The Communicating Agriculture to Municipal Council – Community of Practice webinar held on December 6th highlighted ways to educate the public and elected officials about the important role agriculture plays in robust economies.
One way to inform people about the importance of agriculture is to offer a farm and food tour in the community. Typically these tours provide an opportunity for participants get to know what issues the local agriculture sector is facing. They also provide hands-on experience for those who are visiting a farm for the first time.
Keep reading for more tips from the Region of Halton and the County of Middlesex on ensuring your farm and food tour is a success:
- Create an organizing committee.
- Decide on the goal of the tour; what does the committee hope will happen as a result. Align the invitation list with the goal.
- Create a theme that will make people want to attend. Themes can be about common misconceptions of farms or food, or what you think people want to know, for example a theme about innovation or young farmers might be a great place to start.
- Consider inviting local politicians, key decision makers and agriculture organizations. If inviting media make sure farm hosts and all participants know they are there.
- Tours can be any size.
- Timing is important and tours can start at noon and end after a dinner, or may just have stops and a lunch. Each stop takes approximately one hour so plan accordingly.
- A coach bus is important and encourage participants to take the tour bus rather than drive their own vehicles.
- Having a tour guide speaking on the bus is a great way to point out other facts and information along the way.
- Have food samples available at each stop. Food samples help to get people talking about what they are tasting.
- If dinner is included; use food from the farms toured, include local décor, for example flowers, and have a keynote speaker.
- Having an all-panel discussion at a stop can be a great way to add value to your tour.
- Most importantly, remember to have fun. A farm and food tour is about learning and appreciating farming in the community and the benefits of local!
To listen to the full recording of the presentation visit: https://global.gotomeeting.com/public/recording-player.html?utm_source=recordingReadyNotification&utm_medium=email&s=3e5fe27ec485259153f8570cfd9ada0851f75ee61fe22572df4a70baf551d8b5
The Agriculture Economic Development and Planning Community of Practice is a joint initiative between the Ontario Federation of Agriculture (OFA) and the Ontario Ministry of Agriculture, Food and Rural Affairs (OMAFRA). For more information on the Agriculture Economic Development and Planning Community of Practice sessions, as well as for access to previous presentations, click here.