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Durham Agricultural Advisory Committee (DAAC)

2014 Farm Tour

On September 11, 2014, the Durham Agricultural Advisory Committee (DAAC) hosted its 12th annual farm tour in the Municipality of Clarington at "Gallery on the Farm".

The theme for this year's tour was "The Evolution of Gallery on the Farm". The event began with a luncheon featuring local food including organic beef from the host farm. Landowner Eric Bowman delivered the keynote address to provide a first-hand glimpse into the evolution of his family's property. Four generations of Bowmans have been land stewards in Enniskillen, dating back to 1929. Eric is also a painter who sells his art in the on-farm store (La Ferme Bow-tique) with the other local artists who co-op with the Bowmans.

Four demonstration areas were set up across the Bowman's property, including:

  • Farm Safety – Representatives from Durham Farm & Rural Family Resources provided information about some of the challenges farmers encounter, for instance: long work days, lack of mandatory safety training, unavailability of nearby/flexible childcare and working with farm equipment. At this station, to demonstrate how quickly and easily a fatal accident can happen, a straw dummy was shredded by a piece of farm machinery.
  • Pollinators and Honeybees – A pollination biologist and local beekeeper provided information about the importance of native pollinators for agriculture production and tips for managing and harvesting honey. Participants also gained an appreciation for the damaging impacts of certain pesticides on bees.
  • Organic Farming – Information was provided about the challenges associated with being a certified organic operation. He also spoke about: his pasture management techniques to ensure maximum utilization; the different cow breeds on the farm; and the importance of educating the public about the different definitions of "organic". Participants were able to observe beef cows grazing adjacent to this station.
  • Agri-Tourism – In 2005, the Bowman's initially opened their onsite store to sell their organic beef. Since then, they've partnered with local producers to expand their selection to include soap, jewellery, cheese, cider and more. Eric's wife Jenny talked about: the success of the store; the importance of building relationships with customers and suppliers; as well as their future plans to connect with other local tourism attractions in Durham.

Participants in this year's tour included representatives from various levels of government, the educational sector and public agencies. Attendees had the opportunity to meet and hear from agricultural leaders, ask questions, and learn firsthand about issues and trends affecting Durham's vital agricultural industry. Approximately 100 people took part in the event.

A group of cows