Atlantic Canada’s first virtual farm day is a success
By Fruit and Vegetable
More than 21,000 viewers and 80 farms took part in the first-ever virtual Atlantic Open Farm Day.
By Fruit and Vegetable
More than 21,000 viewers took part in the first-ever virtual Atlantic Open Farm Day on Sunday, Sept. 20, 2020. This year marked the 20th anniversary Open Farm Day in Atlantic Canada to which farmers and members of the public celebrated by watching YouTube videos and Facebook Live videos produced by the farmers themselves.
Due to current circumstances with COVID-19, farm videos were the safest way for agricultural producers to showcase their operation and for the public to get a better understanding of how their food is produced. A total of 80 farms participated in this important virtual event.
“I am extremely pleased with Open Farm Day 2020. Producers really embraced the challenge of providing online content, and the results were spectacular. The number and quality of both videos and Facebook lives gave the public ‘backstage access’ to a great diversity of farm families and to the work that they do to produce food and fibre for consumers. I look forward to this content remaining online for future learning opportunities and I thank NB families for their understanding of the agricultural communities need to make the socially responsible choice for a virtual open farm day this year,” said Lisa Ashworth, president of the Agricultural Alliance of New Brunswick.
This year’s event was organized in collaboration with all four Atlantic Province’s, including Prince Edward Island’s Agriculture Sector Council, Nova Scotia’s Federation of Agriculture, Newfoundland’s Federation of Agriculture and the Agricultural Alliance of New Brunswick.
The goal for the event is to connect the public with their local farmers and to showcase the wide range of exceptional farm products across Atlantic Canada. This year’s participants included beef, haskap, alpaca, dairy, various produce growers, and many more. Due to the virtual nature of the event, a few new farms were able to participate such as honey farms, as well as chicken and egg farms. Biosecurity protocols would normally limit the public’s interaction with these type of farms, but the accessibility of an event online made for a more diverse group of participants.
This year’s participants included beef, haskap, alpaca, dairy, various produce growers, and many more. Due to the virtual nature of the event, a few new farms were able to participate such as honey farms, as well as chicken and egg farms.
Viewers were able to visit many more farms virtually this year. They were able to participate in online discussions about the local food industry and understand the importance of buying local and supporting the local economy.
“Having to condense what we would normally do over the course of an afternoon into a 30-minute Facebook Live event encouraged us to focus very clearly on what we do, how we do it and how to describe it! While we do look forward to once again hosting the public face-to-face at our farm, I believe that we have uncovered an opportunity for the NB agriculture industry to continue to engage the general public using virtual means. This effort will serve as a cost effective way to raise awareness of the importance of the NB ag sector to the economy as a whole and continue to build public trust between growers and consumers,” explained Cedric McLeod with Local Valley Beef.
“We were excited to participate in this year 2020 Virtual Open Farm Day,” said Guylaine Gauvin with Crooked River Farm. “People truly appreciated the fact that we showcased in a five-minute video, all the work done in planting our Haskap Orchard which took years in planning. With this format, everyone could see so many more farms in Atlantic Canada. We got excellent feedback and encouragements through social media from people now looking forward to visiting our farm. People, more than ever, want to know where their food comes from. This was a great event to promote food provenance and to support our local farmers!”
Open Farm Day was a highly mediatized event, utilizing primarily digital advertising such as Facebook and website banners, as well as radio ads. The public was able to locate the participating farm videos on a joint Atlantic Open Farm Day Map that was hosted on each agricultural organization‘s website and on the joint Atlantic Virtual Open Farm Day Facebook Event Page. 111,000 people were reached on the Facebook Event Page.
The event was made possible with the support of the Provincial government and by Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada.