I couldn't tell you about anywhere that will let the kids actually work--you'd have to ask the farmers--but I can think of several places that give tours.Triple S Farms
, rural Neoga. They're certified organic, and Stan is just the best. Very, very cool farm.Okaw Valley Orchard
, rural Sullivan. They have a giant play area, and I know they give tours to school field trips.
Some other places off the top of my head you might try:Buxton's Garden Farm
, rural Sullivan. They live on a large pumpkin and squash farm.Pontious Farm
, rural White Heath. Berry, herb, and vegetable farm, but they're especially known for their U-pick berries. I've never been there, but I keep meaning to.
There are over 100 vineyards
in the southern half of the state. Here
are some pretty close to you. (Zoom out if you need to see more of the map.)
Have you attended the Urbana Farmer's Market
? It's the biggest downstate FM, and you could probably talk to a couple dozen farmers there. I can think of several large organic farms there, ranging from produce to dairy goats to bison to honey. Keep in mind that the Market is crazy-busy, so you'd want to get there right at opening before it gets too packed, but even then, you may just have to collect business cards and contact the farmers later.
Oh, and search IllinoisFarmDirect.org. I bet you'll find dozens of farms closer than you realize. In fact, I just put in the zip code for Olney and got 10 hits within 20 miles. I probably should have just started with that, LOL.
And feel free to PM when you're going to the Great Pumpkin Patch! I live less than 30 minutes from there. I also know of some smaller farms around Moultrie County that I didn't list here, including a dairy goat farm, pig farm, deer farm, and blueberry farm.