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He Was Sick of a Sucky 2020. His Remedy: 2M Sunflowers

Wis. farmer Scott Thompson has planted upward of 2M 'blooms of sunshine' to make people happy
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 9, 2020 9:50 AM CDT

(Newser) – Strawberries, raspberries, and pumpkins are what you'd find growing on Scott Thompson's Wisconsin farm in a normal summer and fall. But 2020 is definitely anything but normal, and this year, neither are the Bristol farmer's fields. When the pandemic forced everything to start shutting down in March, no one really anticipated how long it would go on. But, Thompson tells CNN, as it became evident we were all in this for the long haul, he and his wife came up with a plan to give people a safe, socially distanced way to get outside and enjoy themselves: They worked sunflowers into their rotation, planting more than 2 million "blooms of sunshine," spread out in 15 fields over 22 acres so visitors would have plenty of room to stroll around without being on top of each other.

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Thompson, whose family has been farming in Kenosha County for about seven decades, says his flower fest has met with great success, with one woman even making the trip out from Chicago for a little pick-me-up. He has also planted separate fields of zinnias, Mexican sunflowers, and wildflowers. People notes visitors can take home a souvenir of their boredom-busting day: Per the farm's website, you get a dozen freebies with each $25-per-car parking fee, an entry cost that's good for up to six people. "One of the things that's so cool about this is everyone is so happy," Thompson tells CNN, noting that he plans to keep the sunflowers permanently on his annual grow list. (Read more uplifting news stories.)

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