story by Joan Lederer
Pumpkin blossoms in hand, Lisa Grief looks out over a patch full of children. As farm workers pass around small vanilla-colored seeds, Lisa dips into her knowledge of growing food and repackages it for an audience of kindergartners.
"Where do pumpkins come from? Do they come from witches?" she asks. A chorus of voices rejects the preposterous notion. "I know," she continues. "They come from Walmarts."
Again, the children call out the lie.
"Well, where do pumpkins come from?" she asks.
"From seeds!" they scream.
It's music to her ears. One of three siblings running Wurth Farm, Lisa sees hundreds of school children visit each year to pick pumpkins. The draw for adorable photos of tiny hands grasping at pumpkin stems has kept the farm afloat. It has also created a platform for Lisa and her brothers to share their work with a community that has become disconnected from farm life and the food it provides.
In an age when few children know where food comes from, the Wurths feel a responsibility to educate "our future voters." Jim Wurth, Lisa's brother, says some of the kids are in such awe of the rural surroundings "you'd think this was an African Safari."