LETHBRIDGE – Farms, ranches, and other agri-businesses across Alberta are opening up their operations this weekend, Aug. 18-19, for the sixth annual Alberta Open Farm Days.
This year’s event features 19 culinary events and 10 bus tours and is designed to give you an up-close look at the industry – something Open Farm Days committee member Tim Carson says is becoming more difficult for a growing number of people.
“At the end of the day, we're getting further and further from the farm – many people are now three or four generations from farming,” said Carson. “Plus, we're getting a tremendous amount of people who are coming to Alberta for the first time. So, understanding the importance of the agriculture industry here in Alberta, and the quality... is unbelievably important.
“One of the things that a lot of our Open Farm Days hosts are really concentrating on is really creating a real experience for those people going out to their farm,” Carson continued. “If you can go to the Alberta Farm Days website, you'll find something for everyone.”
Not only is the weekend helpful for those looking to learn more about where their food comes from, but it also provides a significant benefit to local producers.
“Last year alone, there was just over $145,000 spent on Open Farm Days, on direct on-farm purchases,” Carson explained. “And I think many of the people who are purchasing some of that fresh produce and fresh product from the farm, continue to do so throughout the year. Once they find out and create that relationship with those producers, it's an ongoing increase in productivity.”
With just two days to visit so many locations around the province, the Alberta Open Farm Days website is set up to help you select the places you would like to visit, showing you the ones that are closest to you. It then provides maps and directions, so you reach each one easily.
In our region, a number of host producers can be quickly found in and around Lethbridge, Fort Macleod, Pincher Creek, and Cranford.
“Some of our host farms are there, specifically because they want their story told,” said Carson. “At the end of the day, having the farmer themselves or the producers be able to tell their story on how they manage their business and producing food for Albertans that is world class, is really vitally important.”
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