July 26, 2012

Fresh from the Field Riverdale farm event

Did you know 60% of Ontario's younger generation is unaware of where their food comes from?  As a reason, Farmers Feed Cities has taken initiative to educate people about farms.  My family and I were invited to Riverdale farm to learn about farm life, visit the farm animals, to play interactive games and to speak with farmers.
My children also enjoyed making mini pizzas with bagels using the fresh vegetables brought to the event by the vegetable farmer Jason from Carron farms.
My children love going to farms and I am glad they do, it gives us a chance to talk about animals, food and many things about the eco-system.  We got a thorough tour at Riverdale farm and learned many interesting things about farms and farm life from the guest farmers.
  • Stewart from Stonaleen farms is a pig farmer.  He gave us lots of information on pigs, their living conditions etc...  Pigs don't sweat so they find ways to keep cool by rolling on mud.  The pigs that are in barns like to be clean so there are sprinklers to keep them cool in the summer.  For religious reasons we don't consume or use any products from pigs :) nevertheless, it was interesting to learn about it.  
  • Jacob from Gray ridge egg farm told us many things about hens and eggs.  Did you know if we rub a brown egg gently with sandpaper it will become white.  There is no difference between white and brown eggs.  The colour of the egg the hen will lay can be determined by looking at its earlobe :) More information on the different types of eggs
  • Katelyn is a beef farmer from Vintage Herefords.  We learned from Katelyn that the cows eat soft dried grass and they sleep on the tough straws, occasionally munch on these tough straws, but it isn't there source of food. The most common beef in Canada is from the Angus cow.    
  • Dennis is a dairy farmer.  He talked about different types of cows.  Most cows that produce our dairy are Holstein cows.  Cows lactate only if they have given birth to a calf.
  • Jason from Carron farms is a vegetable farmer that grows onions, garlics, spinach, eggplants and many more vegetables.  We learned that onions are ready to be harvested when the tops wilt and doesn't stand tall.  He explained to us that baby carrots sold in the stores are actually mature carrots, which are machine cut.
98% of Canadian farms are run by families who have chosen this way of life.  They treat their farm and animals with care and love to preserve it for the future generations.  Farmer's use modern technology and traditional methods to do what is best for the animals and farms.
Here are some Agri-cate tips from Farmers Feed Cities:
Take a trip to a farm and allow your children to learn and observe.  Grow children's knowledge slowly and explain things over time as they see.  Play interactive games such as Dora's Magical Garden, Agri-Trekking across Ontario, Fact or fairy tale, Where's Agriculture and World Pizza.
Test your children's knowledge with fun quizzes from here

Click to make it big
While grocery shopping teach children to look for locally made products with stickers that says "Ontario" or "Canada".
Do check out this cool virtual tour that has a wealth of knowledge.
Here are some quick notes from this interesting pdf book The Real Dirt on Farming.
  • Human body is designed to eliminate low levels of chemical, but we cannot handle microbial contamination or "food poisoning."
  • All animals and harvest are traced so there is information available in case there is a food safety problem.  
  • In the US a product called rBST is used to produce more milk, this hormone is NOT used in Canada.
  • Milk is tested before it becomes available for consumers, if there is any type of problem the entire load is rejected.  Raw milk is illegal to sell or give away in Canada.
  • We as consumers should also be careful when handling our food to prevent diseases.  
  • Most farm animals in Canada stay inside because of the weather, temperature, to prevent diseases, to keep them safe from predators and to monitor their healthy diet.  
  • No chicken, turkey or egg-laying hens are fed hormones.  
  • Chickens and turkeys are fed "free choice" so they can help themselves with water or food anytime they want.  
  • 100 acres of soybeans can produce soy beverages for half a million people.
  • Don't forget farming isn't only for food but also for by products that we use everyday i.e. medicine, cleaning, shampoo, transport, corn based plastic, toys and many more.
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  1. Wait... chickens have earlobes? See now I have learned something today!
    What a great opportunity to be able to talk to all the different types of farmers. My girls would have talked their ears off! -- the farmers NOT the chickens. ;)

  2. That is a spot I have been before with my kids. My brother lives in Toronto. We visit occasionally. I love the educational elements here. What a great day.


  3. That is so neat! I'd love to take my kids there :)

  4. Great post! I just wrote a #FreshFromTheField post this week too! From a farmer's wife, I have to stress how important this is. Thanks for sharing!


    And 60% is crazy. Wow.

  6. I also love shopping at farmers markets, you get to meet the people that help bring food to your table!

  7. Great pictures. Tons of things that I didn't know. Especially about sandpaper and brown eggs (I still like them better).

    Looks like you had a lot of fun. Thanks for sharing.

    Besos, Sarah
    Zookeeper at Journeys of The Zoo

  8. I have been wanting to take my kids to Riverdale Farm for a long time.

  9. In the summertime Farmers Markets are the best place to shop and I always bring the kids.

  10. Go Riverdale Farm! I've had a chance to talk to some of the vendors during the Annual Pancake Breakfast this summer where we were shooting a set on the farm. I am definitely buying their produce whenever I get a chance. Farmers feed cities, that's right!


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