For The Express
Local farms have an opportunity to promote their products during the annual Alberta Open Farm Days that return Aug. 17-19.
A record number of participating farms, ranches and visitors set a new high for on-farm sales, says a government news release.
“Open Farm Days provides a unique opportunity to highlight agriculture’s importance and vitality as a core sector in the province,” says Agriculture and Forestry Minister Oneil Carlier, MLA for Whitecourt – St. Anne.
“It’s important for Albertans to connect with the hard-working farmers who are feeding their families and communities.
“Alberta has some of the best food producers and processors in the world.”
The deadline for host applications is May 31.
Participating hosts can access product development supports such as business coaching, industry learning opportunities and regional networks.
Now entering its seventh year, Alberta Open Farm Days features open houses, culinary events and tours.
Farm sales in 2018 reached almost $190,000 over the two days, up 30 per cent from the year before.
“We hope even more farms and ranches get involved in this year’s Open Farm Days,” Culture and Tourism Minister Ricardo Miranda says.
“The event helps farmers meet new customers, share their story and grow their businesses.
“It’s also a fun and educational way for Albertans and visitors to take in Alberta’s ag-tourism experiences and learn more about where their food comes from.”
The weekend’s selection of experiences also helps showcase the growing number of opportunities available to rural and culinary tourism entrepreneurs.
“Becoming a host is a great way to grow your business,” says Tim Carson, CEO, Alberta Association of Agricultural Societies.
Open Farm Days is a collaborative project presented by the Government of Alberta, the Alberta Association of Agricultural Societies, Travel Alberta and participating farms, ranches, hosts and agricultural societies.
-The vast majority of Albertans (87 per cent) have participated in some form of farm-to-fork tourism over the past 12 months.
-The most commonly attended activities are dining at a restaurant serving Alberta ingredients (71 per cent), attending a farmers’ market (56 per cent) and farm retail purchasing (40 per cent).