Press Releases

FarmFood360° initiative: Farm & Food Care adds five additional food and farm virtual tours

Dec-15-2017

(Guelph, ON) December 14, 2017 - Canadians looking for the real story about their food can now visit five additional farms and food processing facilities in virtual reality through www.FarmFood360°.ca.

Using 360 cameras and virtual reality technology, the FarmFood360° website gives Canadians the chance to tour real, working farms and food processing plants, all without putting on workboots or biosecurity clothing. It's the latest version of the highly successful Virtual Farm Tours initiative, which was first launched by Farm & Food Care in 2007.

Farm & Food Care teams in both Ontario and Saskatchewan partnered with Gray Ridge Eggs, CropLife Canada, Ontario Sheep Farmers and the Canadian Mink Breeders Association to publish new virtual tours of a sheep farm, an enriched housing egg farm, an egg processing facility, a western Canadian grain farm and a mink ranch. Visitors can access these tours on tablets and desktop computers, as well as through mobile phones and VR (Virtual Reality) viewers. Interviews with the farmers and plant employees have also been added.

"We know from experience that bringing Canadians to the farm is a highly effective way to connect people with their food and those who produce it. The same certainly goes for food processors. But unfortunately, many Canadians never have the chance to visit either a farm or a food processing facility. Utilizing this new camera technology helps us take this tried-and-true outreach method to a much wider audience," says Kelly Daynard, Executive Director of Farm & Food Care Ontario. The website now gets almost a million visitors a year, enabling many more Canadians to visit farms from the comfort of their own home.

These new additions - as well as three dairy farm and food processing tours published earlier in 2017 - were launched as part of an interactive exhibit at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair. More tours will be filmed and added to the FarmFood360° library in 2018.

"Fresh eggs are a staple in the Canadian diet," says Scott Brookshaw, executive vice president of Gray Ridge Egg Farms "There's also a lot of people and passion behind those eggs, and the FarmFood360° initiative is a great way to show the public how an egg gets from the farm to their table." Gray Ridge sponsored tours of an egg farm using an enriched housing system which is now live on the site as well as an egg processing facility that will be live before the end of the year.

Catherine Moores, president of the Canadian Mink Breeders Association (CBMA) said that the CBMA was pleased to work with Farm & Food Care to give consumers the chance to go behind the scenes and see what happens on a Canadian family mink ranch. Said Moores, "The fur sector has a great story to tell when it comes to animal welfare standards, environmental sustainability and diversity. The FarmFood360° initiative helps dispel misconceptions, gives insight into how our mink are raised, and highlight the Canadian families running those ranches."

"So much of our country, and so many of our farmers, grow grain. Filming a tour of a Saskatchewan farm that grows traditional crops like canola and wheat showcases the technology and innovation that farmers use every day on their farms,  says Nadine Sisk, vice-president of communications and member services for CropLife Canada. She added, "The videos also highlight the care that grain farmers put into their work, their environment and the food they produce."

Jennifer MacTavish, general manager of Ontario Sheep Farmers, says "Canada's sheep sector is very diverse. This project is an excellent opportunity to show Canadians what's involved in raising the animals while highlighting both food traceability and animal welfare practices."

Farm & Food Care is a coalition of farmers, agriculture and food partners proactively working together to earn public trust and confidence in food and farming. Find out more at www.FarmFood360.ca or www.FarmFoodCare.org.

For more information:

Kelly Daynard, Executive Director, Farm & Food Care Ontario; kelly@farmfoodcare.org;
519-837-1326, extension 224

Jennifer MacTavish, General Manager, Ontario Sheep Farmers; jmactavish@ontariosheep.org

Scott Brookshaw, Executive Vice-President, Gray Ridge Egg Farms; sbrookshaw@grayridge.com

Catherine Moores, President, Canada Mink Breeders Association; cmoores@numink.ca

Nadine Sisk, Vice-President of Communications and Member Services, CropLife Canada; siskn@croplife.ca