Open Farm Days Grows Ag-tourism - Gateway Gazette

Open Farm Days Grows Ag-tourism

By Contributor

Feb 15

Farmers are encouraged to participate in this year’s ag-tourism showcase to help increase their sales.

Becoming an Open Farm Days host is a great way for farmers, ranchers and ag-tourism operators to meet new customers and grow their businesses.

Applications are open for farms and ranches to host visitors during this year’s Open Farm Days, Aug. 17-18, 2019. Last year, a record number of participating farms, ranches and visitors set a new high for on-farm sales.

“We hope even more farms and ranches get involved in this year’s Open Farm Days. 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.”

~Ricardo Miranda, Minister of Culture and Tourism

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.

“Open Farm Days provides a unique opportunity to highlight agriculture’s importance and vitality as a core sector in the province. Alberta has some of the best food producers and processors in the world. I am proud that we are strengthening our support for the local food sector which continues to grow. It’s important for Albertans to connect with the hard-working farmers who are feeding their families and communities.”

~Oneil Carlier, Minister of Agriculture and Forestry

Participating hosts can access product development supports such as business coaching, industry learning opportunities and regional networks. The deadline for host applications is May 31.

Open Farm Days 2018 – By the numbers

2017
2018
% Growth
Farm participation 101 117 +16 per cent
Visits 20,129 23,543 +17 per cent
Sales $146,121 $189,393 +30 per cent

The overall year-over-year growth of Open Farm Days highlights ag-tourism’s continued potential to diversify the economy and create jobs. The weekend’s selection of experiences also helps showcase the growing number of opportunities available to rural and culinary tourism entrepreneurs.

“We are very excited about the 2019 Alberta Open Farm Days. Farmers and ag-tourism operators tell the story of agriculture in our province, produce some of the world’s best food and create unique Alberta ag-tourism experiences. Becoming a host is a great way to grow your business.”

Tim Carson, CEO, Alberta Association of Agricultural Societies

“Alberta Open Farms Days was an awesome experience and a major boost for our farm. By offering fun and interactive education about bees and beekeeping, we promoted our business and products to more than 800 people. The event is a great way to share your passion for agriculture and ag-tourism.”

Richard Ozero, president, Good Morning Honey

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.

Quick facts

  • 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 farmer’s market (56 per cent) and farm retail purchasing (40 per cent).*

(*2018 Survey of Albertans, Alberta Culture and Tourism)

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