Marsha Trinder lives rather far from an urban centre. Her cow/calf operation and horse breeding and training facility near Russel, Man., is not exactly a quick drive from the nearest city, and yet, for the third year in a row she’s opened her farm up to anyone who would like to come visit on Open Farm Day. “Last year we had no one,” she says. “I was ready to never do it again. But this year, we had 15 people, and for how far out of the way we are, that’s pretty great.”
Vistor’s to Trinder’s TW Ranch could expect to visit with and pet a sweet little foal, as well as watch a demonstration of natural horsemanship. Kids were offered short horseback rides, and visitors were thrilled to watch horses climb tires and back up at the wave of a finger.
When asked why she participates in Open Farm Day, Trinder says, “it’s a really great opportunity for those that no very little about farming or agriculture to experience what a farmer does in a day, to learn about where their food comes from. It’s a great way for people from the city to see what it means to be a farmer as a job,” Trinder says.
There are other elements to Open Farm Day as well, as Cedric MacLeod, who farms and operates Local Valley Beef with his wife Jennie, points out. “It’s a customer appreciation day, there’s no doubt,” he says. The Fredericton, New Brunswick-area farm hosted close to 150 people, many of them their own customers who buy beef direct from the farm. “It’s a day that we’ve put aside to visit with our customers, tour them around and show them where their food comes from. We had one couple come out who wanted to see for themselves what pasture-raised cattle really looked like.'”
Beyond that, MacLeod says many of their visitors were also farmers interested in the solar watering system he recently set up on the farm. “We took last year off from Open Farm Day to go and visit other farms; it’s a great way to share production ideas, re-connect and visit with friends. There’s a large social component to it, too.”