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Rancho Alegre Farm Helps Visitors Learn to Appreciate the Beauty of Nature

By S. Mathur

We've all seen the bumper stickers that say "No farms no food", but it takes a visit to a farm to really understand what that means. As Pilar Quintero, Owner of Rancho Alegre Farm says, many children have no idea where their vegetables come from.

"At Rancho Alegre Farm we show people that sometimes the natural amenities the earth gives us is what is needed to live a healthy and prosperous life. It is not just about going to the grocery store and buying "organic" products or becoming vegan to live a healthier lifestyle. We are educating people about what mother nature offers us and how we can benefit from it, while at the same time giving back to the land that feeds and maintains us every day."

Although the farm is not open on a drop in basis, they have regular open farm days through the year where it's open to anyone. Folks can sign up to receive notifications of their next one here - www.ranchoalegrefarm.com/learn/open-farm-day.

As well as producing food, it offers an important educational service for the community, says Quintero: "We provide the community with valuable information about raw and organic foods, sustainable living, and the benefits of living off the land through workshops and field trips. In a world where everything is simplified to be produced fast and economical, old fashioned farming can become a lost tradition."

As a center for agriculturally-based education and agritourism, Rancho Alegre farm offers many services such as school field trips and summer camps, rental space for meetings, weddings and receptions, sustainable living workshops, an online farmers market, and a growing homestead with a food garden, laying hens, a milk Jersey cow, milk goats, ponies, miniature donkeys, rabbits and more.

From birthday parties to school trips, the farm offers visitors and chance to learn about the work of the farm and to meet the animals, says Quintero: "When a child has a birthday party here and rides a pony for the first time in their life, it is a memory that will always be embedded and trigger every time they see a horse.

When a student attends field trips and sees how worms compost every time they dig one up in their yard they will remember how we use worms to break down organic matter and be beneficial to our gardens. When an elder couple comes to the farm and sees all the farm animals, it reminds them of their childhood back in their hometown or country."

The farm is also a popular venue for weddings, with a location that is secluded enough for a rustic feel but not in the middle of nowhere. Located in Gwinnett, which is the fastest-growing county in Georgia, the farm is only 45 minutes from Atlanta and half an hour from Athens. Personalized service for weddings includes rustic decor such as a doorway for the bride's entrance, benches, hay bales, and mason jars filled with flowers.

Birthday parties, too, get that special touch, and kids can get pony rides around the farm, a hayride, feed the farm animals, and even milk a goat. The farm also hosts family events, corporate events, and team banquets.

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