BY KALISHA MENDONSA
Alberta Open Farm Days is about farmers and ranchers inviting their urban and rural neighbours to stop in for a visit to share stories, see demonstrations, and learn more about the farmers who grow their food.
As well, some of Alberta’s most talented chefs and rural communities will be hosting a memorable series of farm-to-table culinary events that will be held around the province using Alberta farm products.
Producers and ag-tourism operators can sign up using the online registration form available at albertafarmdays.com.
The application deadline for host farms is May 31st.
Minister of Agriculture and Forestry, Oniel Carlier, said this is an exciting opportunity for producers to highlight diversity around the province.
“We’re really encouraging Albertans to get out for Open Farm Days. It’s a really great event, and we are encouraging farmers if they are interested to go online and get that registration filled out before May 31st,” Carlier said.
“It gives an opportunity for people that perhaps don’t have the chance to connect to the agriculture life to do so. Perhaps they are living in a city, or have been for the past couple of generations, and this provides people a chance to connect to some of their roots.
“It lets people connect to the diversity of agriculture and farming, and also lets people enjoy some fresh air out at the farms around Alberta.”
Minister of Culture and Tourism Ricardo Miranda agreed this is a great opportunity for Albertans to learn about rural life, and what the agriculture industry provides for consumers.
“I had the opportunity to participate in this for the first time last year. It’s basically an opportunity for farmers to open up their homes and their farms to the community so people can visit and learn about the work they do.
“The farmers get to showcase all of the activities that take place on their farms, whether that is raising animals or growing foods or even creating things like wine,” Miranda said.
“It’s an invitation to every Albertan to learn and experience rural life and to have that interaction. It’s great for people who may not necessarily know much about farming, or who are from cities to get to know the people who live this lifestyle.”
Open Farm Days is a chance for Albertans to get out and experience the realities of rural living.
Through farm-to-table dining experiences, to learning about day-to-day life and living on the farm, it’s a great way to connect to the agriculture industry and the faces that keep that industry going.
Roy and Christine Sturgeon of Flying Cross Ranch near Lacombe have been taking part in Open Farm Days for a number of years.
Roy said it’s been an exciting opportunity for them, even though they don’t fall under the traditional scope of livestock or food farming. However, he said it’s still a very beneficial program.
“We’re not a conventional farm in that we don’t raise crops or livestock, really. We have a few cows, but mostly we raise our horses and do riding lessons. With Open Farm Days, though, we do a few different things like horse and pony demonstrations, and my wife does a little veggie garden for the kids, and they get to get eggs from the chickens and things like that,” Roy explained.
“I think it’s great for people to come out for Open Farm Days because it lets them see where their food comes from, and how it’s produced and raised and all of that. The interest in farm-to-table is growing again, and people are really taking an interest in where their food comes from. I think it’s great.”
Register online at albertafarmdays.com to take part as a host farm.