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Extension coordinates successful 2019 Lehigh Valley open gate farm tours

Thousands of Lehigh Valley and surrounding area residents flocked to the 2019 Open Gate Farm Tour “Host Farm” sites over the span of four days.

Penn State Extension has organized the Open Gate Farm Tours of Lehigh and Northampton Counties for more than four decades.

This year, Extension coordinated the 2019 Lehigh Valley Open Gate Farm Tours at nineteen farms/agricultural operations in Northampton County and twenty-one farms/agricultural operations in Lehigh County.

The primary goal is educating the public about local agriculture in their surrounding communities while visiting the host farm sites on a beautiful fall day.

For the third year in a row, a private bus tour traveled to four different Open Gate farms.

On Oct. 19, Penn State Extension partnered with the County of Lehigh to provide funding to bus community members from Allentown, gathered in partnership through Allentown Promise Neighborhoods.

The bus attendees were provided items donated by Penn State College of Agricultural Sciences such as Spotted Lanternfly materials and “the Joy of Farm Watching” publication.

Christi Graver and Jen Massaro from Penn State Extension were present on the bus tour and served as guides to the attendees throughout the day.

They reinforced agricultural literacy and education by sharing personal agricultural experiences and pointing out basic agricultural sightings along the bus ride route.

The 2019 Open Gate Farm Tours were deemed very successful from the attendees, bus tour participants, host farms, partners, and all other parties involved.

Planning for 2020 has already begun - Penn State Extension in the Lehigh Valley plans to offer “open enrollment” for any new potential farm/agricultural operation sites to join the Open Gate Farm Tour in 2020 to enhance the overall event by promoting more agricultural literacy, agritourism, and overall local agricultural awareness in the Lehigh Valley.