Growing up in a rural area, I had first-hand experience helping my grandmother each spring as she planted the garden. She would rise early on spring mornings, eat a hearty breakfast and then go to work in the garden. She prepared straight rows in the soil. Since I was closer to the ground, it was my task to get the seeds placed just the right distance apart in the loose soil.

Not everyone has experienced the journey of food but thanks to Saint Louis Science Center’s new permanent exhibit GROW, over a million people each year will have the opportunity to learn about our food, from farm to fork.

The new exhibit opened to the public on June 18. It includes 40 interactive exhibits as well as demonstrations to help visitors learn more about the source of their food. Visitors can explore the role of agriculture in providing items we consume. Through life-sized simulations, one can experience a cow’s digestive system and how a cow is milked.

Missouri Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture provided early support for the venture by donating $250,000 to join Illinois Farm Bureau in creating a Bi-State Agriculture Map. Located in the GROW Pavilion, the map and wall exhibit showcase the importance of agriculture to both states and its significant contribution to the local and global economy.

Visitors can spend time learning the basics of botany and photosynthesis. The Case IH combine connects viewers to the technology utilized on today’s farms. Round out the day by watching the chickens, checking out the plants in the greenhouse or watching the flow of water while learning of its importance to our food supply.

And…just like my grandmother provided me, you can roll up your sleeves and do some garden work to gain first-hand experience at growing food. Check out GROW at the Saint Louis Science Center! It is worth your trip, and it’s free!