Saskatchewan welcomes inaugural Open Farm Days in August

Open Farm Days photo. Attendees listen to a presentation at a farm in Saskatchewan. Farm and Food Care Saskatchewan hopes to see more of these conversations as part of Open Farm Days in August.

Saskatchewan residents looking for an immersive farm education experience can look forward to a new event launching this summer.

The inaugural Saskatchewan Open Farm Days is scheduled for Aug. 10-11. The event gives residents a chance to visit farms across the province for a unique blend of educational, culinary, and hands-on agricultural experience.

“This is something that’s been on the tips of everyone’s tongues for so long,” Open Farm Days coordinator Ashley Stone said. “(It’s) finding that connection from agriculture to the consumer and understanding ag in our province. Everyone we’ve spoken to in our province is very excited about creating an event like this, but also (about) finding ways to have really good conversations about food.”

Open Farm Days allows the public to visit participating farms during the two-day period to learn about how those farms operate. The list of activities depends on what each farm produces.

Stone said the goal is to help residents understand how food is produced in Saskatchewan, and highlight the connection between their work and what people purchase at the grocery store.

“(I) think it’s going to be very inspiring for people to see agriculture in our province because it is so ahead of the game when it comes to sustainability practices, (and) when we come to ethical farming,” Stone explained. “There are some really positive things and stories that will come out of this.”

Province-wide Open Farm Days are new to Saskatchewan, but other provinces have held them for years.

When organizing the event, Stone looked to Open Farm Days in Ontario, Alberta, and Atlantic Canada for inspiration. She said the Alberta Farm Days organizers were especially helpful, which helped smooth out the organizing process in Saskatchewan.

Ideally, Stone hopes to have 30-50 farms participate in the event, and as many residents as possible.

“Alberta has quite a few. Upwards of around 3,000 to 5,000 participate across their province. If we could get half of that, I think for our inaugural year, I think that would be fantastic,” she said.

Although education is a big part of it, so is tourism. Stone came to the project with a tourism background, and hopes the event will give residents a unique, hands-on experience.

“We do a lot of conversations and a lot of work around understanding food with different dieticians and different networks that way, but we needed something that really kind of drove that boots on the ground kind of experience,” she said.

Open Farms Day plans to create an itinerary function in June so residents can start planning their trips. Farms and agri-businesses who want to participate can register at Registration closes on May 31.

Open Farm Days is a partnership between Farm and Food Care Saskatchewan, the Ministry of Agriculture, and Tourism Saskatchewan.

@kerr_jas •