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Most of us want to eat good food that’s grown responsibly. This natural impulse has spurred a growing hunger for information about farming and food production. As you indulge in sunny, backyard barbecue sessions this summer, you may wonder what the story is behind the craft brews so nicely iced in your cooler. Who grew the premium malting barley that gives these drinks the distinctly delicious qualities the brewers worked so diligently to capture?

And then there are the fresh loaves of bakery or homemade bread and buns plated on the picnic table. There is a multi-faceted story behind the high-quality wheat used to bake this healthy staple. It’s one that has everything to do with Alberta family farms on which hard work, innovation and the drive to produce the best possible food is the order of every day.

The focus of this magazine is grains, but Alberta farms each raise an array of crops and livestock that are also represented in this summer meal scenario. There’s canola oil on the salad, steaks sizzling on the barbecue, cheese in the burgers, pulled pork and chicken on warm tortillas, egg salad made with fingerling potatoes, a luscious dish of sweet baked beans and much more.

While you’re enjoying this bounty, farmers hope you’ll get to know more about it. The agricultural sector faces many challenges while making an enormous contribution to the economy. In light of this, the industry’s constant innovation and improvement on issues such as sustainability are quite remarkable.

Joining the conversation about farming is easy—simply start reading. Published four times a year, GrainsWest is regular reading material for Alberta’s wheat and barley farmers, but this, our summer consumer issue, is shared with urban readers. Within these pages, we discuss farming issues that matter to those on the farm and in the city. What’s good for one is generally so for the other.

No single food may be more emblematic of farming than bread, and though its popularity has been buffeted in recent years by eating trends, love of the loaf conquers all. The inherently appealing qualities that have made it a staple for thousands of years are seeing whole grains and sourdough leading a rising bread revival.

Though they don’t often trumpet their use of ecologically responsible methods, you may be surprised to learn just how far ahead Prairie farmers are in terms of sustainable farming practices. Linked to one farm family’s long history of soil conservation practices, we visit Origin Brewing & Malting, an innovative and traceable field-to-glass barley business that represents farming’s new turn toward value-added business opportunities. Also answering to consumer demand for transparency, blockchain stands to revolutionize the way food moves from farm to consumer. The ledger technology that underpins Bitcoin, its introduction stands to benefit farmers and consumers by lowering costs and creating a secure digital record of every transaction as food products move from the farm to the grocery aisle.

To help you further your farm connection, we’ve compiled a list of some of the agricultural events and attractions open to the public this summer, while we take an expanded look at Alberta Open Farm Days. This weekend event welcomes the public to visit farms across the province and meet the people who grow our food. A fun and informative getaway, the occasion offers participants confirmation that farming is about communities and people who aren’t so different in their aspirations from their city counterparts.


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