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A Day At the Farm in Ladner

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The heat rising off the fields at Westham Island Herb Farm carries the rich smell of fertile soil amid the wafting fragrance of summer flowers. The resident donkey’s eyelids droop in the midday heat as a woman and her daughter pay him a visit. The goats scrabble around their enclosure foraging for hidden grasses.

Today may be just another day in the 100 year history of the Ellis family farm, but on Saturday, Sept. 10 it will be the venue for the 11th annual Day at the Farm event, presented by the Delta Farmland and Wildlife Trust.

“Ever since I started Westham Island Herb Farm I wanted to bring people right onto the farm in order to give them an understanding as to why agriculture is so important in our community,” says Sharon Ellis. “The thinking is that if they come on the farm, see the farm, maybe it’ll click a little easier.”

Day at the Farm is a bigger version of that concept, inviting people from throughout the Lower Mainland to see all forms of farm production, from fruit and veggies, to dairy and beef and so much more. It’s about educating people on the history of farming, teaching them about modern practices, and looking forward to new technologies.

“Many people don’t know just how many farm products are grown right here in our neighbourhood,” says Christine Terpsma, program manager at the Delta Farmland and Wildlife Trust. “It’s amazing to see a family harvest their own potatoes for the first time, or learn what types of blueberries are produced in Delta. People are surprised to hear how much local farmers contribute to wildlife conservation – Delta farmers plant specific crops to benefit soil sustainability and habitat for a variety of species.”

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Sharon says the event demonstrates how agriculture and wildlife conservation can work hand in hand.

The event also aims to give back to the community. Farm Credit Canada Staff will be on site to collect non-perishable donations at the event gates for the local food banks.

This year, visitors can expect all the wonderful activities of years past, such as haywagon farm tours, milking demonstrations, draft horse plowing and the B.C. Fresh Potato Dig. This year will also feature a Ducks Unlimited Canada nature movie loft, antique and modern farm equipment, local food trucks, kids activities and a Carter and Cash live show.

Sharon says Day at the Farm helps connect people to local food producers and reinforces the importance of local jobs and minimizing the number of “food miles” it takes for a product to arrive at your kitchen table.

“This is the best farmland in Canada out here and I’d much rather be eating the food I’m growing than having it shipped from halfway around the world.”

Day at the Farm goes down Sept. 10 from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. at Westham Island Herb Farm, 4690 Kirkland Road. Be sure to bring your best batch of scones using local ingredients for the scone baking contest. Visit deltafarmland.ca for more information.

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