One of our newsroom's favourite summertime events to cover is coming back this weekend.
Alberta Open Farm Days is celebrating its 10-year milestone this weekend, providing Airdrie residents the perfect opportunity to learn a little bit about the oft-under-appreciated agriculture sector in Alberta.
We write a preview article about Open Farm Days every August to remind readers of the event, and then we recap the event with a photo gallery afterwards. As reporters for an admittedly urban-focused publication, the opportunity to get out of the office, escape city limits, and visit a local-area farm or two is a task we relish.
As usual, there is a selection of farms, homesteads, and ranches in the vicinity opening their gates to the public this weekend. These farms – quite often family-run operations – help form the backbone of Alberta's food production industry.
In modern society, there's been a trend for consumers to become more and more detached from the agriculture sector. People know the food found in their grocery stores got there from somewhere, but they don't give a lot of thought to how it got there, or who put in the work to make it so. It would behoove every city slicker to tour one or two farms to learn a little more about how hard farmers work and how food gets from the ground to ultimately end up in their fridge or pantry.
It's also a trend in modern society that farm numbers have been in decline for many years. According to the BBC, the percentage of people who work in agriculture worldwide has declined to 26 per cent in 2020 from 44 per cent in 1991, and the average age has risen, as many young people migrate to cities. It's clear many people simply aren't interested in farming anymore.
While touring a farm or two will hardly encourage someone to take up agriculture as a career, it's nonetheless an educational and enjoyable experience. We would encourage our readers to check out Open Farm Days this weekend to learn from one or two of our region's local producers.