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      Crawling to celebrate the American farmer

      Ten sites sprawling across Jefferson and Van Buren Counties took part in the Fourth of July Farm Crawl.

      â??This is just a lot of fun, I always love the Fourth of July, and I always love farmers and so this is meant to be a celebration of the American farmer and the 4th of July's the perfect day for that,â?? Jan Swinton said.

      As Hometown Harvest of Southeast Iowa's food coordinator, Swinton saw the holiday as a great opportunity for people to get to know their local farmers.

      â??There's enough time and energy to run around from farm to farm and kind of take the kids and grandkids out and Play with the sheep on a few farms, talk to the goats on another one, and you can watch the goats getting milked down on one of the Amish farms,â?? she said.

      Each farm is different and unique.â??Kim Keller who runs the farm around here grows a lot of the greens for the winter market and very popular among the other farmers,â?? Swinton said.â??We have a certified organic farm here that we raise vegetables on we have actually 90 acres total,â?? Keller said.

      The Kellerâ??s grow leafy greens, tomatoes and beets, and speaking of vegetables, over on at Aurora Farm Flowers on Kale Boulevard, Joy Craig and Dawn Hunter can tell you all about biodynamic farming.â??We make all of our own compost, we put particular preparations into the compost pile, we spray out on the land particular preparations, which help to enlighten the soil, and then we also plant and cultivate by the phases of the moon.â??After you grasp the concepts of food production and farming culture, people could also stop by the Maadam Barns to see their new chickens and get a history lesson.

      â??This is kind of the ending point as it was planned, so we give tours of the three barns and the welcome center and information on the Louding equipment as well,â?? Don Cummings, Maasdam Barns Chairman said.