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EDITORIAL: Reconnect with local agricultural

Cochrane is a town that takes pride in caring for one's neighbours and celebrating rural life in Alberta.

Cochrane is a town that takes pride in caring for one's neighbours and celebrating rural life in Alberta.

Our way of life was made possible by brave homesteaders who set out into the unknown and helped develop Cochrane into a thriving agricultural centre.

Through the years our food supply chain has remained unbroken and ranching, farming and producing remain a critical aspect in the Cochrane area— However, the agricultural sector faces one of the toughest summers in living memory.

Last Tuesday (Aug. 3) Rocky View County declared an agricultural emergency due to the summer of intense heat and little rain leaving crops barren and dry.

Some areas of the County are facing the driest summer in more than 50 years according to County records, and producers in the area are expecting to see up to a 50 per cent reduction in yield for canola, wheat and barley.

The agricultural disaster serves as a harbinger of things to come, and a reminder that there is a growing importance to take steps to preserve our food supply chain and do everything in our power to support local producers, farmers and ranchers.

One of the more inspiring groups to recently take root in the community is Cochrane and Area Food Connections. The organization has brought together a cross-section of unique local organizations bound together by the philosophy of increasing food security and decreasing food waste.

One of the partners in Cochrane Food Connections is the Cochrane Farmers’ Market.

“The Farmers’ Market is all about local food,” said Market manager Valerie McCracken. “Our mandate is to provide local food for our communities and provide a space for growers and producers to sell their food.”

COVID-19 highlighted the important role farmers’ markets play not only in the economy, but in food security and maintaining food chains in the province. The global health crisis showed the need to celebrate and showcase the components needed to create a thriving sustainable food system.

Farmers’ markets are an integral part of local food security and allow us to reconnect with those in the agricultural sector.

We are slowly becoming detached from where our food comes from, and the Market serves as one of the many ways to reconnect and learn about the local agricultural industry.

One of the more exciting agricultural events of the summer takes place this Saturday (Aug. 14) and Sunday (Aug. 15)— Alberta Open Farm Days.

Open Farms Day offers a unique opportunity for people to explore a farm and learn how essential products are produced in Alberta.

People have become increasingly disconnected from the agricultural experience in Alberta, and facilities participating in Open Farm Days can help people better understand and celebrate the rural way of life.

Open Farm Days is an inspiring opportunity to connect with local producers, ranchers and farmers in the Cochrane area and better understand where our food comes from.

It also highlights the agricultural experience, the adversity and the triumphs ranches and farms face year-round.

Take time this weekend to celebrate local food and reconnect with the people who help bring produce from the farm to the table.