Published Oct 12, 2021

Summer on the Farm

By Liz Kolbe and Practical Farmers of Iowa

Field days have been a cornerstone of PFI’s farmer-led programming since our earliest days – even before we had a name. Over the years, we’ve made changes to how we organize, manage and publicize field days. Some of the changes have been subtle: Few of you would have noticed when we began bringing clipboards or PFI-branded pens. We’ve added microphones, full-color field day guides, event webpages, an evaluation drop-box (and an online evaluation option) – and we even bought a van. Many of you likely noticed those changes!

But like many things that happened in 2020 and 2021, the changes we made to our field day season the past two years were unprecedented. Field days went completely virtual in 2020. And in 2021 we crafted a summer events season that featured in-person and virtual events, and released two separate summer event guides to accommodate a rolling event schedule adaptive to changing public health guidance.

Despite all these changes – good, bad or necessary – the spirit of PFI field days has remained steadfast, rooted in curiosity, creativity and connection. We tend to overanalyze how it happens, but somehow, being on a farm with other people who are gathered in that spirit is impactful. Attendees are inspired to ask new questions and try out new ideas on their own farms. They connect with one another – over shared interests, a shared meal, shared conversation, a summer storm experienced together – and grow those connections into networks and friendships.

The next eight pages share a snapshot of some of our 2021 summer events, including field days, “Catching Up” events and scenes from the sets of “Live From the Farm” episodes. We hope to see even more of you in 2022.