Host farms are asked to follow guidelines set by the provincial government
By Diego Flammini
One of Alberta’s popular ag events is happening later this year.
Open Farm Days, which sees Alberta farmers open their gates to the public for a weekend of ag conversations and interactions, will take place Aug. 15 and 16 as originally scheduled.
The host farms will have to abide by Stage 2 outdoor event guidelines set by Alberta’s Chief Medical Officer of Health, Dr. Deena Hinshaw.
These measures include limiting attendance to 100 people including visitors, staff and volunteers, and having a response plan in place if a visitor shows signs of illness.
Some aspects of Open Farm Days won’t be available to the public this year as a result of these guidelines and other safety measures in place to prevent the spread of COVID-19.
“Anything where there would be close contact with other people or hard-to-sanitize (items), like wearing bee suits, won’t be available this year,” Nicola Doherty, marketing coordinator with the Alberta Association of Agricultural Societies (AAAS), told Farms.com. “It’s unfortunate because there are lots of fun activities on the farms, so we’re asking our host farms to get more creative about having educational activities while following guidelines.”
AAAS is keeping in contact with the tourism and agriculture ministries and Alberta Health Services to provide answers to questions from host farms and to monitor the province’s COVID-19 situation overall, Doherty said.
Devin Dreeshen, Alberta’s ag minister, is pleased to see Open Farm Days proceed.
Albertans’ commitment to listening to health officials is one of the reasons why events like these can be held, he said.
“Albertans have been successful in slowing the spread of COVID-19 and as a result, our province has expedited our relaunch strategy,” he told Farms.com in an emailed statement. “In recent weeks we announced that outdoor events will be able to host up to 100 people and I am glad to see that Open Farm Days is using this opportunity to connect Albertans with our agriculture sector.
While Albertans are excited to spend time outdoors, we must ensure that we continue to maintain social distancing measures at all events to keep Albertans safe and healthy.”
Farmers interested in participating in Open Farm Days have until June 30 to apply.
In 2019, more than 150 Alberta farms joined in the event. Since 2013, Open Farm Days has welcomed nearly 125,000 people and generated close to $900,000 through on-farm sales.