The Farm Tour is actually a county type of event – all the participating farms in the county are essentially open for visitors on this one Saturday every summer.
There are hay rides, pulled by a tractor, and your typical food-for-purchase that are likely sold at every farm, but at Poplar Spring, of course the burgers and dogs are vegan.
Last year there were about 800 visitors. I’m not sure how many there were this year, I couldn’t really compare because last year I worked the food table, and it seemed like we were busy constantly the entire time. This year I was working the cows/horses/mules area, and that meant I had almost nothing to do. The horses and mules were staying cool in the barn, almost the entire time, and the cows were not seen the entire day, sticking to the woods and stream.
I always wonder how many people coming to the farm really understand ahead of time what they’re coming to see, whether (if they’re going to several farms) they find it jarring at all to experience groups of people with two opposite attitudes towards animals – one group focused on saving them, the other focused on making money off them. I wonder how many people have a veggie dog or burger for the first time, too worn down from the heat and humidity to have their usual “I’ve never tried it, but I just know it must be absolutely horrible” reaction.
I met cat rescuers from Baltimore, and various other people who seemed to have come specifically because it was a sanctuary. Perhaps they didn’t visit the other farms. Most of the visitors, however, make a day of it going to the various farms.
It is too bad that we have no way of knowing whether a message gets through, whether what they see and experience changes them.
Someone recently left a message on my Mork and Mindy post, about two of the most recent piglet arrivals:
I visited the sanctuary on Saturday and met Mork and saw Mindy sleeping. Mork was muddy on his face and lower half so I scratched behind his ears. I loved the pig barn! Loved it.
It made me smile. There is something about those pigs, messy, muddy, curious, intelligent and loving their belly rubs. Seeing them sleep is one of the most peaceful things I’ve ever seen. Having a giant half-asleep pig roll over for you to give them a belly rub, or having a muddy pig approach you and flop over on the ground for a belly rub…I find it amazing. Especially considering some of the things these pigs have survived. Bellies are vulnerable area for just about all animals, rolling over to expose our bellies requires trust. When the new pigs roll over for belly rubs for the first time (many, it is clear, have never had anything like it in their lives), that’s when we know they’re about to get over their wariness of humans.
I’m so glad that “s” had a chance to feel and experience some of that on Saturday.