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3rd Annual Open Farm Day an Opportunity to Learn More About Farm Life


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Open Farm Day, September 16, 2012

Open Farm Day is a day set aside for farmers and consumers to connect with each other. The event allows participating farmers to showcase their products, services or attractions.

Open Farm Day educates Manitobans about local food, farms and the agriculture industry. Encouraging urban consumers to travel to these farms will contribute to the vitality of rural areas and increase the awareness of the agritourism industry

Requirements of participation
  1.  That you operate a farm which produces a product, service or agritourism experience.
  2. That a visit to your farm will provide an educational experience to the public.
  3. That you not charge admission to visit the farm on Open Farm Day (specific activities offered on your farm, however, may have an admission, i.e. entry to a corn maze, zipline or other activity).
Responsibilities

Safety: Plan the day to provide a safe and enjoyable visit for the public making reasonable efforts to minimize physical and biological hazards on your farm. Providing food samples or sale of food products to the public requires specific food safety requirements to be followed to do this safely. If you allow access to animals on your farm, you will need to take safety measures as well as to ensure that hand washing is available and encouraged.

Insurance: For legal purposes, ensure you are protected by liability insurance of $1 million for the public to visit your farm for this event. Check with your insurance company to determine your policy coverage.

Participation form: due April 30, 2012

This form includes the information specific to your farm which is necessary for the map brochure and website. The submission deadline is April 30 to allow for production and printing of the map brochure for release June 4th.

Preparation: Plan and be prepared for dealing with the possibility of large numbers of visitors by having extra help available for the day. Last year’s attendance at farms varied from less than 10 to over 1000 depending on the farm location.

Support from MAFRI

Resource materials: Safety guidelines, planning recommendations for the day as well as background material for help in handling questions from the public on agricultural issues.

Promotional materials: Open Farm Day map brochures, host farm gate signs, posters, web site www.openfarmday.ca is under construction and will be live by mid-June; assistance with YouTube video clip.

What to offer at the farm

The main objective is to provide the public an opportunity to visit and learn about your farm. Visitors will be interested in the daily operations of your farm – what is everyday to you will be intriguing to them! Plan an educational experience or activity. Your description of what visitors can expect will be included on the website and map.

The top activities visitors are looking for include:

  • Visiting with farmers
  • Seeing animals
  • Demonstrations and tours
  • Tasting and buying local foods

Open Hours: there are no set requirements for open hours – choose what works best for your operation, i.e. 10 a.m. – 5:00 p.m. Please be sure to note these on the participation form.

Directions to the farm: Please write these carefully; use of road numbers, names, accurate kilometers as well as GPS coordinates will avoid having visitors go astray.

Rewards

Preparing your farm for Open Farm Day will require an investment of time on your part. For farms with farm gate sales, direct marketing or agritourism experiences, the benefit of the event is clear. The promotional payback for time invested should be considerable. You are encouraged to market your farm and Open Farm Day in your community as well as through your website, mailing lists and customers.

For farms which do not sell products directly the payback is less tangible, but still evident. As non-farm rural populations grow, your relationship with neighbours may become more complex. This event will help build connections between farms and non-farm populations. This is an opportunity to be an ambassador for the agriculture industry.

 Register today – Open Farm Day registration form 2012