This week marks Alberta Local Food Week, which will be capped off with Open Farm Days this weekend.

It’s a chance for Albertans to get a close-up look at where their food comes from, as well as the people who make it all possible.

Minister of Agriculture and Irrigation and Highwood MLA RJ Sigurdson highlighted the importance of the occasion in a public statement.

“Alberta has a robust and diverse agri-food sector. When we buy local food, we are directly supporting other Alberta families and there’s a strong ripple effect that extends beyond individual farmers and into our communities… I encourage everyone to enjoy some delicious regional cuisine this week and show some love to the producers and processors in your part of the province. Happy Local Food Week!” 

Alberta Open Farm Days runs on August 19 and 20 and involves Alberta farms and producers opening their operations to allow visitors and host activities.

The event is now in its 11th year, and CEO of the Alberta Association of Agricultural Societies, Tim Carson, says it’s only grown more relevant as more people take an interest in knowing where their food comes from.

“The number of people going out and taking the time to visit and learn from producers themselves is a wonderful testament to the agriculture industry here. It also goes to show that as people are taking more interest in where their food comes from, they’re learning about regional palettes and about all the diversity that agriculture here in Alberta has.”

This year, 130 Alberta farms are participating, 50 of them for the first time.

The selection includes ranches, wineries, ag societies, flower farms, and apiaries.

This year’s theme is The Year of the Bison.

“We have over 470 bison ranches. That actually makes up nearly 50 per cent of the Canadian bison ranch land. It’s a keystone animal for our country and Alberta and getting the opportunity of getting to see one of these majestic animals up close is really quite an experience. We even have some bison ranches that have white bison, which is a really unique animal to see,” says Carson.

While the event allows Alberta’s producers to display their craft and product, it also gives them a way to try their hand at agritourism, a rapidly growing industry in the province.

The Alberta Open Farm Days website has a list of host farms and a mapping tool for those interested in planning a trip this weekend.

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