Grown Here at Home: Farmers Appreciation Day at SedaliaFest

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BIG ISLAND, Va. (WDBJ7) Jesse Burden has been a farmhand on Tomlinson Farms in Big Island for two-and-a-half years. He wouldn't have it any other way.

"I wouldn't trade a minute of it for anything," said Jesse.

Farming is just something that runs through his veins.

"I've worked several odd jobs -- construction, running equipment, laying waterlines, putting ag systems in, but this is what I've always wanted to do and I'm enjoying it and I hope that I can just keep doing it," he said.

That's why the Sedalia Center in Bedford County is holding Farmers Appreciation Day during SedaliaFest. It's a way for you to meet local farmers like Jesse.

"We welcome all farmers that are local here in Virginia to go ahead and come on out and sell their products here and just increase awareness in the community. It's just letting everyone know we appreciate their time and giving us healthy food to eat," said Heidi Hunter, executive director of the Sedalia Center.

If we're being honest, farming isn't easy and it's not for everybody.

"It's not a 9 to 5 job. You might work from six in the morning until nine at night," Jesse explained. When you farm you've got to be an engineer, a mechanic, a plumber, a technician, an electrician. You've got to know how to do a lot of things because you can't afford to pay someone to come in and fix a piece of equipment every time it break or go out and buy a new one every time something breaks," he said.

Now more than ever there's a push to get young people excited about farming.

"It's a dying breed. If these young people don't start stepping up and taking over there's going to be no more farming," Jesse said.

Farm work is hard work, but Jesse doesn't mind it.

"I just like being able to see my work grow and knowing that what I'm doing is benefiting someone else," Jesse said.

SedaliaFest is Saturday, August 12th, at the Sedalia Center in Bedford County. Gates open at 5 p.m. for general admission ticket holders.
Country singer Ashley McBryde is headlining the event. And, as a thank-you, farmers and their families get in for $5 per person.