Winnipeg Free Press - PRINT EDITION

Open Farm Day lets city kids learn, explore

'If you don't see it, you don't understand it'

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Identical twin princess sisters Cassie (left) and Sierra Reid have fun on the hay bales at Aurora Farm Sunday. The farm opened its barn gates to the public, and offered many demonstrations, including goat-milking. Aurora Farm was one of many farms that participated in the Provincial Open Farm Day Sunday

DAVID LIPNOWSKI / WINNIPEG FREE PRESS Enlarge Image

Identical twin princess sisters Cassie (left) and Sierra Reid have fun on the hay bales at Aurora Farm Sunday. The farm opened its barn gates to the public, and offered many demonstrations, including goat-milking. Aurora Farm was one of many farms that participated in the Provincial Open Farm Day Sunday Photo Store

Connecting city kids with where their food comes from is part of the reason for the province's Open Farm Day.

And sometimes that farm experience means you can watch a horse urinate right in front of you.

That's what happened during three-year-old Emily Saydak's first visit to a farm -- the Aurora Farm -- on the south end of Winnipeg on Sunday.

While holding some straw to feed a horse, one of the horses at the farm suddenly decided to relieve itself in front of her.

"Eww," Emily's mother, Megan, said to her daughter as the child stared while clutching her dad, Christian's, leg.

"You don't normally get the opportunity to see this," Megan said, smiling as the horse walked off.

"You can go to the zoo, but that's not real life. We try to explain where food comes from, but if you don't see it, you don't understand it."

This year, the fourth year of Open Farm Day, more than 60 farms participated across the province.

Last year, more than 4,600 visitors visited 51 farms.

"The success of this event year over year shows the pride that Manitoba farmers take in their work and the role they play in our rural communities and the agricultural industry," Agriculture, Food and Rural Initiatives Minister Ron Kostyshyn said in a statement last week.

"With many things to do and types of farms to visit, there is truly something for everyone to learn and explore on Open Farm Day."

Louise May, Aurora's owner, said it's a wonderful way for children to learn about farm life.

"The kids have a real image of different farm animals," May said.

"What does a tractor look like? What does a hay bale look like? We hope people learn where food comes from.

"It's to make the education experiential."

The farm, which is open to the public from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. every Sunday throughout the year, has alpacas, goats, horses, rabbits and cattle. May also sells homemade lip balms made from honey, soap she makes from milk supplied by her goats and wool she shears from the alpacas.

Sandra Beaudin, with her daughters, seven-year-old Taylor and three-year-old Jordyn, said she thought it was a great event to take her family to.

"This farm is close to the city, too," she said.

"Our older one knows where food comes from, but I thought it would be a great way to learn more about agriculture. This is a nice hands-on experience."

Both Taylor and Jordyn said the best thing about the farm was seeing the horses -- but playing on the farm's giant hay bales was up there, too.

kevin.rollason@freepress.mb.ca

Republished from the Winnipeg Free Press print edition September 16, 2013 A4

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