Record numbers of participants were reported in all three provinces; 11,000 in PEI; 13,000 in New Brunswick and a whopping 20,000 (and still counting) in Nova Scotia.
With 125 farms participating in the 11th annual event, there was definitely something for everyone.
“We made a day of it,” said Rob Fischer of Windsor, NS. “We’ve already picked a few bags of apples, met a few farm animals and we’re now on our way to a vineyard to buy a bottle of wine.”
Children enjoyed pony rides, petting-corals and a wide variety of typical and not so typical farm animals during their fun-filled family outing.
“We have wild boar, elk, yak, and emu,” said Nicole Oulton of W.G.Oulton & Sons Ltd. family farm in Hants County, NS. “ It’s amazing how many people thought the emus were ostriches or that the yaks were bison. It was a very educational experience for everyone.”
All three provinces had extensive media coverage leading up to the event that was highly promoted through radio, print and social media. A remote broadcast from the Live At Five Evening News crew from several farms in Nova Scotia Sept. 14 also helped boost attendance. By the time Open Farm Day rolled around, NS’s Meet Your Farmer Facebook page had over 1,500 “likes” and 541 “talk abouts”.
Farmers are reporting positive feedback from everyone who participated. The biggest concern raised was that there simply wasn’t enough time in the day to get everywhere they wanted to go. A view echoed in the comments section on one feedback postcard.
“If this was spread out over the month of September, we would have made it a point to spend our weekends touring around Nova Scotia visiting farms.”
Open Farm Day is a collaborative effort supported by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada, Sobeys’ Inc., provincial governments and Maritime agriculture awareness committees.