The Kootenay Meadows dairy farm is a stop on the Tour de Farm.

Kootenay Young Agrarians hosting Creston Valley’s second Tour de Farm

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  • Jun. 13, 2015 1:00 p.m.

Nearly 50 cyclists joined the Kootenay Young Agrarians Tour de Farm last September, and the organizers are hoping to build on that success.

The second Tour de Farm on July 1 will be similar to the first: a 34-kilometre round trip visiting four farms and winery.

“It felt like a thing that kind of made sense for the valley,” said Laura Hannant, who co-ordinates YA with Nigel Francis. “It’s a pretty neat way to show the 100-mile diet in less than 100 miles.”

Cyclists will start at the Creston and District Community Complex and pedal to Cartwheel Farm (organic market garden), Full Circle Farm (grain), Kootenay Meadows (milk and cheese), Just-A-Mere Organic Farm (fruit and vegetables) and Baillie-Grohman Estate Winery.

“We really wanted to showcase organic as much as we could,” said Hannant. “It’s a neat mix of farms.”

Sponsored by the Columbia Basin Trust and Creston Valley Chamber of Commerce, the ride arrive back at the community complex in time for the Canada Day free swim.

The first Tour de Farm attracted people of all ages and abilities — some cycling for the first time in years, others towing kids in trailers — who quickly became passionate about what the experience.

“There was a lot of conversation: ‘This kind of farm should be here,’ ” said Hannant. “People came out because they wanted to be more in touch with their food.”

There isn’t a lot of farm tourism in the Creston Valley, she added, so it was an exciting event for farmers.

“They felt proud to have people come through. It felt really celebratory.”

It even attracted riders from out of town, from as far away as Nakusp and Invermere.

“They had no idea what we have,” Hannant said. “This was big.

“If this is something that gets on the map, it might attract young farmers to the valley. I think if we’re going to change the food system here, we need more ways to connect.”

Tour de Farm tickets are $20, available in advance at the Creston Valley Chamber of Commerce. Anyone interested in volunteering that day can email Laura Hannant or Nigel Francis at kootenays@youngagrarians.org.

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