Print this page
Wednesday, 16 August 2017 07:00

Open Farm Days a chance to explore agriculture

Written by  Demi Knight
Rate this item
(0 votes)
Jan Slaski from Innotech Alberta in Vegreville talks to people about the hemp trials at last year’s Open Farm Days event. Farming Smarter works with Slaski developing hemp varieties for Alberta growing conditions. Jan Slaski from Innotech Alberta in Vegreville talks to people about the hemp trials at last year’s Open Farm Days event. Farming Smarter works with Slaski developing hemp varieties for Alberta growing conditions. Photo by Morton Molyneux

Farming Smarter is getting involved with helping to give Albertans an understanding of the farming industry once again this year with the annual Open Farm Days.


Although these days have been a staple to the province for five years, Farming Smarter is taking part in this learning event for the second year. This year’s Open Farm Days event will be held at the Farming Smarter Research Centre in Lethbridge County Aug. 20  from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m.
Claudette Lacombe, communication manger for Farming Smarter, says the organization got involved with these days as they have great knowledge to share on the industry with people interested to learn.
“Alberta does have some pretty interesting crops and, as a research association, we work on the leading edge to help farmers adopt new crops and ways of growing them. We have interesting stories to tell,” she says.
Open Farm Days have been a movement throughout Canada for the past 10 years, starting in the maritimes and moving west over time until they reached Alberta. Although these days have been prevalent for a decade, their popularity keeps growing as they travel the country to help educate the population on how farming works and where exactly food originates.
Lacombe says these kinds of educational days are still needed because farming is an ever-evolving industry that will always be vital to Albertans’ way of life.
“There are all kinds of reasons it’s good to learn about farming … Farming is changing as rapidly as city life through the introduction of the same technologies i.e. robotics, GIS, GPS, data banks and global markets,” she explains.
This year’s Open Farm Days will be a day-long event stocked with informative sessions for people to attend and get a backstage pass on what the farming industry is really like. Over the day several 20-minute sessions will be held including living soils, where people can explore what lives in the soil and how these living creatures help plants to grow.
A seeds and crops session will also be available for participants to look at plant seeds and observe their image as they grow below ground. People will also have an opportunity to learn more about crop protection and the basics and tactics of harvesting.
This event is free for all to attend and offers some extra activities to amp up the fun such as face painting, crafts and games, a photo scavenger hunt and a fundraising barbeque with an ice cream stand.
There will also be Country 95.5 and B-93 wagon rides that will take participants from the parking lot to the field all day long, once every 30 minutes starting at 11 a.m. and ending at 3:30 p.m.
With this being only the second year that Framing Smarter has been part of Open Farm Days, Lacombe said the turnout of interested members of the public was impressive.
“This will be Farming Smarter’s second year taking part and last year, we had about 150 people come and we were impressed with how interested they were in how things are done.”
Lacombe adds although there are larger populations these days living within city limits rather than rural farming areas, it’s still important to learn about the industry and the science that goes with it.
“We now live in the world where more people live in cities than on farms, but we hope people will have some fun and gain an appreciation for modern crop farming. It’s a highly-complex and science-driven industry because it carries large inherent risks.”
With newly-developing factors such as the ones being showed throughout the day’s sessions in soil health, seeds and plants and harvesting tactics, Lacombe says the risks can be better managed.
More information on the open farm days can be found online at: https://www.farmingsmarter.com/event/open-farm-days/.


Some of the operations open for Open Farm Days this year:
Open Saturday, Aug. 19
• Kootenai Brown Pioneer Village — Pincher Creek
Lunch with the Pioneers. Turn back time and enjoy a culinary experience at the Garden Cafe in Kootenai Brown Pioneer Village. Made with local fresh ingredients from Rose Creek Ranch and Room To Grow, lunch is $10/person and includes dessert and admission into the Pioneer Village that features 26 original, fully furnished heritage buildings. RSVP and direct questions to This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it. or phone 403-627-3684.
• Timber Ridge Conservation Site — M.D. of Willow Creek
Walk with us through the field of grass and flowers to a wonderful spring that feeds into the headwaters of Nanton Creek. Please bring an empty water bottle. Hosts: Glen and Kelly Hall. Directions: From the south end of Nanton turn west on Secondary Highway 533, travel 11 miles to Range Road 295, turn left and travel 1.5 miles south on gravel road, destination is on the right side of the road. Large sign reads Timbre Ridge Conservation Site.
• Windy Rafters Barn Dance — Fort Macleod
A historic 100 year old work-horse barn and school house, housing antique farm and school memorabilia in the middle of a homesteaded grain and cattle farm. Activities that day will include tours, farm lunch concessions, horseshoe games, simulated cow milking experience and a western line dance instruction and dance. Location: Between Lethbridge and Fort Macleod just off Highway 3 on Rge Rd 250, only 20 minutes (33km.) west of Lethbridge or 10 minutes (13 km.) east of Fort Macleod. Watch for highway signage.
• Lethbridge Cornmaze
Get lost in the 10-acre cornmaze and visit the friendly animals. There are sevaral other mazes, a playground, giant slide and a cowtrain. Directions: From Lethbridge, travel north on to Highway 25 towards Picture Butte, follow the signs to Park Lake. Go four kilometres north of Park Lake, turn left on to Twp Rd 10-4. Go 1.6 kms west and turn right at 22-4; after 1 km turn right.
• Lethbridge Exhibition Park
Exhibition Park and UFA are proud to present the 2nd Annual Open Farm Days tour. The day tour will consist of four participating selected farms in southern Alberta. See how their products are produced or grown and experience a day on the farm. Tour cost includes box lunch, refreshments, and bus transportation. Tickets are available at UFA and Exhibition Park Reception, or by phoning 403-328-4491
• Grainworks — Vulcan
Tour of organic grain production, milling, and distribution facilities. Products will be available. Hosts: Kerri McMahon, Calvin Barber. Directions: From the junction of Highway 23 and Highway 24 north of Vulcan: 10 kms south (Ensign sign), 3 kms east on Township Road 180 to elevator 242040, north to site.
• Canadian Grain Elevator Discovery Centre — Nanton
Enjoy a walking tour with information about the historic grain elevator provided by staff.
• CP Farms Ltd. — Barnwell
Guided tour of potato storages, display of equipment, pick, cut and eat your own potato, fun and games. Hosts: Michel and Hanneke Camps. Directions: From Taber take Highway 3 west, past Barnwell, go south (left) onto RR 18-0 for one mile.
• Big Country Ag Society — Oyen
Offering a bus tour to a farm and a tourist attraction ($15 per person). The Crossroads Centre will host a trade fair so local producers can sell their products. Also available will be educational activities, hands-on demonstrations, pony rides and a petting zoo, a tractor obstacle course and a barrel train ride for children. The afternoon wraps up with a Community Dinner at 5:30 p.m. ($20 per adult, $10 for children 6-12, children 6 and under free). Tickets for the bus tour and the dinner will be available at the Farmer’s Market (Fridays), the Oyen Echo or at the door.
• Farm to Table Feast and Fundraiser — Cypress County
Neubauer Farms, in partnership with, the Medicine Hat and District Child Care Association (MHDCCA) is proud to host a Farm to Table Feast and Fundraiser Aug. 19. Evening will include a four-course meal prepared by a red seal chef, live entertainment, farm tours, storytelling, as well as a live and silent auction. All foods used in the preparation of the meal will be raised on Neubauer Farms. All proceeds from the event will go the MHDCCA for the specific purpose of supporting agriculture education initiatives for children across our region. Contact 403-580-9654 to reserve your place at our table. Limited tickets available.
• Eastern Irrigation District — Bassano Dam
On Aug.19 during Alberta Open Farm Days two) guided tours of the Historic Bassano Dam structure will take place. The first tour is scheduled for 10 a.m. and the second for 1 p.m. To guarantee a spot on the tour pre-registration for the guided tour is required and space in each tour is limited to 20 adults. Phone 403-362-1400 to register for one of the guided tours. Registration deadline is Aug. 17. Directions: Approximately 8 km southwest of Bassano. Follow the blue directional signage.
• Big Marble Farms — Medicine Hat
Self-guided tour, signs explaining all processes, free vegetable samples. Hosts: Ryan and Brianne Cramer. Directions: Leave Medicine Hat on Highway 3 (Crowsnest Highway), turn right on range road 63, then first left into greenhouse. Greenhouse is visible from the highway.
• Brooks Corn Maze
Visit the corn maze, participate in children’s games and activities, and purchase produce in season. View the goats, bunnies and sheep. Hosts: Michelle and Ron Gietz. Directions: South side Brooks city limits at the corner of 7 Street East and Industrial Road.
• CP Farms Ltd. — Barnwell
Guided tour of potato storages, display of equipment, pick, cut and eat your own potato, fun and games. Hosts: Michel and Hanneke Camps. Directions: From Taber take Highway 3 west, past Barnwell, go south (left) onto RR 18-0 for 1 mile.

Open Sunday, Aug. 20
• Trail’s End Beef — Nanton
Join our family for a casual day of play and exploring. Tour the barnyard of a family ranch while you enjoy a sample of grassfed beef. Visit the cattle, horses, and hens. Pet the kitties and play catch with the Border Collie. This is your chance to engage in conversation with a family raising real food for real people. We welcome questions and curiosity. Bring a cooler to shop for grassfed beef, honey, and more. Hosts:Tyler & Rachel Herbert. Directions: 13km south of Nanton on Highway 2, turn east at Parkland on RR 274. At the T turn right. Take the first left on Central Ave. Continue 850 metres and the ranch is on the north (left) side.
• Farming Smarter — Lethbridge County
Enjoy a variety of interactive events, field tours, equipment display and prizes. Our learning sessions will include Seeds and Crops; Crop Protection; Harvest Basics; Bug Battles; Living Soils. The bonus activities will include a barbecue with hotdogs, burgers and fresh corn, an ice cream stand, face painting, crafts and games with prizes. Please RSVP. Admission is free.
• Canadian Grain Elevator Discovery Centre — Nanton
Enjoy a walking tour with information about the historic grain elevator provided by staff.
• Eastern Irrigation District — Bassano Dam
On Aug. 20 during Alberta Open Farm Days one guided tour of the Historic Bassano Dam structure will take place at 10 a.m. To guarantee a spot on the tour pre-registration for the guided tour is required and space in each tour is limited to 20 adults. Phone 403-362-1400 to register for one of the guided tours. Registration deadline is Aug. 17. Directions: Approximately 8 km southwest of Bassano. Follow the blue directional signage.

Read 425 times