Live. Learn. Farm. Family.
The Indian Land Farm Club put its motto into practice and brought the farm to the public Saturday at its annual Spring Farm Fest held beside Tyndall Furniture.
The pace of life seemed to slow down a little as preschoolers got behind the wheel of one of Indian Land Farm Club founder Mike Neese’s work vehicles – a 1949 Ford tractor.
Except for the cellphones the adults pulled out occasionally to snap photos, it was easy to imagine the gathering had slipped into an earlier century. Kids and families shared hot dogs and pink lemonade. Cotton candy twirled around plastic fly swatters stained little fingers and faces blue. Laughter rang out from the side field as kids raced in potato sacks and played melon ball, a game that looked like hockey with straw brooms and cantaloupes.
Notes of banjo, guitar and mandolin music drifted across the afternoon air, but the most magical things had feathers or fur.
Sally Sue Hyatt, 3, of Fort Mill had never seen a chicken before when she found herself in a pen with 5-year-old Alana Ruland of Pineville, N.C., and four Golden Comet hens. Apprehension quickly turned to curiosity as she tried to catch one of the birds. It took a few tries and it was scary at first, but she got it. Her excitement when the hen finally settled into her arms was the type of experience Neese envisioned when the Indian Land Farm Club was formed in 2012.
Neese’s family has been farming for eight generations at Virginia based Spraker Farms, which raises Angus beef and was established in 1763. Neese wanted to make sure that tradition made it to a ninth generation, not just for his own daughters, but for other kids and families in the community who wanted to connect with their agricultural roots.
The ILFC is a nonprofit volunteer organization that relies on corporate sponsorships, grants and donations to operate. It sponsors the Indian Land 4H Farm Club, the Lancaster County Turtle Club, and other agricultural and 4H projects based on the interests of its member families, Neese says.
The group meets on Sunday nights at the Indian Land farm Neese manages. More than 20 families come together regularly to learn about and care for the guinea pigs, chickens, goats, turtles, horses and other animals.
Visit the Indian Land Farm Club on Facebook for more information, including upcoming projects.