Alberta Open Farm Days to educate consumers on agriculture

Over 70 producers provincewide will open their doors to show people how their food is produced during Alberta Open Farm Days.

Mel Delaney picks raspberries in the warm sun at Hidden Valley Garden on Aug. 7. The garden will be participating in Alberta Open Farm Days later this month.

Mel Delaney picks raspberries in the warm sun at Hidden Valley Garden on Aug. 7. The garden will be participating in Alberta Open Farm Days later this month.

Over 70 producers provincewide will open their doors to show people how their food is produced during Alberta Open Farm Days on the weekend.

The event — Aug. 22 and 23 — is an opportunity for consumers to visit different farms and be educated on the methods producers use to grow crops and raise livestock.

The event closes the gap between rural and urban audiences to increase agricultural understanding, said Luree Williamson, CEO of Agriculture for Life.

“There’s a lot of consumer interest in understanding where their food comes from,” Williamson said. “There’s a huge local movement of supporting local farmers and producers, and Alberta Open Farm Days is a bridge that connects those audiences together.”

Consumers can plan their farming visits by going online to the Alberta Open Farm Days website, where farming descriptions and locations are available.

Not only is the weekend meant to educate consumers, it is meant to be memorable for the whole family, with something being offered for everyone.

“The experience is all geared towards families, and there’s lots of learning that happens for both children and adults,” Williamson said.

Producers also benefit from the event, as they’ll have the chance to talk to consumers to find out what they are looking for in the grocery stores. They’re also be able to clear up any agriculture confusion consumers may have.

Jim Hill, who owns Hidden Valley Garden just outside of Sylvan Lake, said he feels the event is a good opportunity for consumers to learn first-hand where their food comes from.

His own garden allows consumers to pick their own fruits and vegetables fresh from the ground, in an experience he said is new for many.

“If people have never been to a farm they may be surprised to find out how vegetables grow,” he said.

Williamson feels the event will also offer something of an insight into the state of agriculture today.

“There is so much advancement happening in agriculture that it gives the producer an opportunity to explain why and how they are growing or raising the crops or the livestock.”