Rick Lattin, owner of Lattin Farms, is fond of telling the story about a 12-year-old girl who visited. Marveling at the pumpkin patch, she asked how long it took to haul the pumpkins to the farm.
“The farm model has been so revolutionized over the past 50 to 60 years, that kids have no idea where their food comes from,” he says. “That’s why part of our focus is teaching kids the importance of agriculture.”
And not just kids. Fifth-generation farmer Lattin’s particular operating model is simultaneously old-school and modern. Lattin Farms sells its produce on site and at farmers markets, but has also adopted the community-supported agriculture model, selling farm basket subscriptions. They have 250 clients and are growing. It suggests to Lattin that city-dwellers are starting to wake up to an awareness of what’s on their plate. “In the last 10 to 15 years, there’s been a kind of back-to-the-future of farming, a movement to connect people in the cities with the people who grow their food.”
To that end, much of the 400-acre, drip-irrigated farm resembles a sort of back-country Chuck E. Cheese, with corn mazes, hay bale go-kart tracks and other attractions. Lattin also participates in Harvest Hosts, a program that lets traveling RVers stay on local farms. Such practices are about more than rural hospitality; they encourage urbanites to learn about what’s growing in the smaller farms that dot America’s backyard.