Celebrate agriculture in Alberta with Open Farm Days 2015!

Is anything better than spending a beautiful summer day in the country, enjoying the best that Alberta farms have to offer?

On August 22 and 23, thousands of Albertans did just that. During the third annual Alberta Open Farm Days, Albertans experienced farming up-close and personal, and learned about the farmers who grow their food. Visitors were encouraged to explore rural farms, watch demonstrations about how farms operate and/or attend an amazing array of culinary events across the province.

With over 70 farm locations, there was plenty to see and discover. This included alpaca fibre demonstrations, meat shop tours, winery tours and tastings, u-pick berry operations, garden tours and mazes, beekeeper tours, livestock experiences, farm machinery displays, dairy tours and tastings and much, much more.

AFA 2nd Vice President Humphrey Banack and his wife, Terry, participated again this year. They are owners of a 109-year-old family homestead and grow 5,000 acres of grains and oilseeds near Round Hill, Alberta, close to Camrose. On August 23, they had their harvest equipment on display, and treated visitors to a ride on a combine while harvesting peas.

“We love Open Farm Days,” says Banack. “This is one of the best ways to connect urban folks with their rural neighbours. Not only is it fun for us to show off how our farm operates, but it’s such a great way to educate people about how food is produced right here in Alberta. People who visited today got to take home a bag of peas to use in their cooking. It’s that farm-to-fork experience we all talk about.”

Alberta Open Farm Days is a collaborative effort between the Alberta Government, Alberta Association of Agricultural Societies, Travel Alberta and the Ag for Life initiative.

On Saturday August 22, 2015, talented Alberta chefs teamed up with farmers and rural communities to offer culinary events like long table dinners, corn roasts, barbeques, county fairs and other special events throughout the province. Tickets and reservations were required for events scheduled on Saturday. More information, and a list of events, can be found on the ‘Culinary Experiences’ section of the Alberta Open Farm Days website here.

On Sunday August 23, 2015, more than 70 Alberta producers opened their farm gates to offer a first-hand look at the important contribution agriculture makes to our province. Admission was free on Sunday, and a list of participating farms can be found here.

Here are a few photos from the Open Farm Days event on Sunday, August 23, 2015 at the Banack homestead in Round Hill, Alberta.

AFA-Open Farm Days Banack Farm 2015

The Open Farm Days sign welcomes visitors to the Banack farm near Round Hill, Alberta.

AFA-Humphrey Banack

Humphrey Banack feels Alberta’s annual Open Farm Days is an important way to connect producers with their rural and urban neighbors.

AFA-Banack Open Farm Days Tent

Open Farm Days visitors learn about, and see, the grains grown on the Banack farm.

AFA-Terry Banack on Open Farm Days

Terry Banack shows visitors the canola plant and its seeds. She also displayed products made from canola.

AFA-Banack Open Farm Days

Terry Banack brings two boys from the city inside their farm equipment.

AFA-Humphrey Banack Combine

An Edmonton family gets a ride in the Banack combine.

AFA-Humphrey Banack Combine

Visitors to the Banack farm during Open Farm Days got to ride with Humphrey Banack and harvest peas.

AFA-Humphrey Banack Peas

Families riding with Banack in the combine got a just-harvested bag of peas to take home.

Visit the Alberta Open Farm Days website at www.albertafarmdays.com to also see videos from this and past years, photos and a wide range of information on this great farm event.

For our farm readers: if you are interested in becoming a host farm in 2016, or holding a culinary event, the application deadline for the 2016 Open Farm Days is June 30, 2016.