What happens when a farm bureau and a grocery store team up? Well, there’s a lot of programs that could come out of that. But in this case, the result was a brand-new exhibit trailer for Pennsylvania Farm Bureau.
Giant, a regional grocery store chain based in Pennsylvania, sponsored the trailer to help educate people about local food. Pennsylvania Farm Bureau wanted to talk about local food too, of course, but they also knew their consumer audience wanted to hear more about farmers’ sustainability efforts. Those two themes — sustainability and local food — guided our design for the trailer.
The Sustainability Window
With any of our exhibit trailers, the most important topics usually go in the exterior window exhibits. They’re the easiest for passerby to see, and they offer the most room for creative displays. So for this trailer, pride of place went to a window about sustainability in agriculture.
Half the window discusses soil health — what it is and how farmers use soil sampling to evaluate their soil’s health. Below the signage, a row of soil sampling cores invites people to pull up the cores and see replicas of the three most common types of soil in Pennsylvania. This isn’t the first time we’ve added soil cores to a trailer. They’re a popular way to help people understand how soil sampling works.
The second half of the window discusses an issue specific to Pennsylvania. The Chesapeake Bay suffers from high nitrogen and sediment pollution, and much of it can be traced back to farming. But since Pennsylvania’s farmers are working to reduce their pollution, the Pennsylvania Farm Bureau wanted to highlight their efforts.
Three hexagonal pillars display facts about farmers’ conservation strategies. They explain how cover crops, contour plowing, buffers along waterways, and other practices help protect the water supply. Since many consumers aren’t familiar with any of these, it helps them recognize the variety of tools farmers can use to benefit their environment.
The Farm-to-Fork Window
On the opposite side of the trailer, the Farm-to-Fork window shows all the steps in the food system. Little cutouts represent five stages of the food’s journey: farms, food production facilities, distribution centers, grocery stores, and consumers’ plates.
At each station, a flip-up panel describes the people and steps involved in that stage. For example, the distribution center panel talks about the order selectors who load stores’ orders onto pallets, the truck drivers who take pallets to the stores, and so on. It gives consumers a better appreciation for all the people involved in bringing food to their tables. Plus, with how much supply chain issues have been in the news, this exhibit helps them understand the complexity of the food system.
But Wait, There’s More
These aren’t the only displays in Pennsylvania’s exhibit trailer, of course. Inside the trailer, there’s quizzes about nutrition and about whether something’s a fruit or vegetable. There’s also panels with fun stats about Pennsylvania farms, and a station where people can watch videos of farmers introducing themselves and describing their farms. And the very back of the trailer features our ever-popular tractor-ride simulator.
With their new exhibit trailer, Pennsylvania Farm Bureau can share the story of agriculture — particularly the topics their audience cares about most — in a creative, memorable way. Whether they go to farmers markets or grocery store parking lots, the trailer’s compact size makes it easy to park and set up anywhere.