This week, approximately 20,000 children from across the state will visit the Field of Dreams exhibit at the N.C. State Fair, where they will learn about the positive impacts of agriculture in North Carolina. Field of Dreams, a partnership between North Carolina’s Electric Cooperatives and the N.C. Department of Agriculture, highlights the role of the state’s agriculture industry in our everyday lives. The exhibit features gardens full of dozens of NC-grown crops, helping kids make the connection between the food they see growing and the food they see on their plates. The exhibit also includes a coloring contest, mini tractor rides, rabbits, a turkey and a photo area where families can take a snapshot from their day on the “farm.”
North Carolina’s 26 not-for-profit electric cooperatives provide electricity and energy services to 2.5 million North Carolinians, primarily in rural communities. Electric cooperatives were founded by farmers, and today, cooperatives continue to partner with their agricultural members on projects ranging from electrification initiatives that improve efficiency and sustainability, to developing one of the state’s first agricultural microgrids.
“There are few organizations out there that have had as big of an impact on rural North Carolina as the network of North Carolina’s 26 electric cooperatives,” said North Carolina Agriculture Commissioner Steve Troxler. “Without their foresight, rural electrification would have been a long time coming, and the progress we have made would have been even more hard wrought. I can’t stress enough the importance of what they have done to help make agriculture a $92.9 billion industry in North Carolina, and we are proud to have them partner with us to educate the next generation on how much agriculture means to this state.”
The exhibit is now in its 18th year and was created to highlight the many benefits of agriculture in North Carolina. Field of Dreams is staffed by local FFA chapters and 4-H clubs as well as employees from the North Carolina Department of Agriculture and Consumer Services. These volunteers help answer questions and guide kids through the exhibit.
Sarah Ray, public information officer for the N.C. State Fair, noted that “since its inception, Field of Dreams has helped educate almost half a million kids on the importance of knowing where their food comes from and the positive impact buying local has on our state.”
Located near Gate 1 and Dorton Arena at the State Fair, Field of Dreams is open daily from 9 a.m. to 8:30 p.m. The N.C. State Fair runs through Oct. 23.