ELORA – Grand River Raceway saw more animals than usual Saturday as Farm & Food Care Ontario took over with Breakfast from the Farm.
The annual event provides guests with breakfast from local farmers, while giving them the chance to get familiar with the industry – something most people are not connected with these days.
“Less than two per cent of the population has an on-farm job,” said communications manager Amber Anderson. “We know it’s important to let people know where their food comes from.”
Bonnie de Haan, chair of the FFCO board, said people often drive by and see “the nice buildings and landscape, but they don’t actually see what happens inside the barn.”
Then if they have questions, they tend to turn to the internet, where she said they often find misleading information.
President of the Fergus Agricultural Society, Jenny Craig, agreed.
“Sources aren’t always truthful, they can sometimes be slanted. Farmers aren’t there to impact the land in a negative way. So a lot of their actions are meant to reinforce or help or prepare for the next crop. They’re always thinking about the longevity of their job,” Craig said.
But events like this open up the conversation, give people a chance to ask their burning questions and get familiar with the industry and those in it – including their animals.
“The volunteer farmers, they’re the ones answering the questions, telling their story of what actually happens on their farm. That was what drove this whole idea,” said de Haan.
Here, the public are able to learn things like how goats are milked, why apples need to be sprayed, how eggs are graded, and how tall a Percheron horse is (up to 6’4”).
“And they see how much (livestock) owners care for them,” de Haan said.
The event used to be held on a farm, but they had to change their approach when the pandemic hit. For the last two years, they had drive-thru events; this year, they were able to have people come in-person and walk around.
They do several each year in different areas of the province. The next one will be in Milton on Oct. 8.