A group of Illinois farm families will soon be opening their doors to moms from the Chicago, area.

“Field Moms,” a new program launched by Illinois Farm Families, offers Chicago area moms the opportunity to see first-hand where their food comes from, and have their questions answered by the farmers who grow it.

Prior to the launch of the “Field Moms” program, the Illinois Farm Families did research with hundreds of moms and other consumers to find out their thoughts on food and farming. It turns out that moms have a lot of questions about food. Chemical use and hormones in meat were two issues that are top of mind, says Amy Roady, a spokesperson for Illinois Farm Families. Research also showed that moms can remember going to farms during grade school, but the memories don’t mesh with what they see today.

Also gleaned from the research was that moms have a high regard for farmers and value them. But moms aren’t sure farmers are always doing the right thing, Roady explains.

The “Field Moms” program was developed as a result of this research. “Our goal is to really focus on creating conversations with moms,” she says. “We don’t want to just push information out there; we want to address specific concerns that moms have.”

Farm tours will take place over a 12-month period and will include crop, dairy, beef and pork farms. Coordinators of the program also hope to tailor the tours to address the specific questions and concerns that the moms have.  

Moms in the program will be encouraged to blog about their experiences and to share with other moms what they have learned. Applications for the program will be accepted until August 21. The moms will be selected in September and tours to start by the end of October.

This first year the program is focusing on Chicago area moms, but may be expanded in the future.

For more information on the program, go to: www.watchusgrow.org