

On line tours begin next week at www.ncfoothillsfarmtour.com , and on Facebook

(@ncfoothillsfarmtour) and Instagram (@ncfoothillsfarmtour).

Rutherford County cooperative extension horticulture agent Hannah Bundy and

Dawn Jordan, ag economic development director for Polk County, along with Shanks,

worked as a team to organize and arrange the virtual tour. The annual farm tour for the

two counties was cancelled this year because of Covid-19.

“While we are sad that we can’t all gather on farms this year throughout the

counties, we know how important it is to bridge that connection to our community on

who is growing our food and how they’re doing it. Now more than ever we have seen an

increase in demand about knowing where our food comes from, and the desire to start

our own victory gardens,” Shanks said.

During normal circumstances, folks going on the farm tour would be able to get

hands-on experiences to see for themselves how local food is grown. Putting the safety

of farmers and tour participants first, the trio came up with the idea of letting people visit

local farms through social media and newspaper articles.

“We may not be able to see each other in person, but we believe that it is still

important to share with you the stories and passion of farmers in Polk and Rutherford

counties over the next few months,” Shanks said.