The idea was born — fittingly enough — around a kitchen table.
And seven years on, the popularity of Breakfast on the Dairy Farm just keeps on growing.
The first edition of the event, an idea hatched by some members of East Olds Dairy Farmers group during a kitchen conversation in 2012, attracted 348 people. Last year, 2,500 breakfasts were served at three dairy farms (near Fort MacLeod, Olds, and Leduc), bringing the total number of attendees to about 6,000 people, said Karlee Conway, Alberta Milk’s communications specialist.
“These events are all farmer run — Alberta Milk helps them, but the core of each event is local dairy farmers spending their free time trying to do more to help share their story,” said Conway. “By having people come out and have the cows lick their fingers, ask the farmers questions, and experience a dairy farm, farmers hope to gain the trust of consumers — one serving of breakfast at a time.”
Aside from breakfast, each event has different things for visitors to do or see. They include things such as barn tours, kids’ activities (such as face painting), and demonstrations (such as having nutritionists or experts from the University of Calgary Vet School discuss what cows eat).
This year, there will again be three Breakfast on the Dairy Farm events:
- On June 8 (from 8 a.m. to 1 p.m.) at Kingslake Colony southeast of Lethbridge.
- On June 22 (from 8 a.m. to noon) at VandenBroek Dairy, east of Olds.
- On July 6 (from 8 a.m. to noon) at New Mars Dairy, southwest of Leduc.
The events are free of charge. For details and directions, go to www.albertamilk.com or call 1-877-361-1231.
A year ago, the East Olds Dairy Farmers group received an Award of Distinction for Communication from the Alberta Farm Animal Care for its hit idea.
“This event created a foundation to building trust with consumers,” Alberta Milk wrote in its nomination letter for the group. “This social licence needs to be earned and the East Olds Dairy group’s approach has executed it impeccably through authentic conversations, experiences, and answering questions honestly and factually to ensure that the integrity of dairy farmers and farming in general remains intact.”