Select Albertan farmers and ranchers are opening their gates to visitors this August for the province’s ninth annual Alberta Open Farm Days on Aug. 14 and 15, in an effort to provide city dwellers a taste of rural life.
From cattle ranches to hop farms, urbanites can choose from more than 110 agricultural-based events to participate in this year, including farm tours, hay rides, and long-table suppers, according to Nicola Doherty, marketing coordinator for Open Farm Days.
She added the event is a way for people to experience first-hand what it’s like to spend time at a farm, a ranch, or even a greenhouse. There will also be an opportunity for attendees interested in supporting local producers to taste food that is fresh from the farm.
“It’s a way for people to experience the different types of products that are produced in the province,” she said. “[It’s an opportunity to visit] these really awesome little communities that are really close by that you never would have explored before.
“It’s one thing to watch a YouTube video and it’s another thing to be there, experience it and smell a farm – even though it might smell funny.”
Doherty added that attendees relish in being able to have a five-senses experience on a farm. Producers also seize the opportunity to dispel myths about farming, and welcome people to their property to learn about the agriculture sector in Alberta.
“For a lot of people that have never been on a farm before, this is an opportunity to experience that,” she said. “For people that have generational farm experience, it’s the opportunity to go back and relive some of those experiences.”
In terms of local representation, Glengary Bison – located northwest of Airdrie – will be among the participants this year. Other RVC-based operations include Long Grass Studio and Workshop, in Springbank, Prairie Berry in Indus and Winter’s Turkeys in Dalemead.
Doherty added Open Farm Days helps facilitate agri-tourism and rural sustainability in the province and as part of that, entrance to the farms is always free.
She suggested attendees plan their trip ahead of time and come dressed prepared for a day at the farm.
“It’s always easier if they plan their trip,” she said. “Sometimes it takes a bit longer to get from one place to the other. I don’t have farm experience, so it was always really helpful going to these new experiences to have a little bit of information.”
Those interested in attending can find a full list of participating farms along with a tool to help them plan their trip, at albertaopenfarmdays.ca
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