THE FARM AT SILLYVILLE
The Farm at SillyVille is Washington’s food and farming story: a free, exciting, hands-on exhibit at the Washington State Fair that connects kids and families to our state’s agriculture industry, the farmers that produce the food we eat and the connection to healthy eating choices.
Engaging Children in Agriculture Through Play
From feeding chickens to harvesting vegetables, The Farm at SillyVille is a “farmer for a day” experience in a highly stylized environment that teaches young children farming concepts by igniting their imaginations in this 1.5-acre farm.
Families enter this enchanting farmland and move through a sequence of interactive experiences based on the National Agriculture Literacy Outcomes. At each station, children participate in hands-on activities which allow them to be a part of the farming process, collecting imitation nutritious food items from each station to exchange or cook with at the Farmstand. Through this inventive and educational exhibit, they will gain an understanding of where their food comes from, who grows their food, and how to make healthy food choices.
The following are the main components of The Farm at SillyVille.
- Dairy Barn – Use levers and knobs to interact with the milking process, see an automated milking machine and help the milk transform into a dairy product. Children also hand-milk a faux cow, to connect to the farms of the past.
- Grain Silo – Drive a combine to harvest wheat, discover different grains and mill them for products.
- Produce Barn – Pick fruit from the orchard; process and pack it for shipping to market.
- Chicken Coop – Gather eggs from animatronic chickens, see chicks hatch, and learn about animal life cycles.
- Backyard Garden – Discover root-based crops through an underground, soil experience. Learn about the plant life cycle from planting seeds to harvesting.
With input from local farmers and several different design firms, The Farm at SillyVille is coming to life under the supervision from Absher Construction and our very own local creative geniuses at Impressive Signs. Our partners are extremely talented at creating detailed spaces. With the design flair that will be unique to the Northwest, The Farm at SillyVille promises to be an exceptional experience for families, unlike anything seen before at the Washington State Fair.
Why Connect Kids to Farming?
In an era of disappearing farmland and increasing urbanization, fewer and fewer children are exposed to farming and agriculture. How many second graders know that their cereal started out in a wheat field, or their French fries were once potatoes growing underground?
With innovations in food production, our country has fewer farms and higher crop yields. But the consequence to this industry success story is that societal understanding about agriculture and production and how it contributes to our basic needs is markedly lacking. Adding to this challenge is that the USDA’s Census of Agriculture reports that in the 5-year span between the two most recent reports (2007 and 2012), a quarter of a million acres of farmland in Washington State was lost to development, leaving 2,035 farms out of business. Even more alarming is that the USDA reports the number of beginning farmers is at a 30 year low nationwide.
Living in a society dominated by electronic devices, there is less time and fewer opportunities for children to engage in real-life, tactile learning experiences. While the Washington State Fair is rich with agriculture showcases and our heritage is deeply rooted in farming, most of the learning opportunities for children are passive or limited to special competition (e.g. 4-H and FFA). The Farm at SillyVille offers children, and their families, a chance to engage their senses in a unique hands-on approach to agriculture education, nutrition and healthy eating and connect with our state’s farm industry in meaningful ways, motivated by fun.
How can you help? Donate to the Washington State Fair Foundation today!