Country mouse recruitment drive is on for Open Farm Days 2017

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While Alberta has long celebrated its status as a rat-free province, the recruitment drive is on for country mice.

The country mice collective of farmers, ranchers and ag-operators is being called on to act as hosts for this year’s Open Farm Days, which runs from Aug. 19-20. Together, they’ll help welcome and educate their city mice counterparts on everything rural Alberta has to offer.

In Aesop’s original fable, The Town Mouse and the Country Mouse, a proud town mouse visits his cousin in the country. In turn, the country mouse pays his cousin a visit in the city. Unfortunately, neither mouse really felt like the grass was greener and they returned to the comforts of their respective homes.

Open Farm Days, however, has been a rousing success in helping bridge the divide between city and country.

Now in its fifth year, Open Farm Days is a celebration of the country living lifestyle. The province’s farmers and ranchers are invited to showcase their operations by hosting farm-to-table culinary events and tours. The goal of the initiative is to help ag-operators recognize and expand their ag-tourism potential.

Authentic rural Alberta experiences for visitors could include:

  • Farm tours and demonstrations of what farmers do in their work day
  • Petting zoos or opportunities to see animals
  • Corn or hay bale maze
  • Meals made from local foods (culinary events)
  • Product tastings

New for 2017, farm-to-table culinary events and open houses will now be held throughout the entire weekend. This added flexibility means there will be even more opportunities to showcase and experience Alberta agriculture and country hospitality at its finest.

Last year’s event was a record-breaking instalment that included 92 host farms, 26 culinary events, more than 17,800 visits and $134,280 in on-farm sales.

With your support, Open Farm Days organizers are counting on an even bigger response this year!

If you know any country mice who simply must get involved, please let them know. Eligible applicants must operate a farm or ranch that produces a product or service or ag‑tourism experience; offer an agriculture-related experience versus simply selling products; and already have liability insurance in place.

The deadline for applications is May 31.

Learn more by emailing openfarmdays@gov.ab.ca or calling 780‑427‑6512 for more information. Farmers and ranchers can also register online at www.albertafarmdays.com.

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