They came. They ate. They met cows and calves, pigs, hens and chicks. They checked out tractors and milk trucks, met farmers, veterinarians and nutritionists and, throughout the day, learned a little bit more about farming in Canada.
Last Saturday, 2,000 visitors dropped by Heritage Hill Farms, near New Dundee, in Waterloo Region, Ontario for Ontario’s first Breakfast on the Farm (BOTF). It’s an initiative copied from colleagues at Michigan State University Extension who hosted the first BOTF event in 2009. Since then, more than 40,500 children and adults have attended Breakfast on the Farm events throughout Michigan to learn about where their food comes from.
Ontario’s first event, organized by Farm & Food Care Ontario, and presented in partnership with Egg Farmers of Ontario and Foodland Ontario, was an overwhelming success. Also attended by the Premier of Ontario, Kathleen Wynne, and several of her Queen’s Park colleagues, the day offered visitors the chance to see what happens on a working dairy farm. The Johnston and Doré family, whose ancestors have been farming in Ontario for seven generations, provided complete access to their farm with visitors wandering through their barns, milking parlour, milk house and more.
The day started with a complimentary Taste of Ontario breakfast featuring donated eggs and sausage, blueberry pancakes with maple syrup, honey, milk and apple cider – all produced by Ontario farmers. Exhibits from many farm organizations gave visitors a chance to meet farmers and ag-vocates able to answer questions on many other types of farm animals and crops – from pigs, veal, sheep, hens and eggs, grains, apples and more.
Thanks goes to a passionate and hard-working organizing committee whose vision was turned into a reality; to 130 ag-proud volunteers who donated their time to help run the event and to all of the national, provincial and regional organizations and businesses whose support made this event such a success. Sponsors and partners included: • Agriculture & Agri-Food Canada • Agriculture More Than Ever • B-W Feed & Seed • Cassie Maple Products • Conestoga Meat Packers • Dairy Farmers of Ontario • DuPont Pioneer • Einwechter Ltd. • Grain Farmers of Ontario • Gay Lea Foods Co-operative Ltd. • Gray Ridge Egg Farms • GROWMARK, Inc. and FS Co-operatives • James Dale Transport • Jantzi Electric Inc. • J-Mar Meats • McNabb Family • Ontario Apple Growers • Ontario Beekeepers Association • Ontario Fruit & Vegetable Growers Association • Ontario Pork • Ontario Sheep Marketing Agency • Ontario Veal Association • Oxford County Federation of Agriculture • P & H Milling Group • pickOntario • Plattsville Grist Mill/Embro Feed & Supply • Stratford Farm Equipment • Stonaleen Farms • Tavistock Veterinarians • Thomas Carberry Insurance Ltd. • Turkey Farmers of Ontario • Wilmot Orchards
Links to photo albums from the day can be found at www.farmfoodcare.org/about-us/breakfast-on-the-farm