Farming in Alberta, doesn’t happen insularly. It takes community, family, friends, colleagues, hard work, research, early mornings but also, farmers helping farmers.
It takes working together, supporting each other (farmers, producers and consumers) and realizing we’re all part of a complex interconnected system.
What better way to symbolize that than with one of our favourite pollinators, the honey bee, to demonstrate how much farming is interdependent. Bees pollinate the fruits, the vegetables, legumes, and without bees, much of what we eat wouldn’t be here.
For Open Farm Days our hive is vast, from our host farms, local communities, volunteers, municipalities and government organizations, to our sponsors, and grant providers, all to make sure that Albertans can get a back door pass to see how farming works in Alberta, and get to experience, first hand, local food and rural Alberta.
Open Farm Days by the Numbers
Over the last 10 years we’ve seen Open Farm Days grow from 46 farms for our first year in 2012 to 150 in 2019. Then there was a global pandemic that should’ve put a hamper on Open Farm Days, but still, the farms showed up. Seventy farms participated in 2020 and 90 farms in 2021.
In 2019, over 40,000 people travelled the province to visit farms in Alberta, and injected an estimated $80,000 into farms and rural regions that weekend alone.
The Original Farms
While we’re so excited to see how Open Farm Days has grown over the past 10 years, we are honoured to have many of the original farms participate throughout the 10 years that Open Farm Days has been happening. Some times farms take a year off due to weather, biohazards, or just to take a break (hosting an Open Farm Days event is a big undertaking).
This year 5 of the original Open Farm Day farms are participating!
This year, to celebrate our 10th anniversary we worked with Chef Andrea Harling to create a unique product. How unique? Well, we’ve been searching and we can’t find a product like this being created.
We are delighted to share our artisan product – Honey Floss! A celebration of our highly valued Alberta local honey found dotted across the province combined with local sugar beet sugar, grown and processed in southern Alberta.
This sweet little throwback treat is a unique product with a fun new twist.
Want to learn how to make it for yourself? We have recipes and directions right here.
Our accomplishments and the future of Open Farm Days.
A note from Tim Carson, CEO of Alberta Association of Agricultural Societies.
Alberta’s Open Farm Days is in its 10th year. From its humble beginnings as a one day event that showcased agriculture’s diverse impact to our province, Open Farm Days continues to evolve and grow. This unique program blends tourism and agriculture to provide the consumer with an experience like no other. An opportunity to understand not only where our food comes from, but also the care and stewardship that Alberta’s producers take to ensure the quality and sustainability of their products. Alberta’s agriculture fuels an industry that creates amazing local food and drink as well as feeds the world. Through the lens of rural tourism Open Farm Days provides a conduit for Albertans to experience small communities, agri-tourism businesses, and experience a broader perspective of our great province. All of which drives our economy. Travellers invest their time and treasure and in return receive knowledge and memories that last. Today’s Open Farm Days program continues to provide tremendous consumer value and now includes assisting in building the capacity of the hosts themselves. Through information, education and support, our hosts can improve and expand their operations providing a more robust consumer experience and improving revenue.
The Alberta Association of Agricultural Societies is extremely proud of the Alberta Open Farm Days program and very grateful to all our partners. 2022 Open Farm Days is presented by Servus Credit Union, in partnership with the Alberta Government, Travel Alberta, Peavey Mart, Fortis and UFA. Be part of the hive of activity on August 13, 14.
Tell us your memories
We’re collecting memories, funny, heartfelt or nostalgic from people that have attended Open Farm Days events in the past.