Supporting Alaska's farmers in Palmer at Drive Your Tractor to Work Day

Published: May. 4, 2020 at 3:25 PM AKDT
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For the fourth year in a row, farmers and tractor enthusiasts rolled through the city of Palmer in their finest rigs for Take Your Tractor to Work Day. While coronavirus didn't stop this event, it did make it more important.

Arthur Keyes is the organizer for the parade. The event is all about celebrating farmers and raising awareness to buying local produce according to him. He said it always happens around the time the agriculture season starts on the second Tuesday of May.

He said the virus hasn't stopped them from working because people have to eat. However it has made their job more important to Alaskans.

"It's really put a spotlight on local food like we've never seen before," he said, "We are working double time. More product has been moved out of Alaska's storage barns, into the grocery store shelves, and into the hands of consumers in the past month and a half than I think we have ever seen happen."

Even with a pandemic going on, the parade started at the State Fairgrounds so they had space to be socially distant.

Spectators came out in small groups around the streets near the Palmer Pavillion to watch around 30 tractors roll through town. One of them was Mike Pollock, a collector participating in the parade for the second time. He was driving his 1942 Massey Harris.

Once a farmer himself, he said it's important for him to be with the others.

"For me it's like going back in time," Pollock said, "being raised on a farm, I'm very much in support of the farmers here. It's just a good feeling, and there's the camaraderie of the group."

Once the fun was over, the farmers and enthusiasts were treated to some breakfast burritos at the pavilion. Keyes said the work starts up again Tuesday, where most of them will be thinking about how crucial local farming is to our food security during the pandemic.

"Alaska's farmers are here for you. We're going to step up and we're going to feed you," he said, "there's never been a better time to support your local farmers and local producers."

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