By Jen Roberts
Kingston This Week
ONTARIO, Canada–Need something different to do this weekend? Want a chance to discover first hand what it means to be a farmer? Then grab your rubber boots and take your pick of any of the 38 different farms that are participating in the first annual Open Farms Tour Sunday, Sept.19.
Visitors young and old will have the chance to experience the sights and sounds of a farm and the different activities that make up the everyday life of an agricultural worker.
“We really want to encourage people from Kingston to visit farms in the area and to get to know the farmers,” says Kathie Groenewegen, a dairy farmer in Elginburg. “We want them to really see how much produce and food is available just minutes away. It does take a little bit more effort to buy locally, but it just makes so much sense. There are so many good things that come from it.”
Groenewegen and her husband Francis bought Earthrise Organic Dairy Farm, a third-generation dairy farm, from Kathie’s parents, Gerry and Lilianne Grooms, in 1989. Both Kathie and Francis grew up on a farm so carrying on in her parent’s footsteps came quite naturally and they have passed on their love of farming to their two children, 22-year-old Patrick and 20-year-old Olivia.
“We just like being on the land and being with animals,” says Groenewegen. “Now that we’re certified organic, it just makes everything seem more meaningful to us. How the crops grow, how the land is worked and how well the animals do on the organic production.”
Earthrise Organic Dairy Farm was certified organic in 2002 and since then the Groenewegens have tried to diversify their products, which range from organic milk to organic beef, chicken, turkey and pork.
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