National Agricultural Center System
The government should create a national chain of agricultural centers, similar to its state park system, as an appreciation for local farms and to promote local produce.
A recent visit to the Stone Barns Center For Food & Agriculture, as well as Blue Hill at Stone Barns restaurant was a revelation on how inspiring a farm can be. The Stone Barns farm is not only 'postcard beautiful' but it also is set up to teach people about every aspect of careful farming sensitive to the land. Families and classes can come to tour the farm and hear the farmers talk about farming, how different animals are cared for and about tending the many vegetables that grown on the farm. Kids can feed the animals, help to pick vegetables and learn how to prepare some simple dishes. An on-site cafe and restaurant also supplies visitors with food that is grown right there to take home or eat on the spot.
A Nationally funded system of agricultural centers would help to make farms more accessible to underpriveledged kids in urban areas. Building an appreciation in kids for our nation's farming tradition and the beauty of fresh fruits and vegetables could help to promote healthy eating choices.