Urban meets rural at Agrium Ag-tivity in the City Discovery Centre
CALGARY – It’s a blast from the past, with a focus on the future.
As a salute to the Calgary Stampede’s century of tradition, the Agrium Ag-tivity in the City Discovery Centre will assume the form of a big red barn during the 2012 Stampede. Inside, though, the bumper crop of free, fun-packed activities and interactive, informative displays will accentuate the indispensible role that agriculture will play in our future for the next hundred years.
“Over the past 100 years, the advancements made in agriculture have fed, clothed, and added inputs to nearly all aspects of our daily lives,” notes Lindsey Metheral, Program Co-ordinator with Agrium, the perennial title sponsor for Agrium Ag-tivity in the City. “We are excited to celebrate the past successes and show our support for the future of sustainable agriculture.”
Agrium Ag-tivity in the City, an annual salute to the importance of agriculture, will be open daily during Stampede — from Sneak-a-Peek night on Thursday, July 5 through Sunday, July 15. In partnership with leading industry stakeholders, Agrium Ag-tivity in the City will welcome visitors daily from 10 a.m. to 9 p.m., showcasing agriculture’s intrinsic and fundamental place in our culture.
“We hope that after touring Agrium Ag-tivity in the City, visitors will take away a deeper appreciation for the agriculture industry, and the numerous ways it impacts the urban lifestyle,” says Kelly Chambers, Agricultural Program Co-ordinator with the Calgary Stampede.
Agrium, a leading global producer and marketer of agricultural nutrients, returns with the ever-popular Seed Survivor, its interactive, curriculum-based display. Eight interactive stations feature more than 20 multimedia and virtual reality games and activities, teaching kids that plants require water, light, healthy soil, and nutrients to survive and thrive. Among other activities, kids can search and find plants and animals hidden in a watershed, grow a healthy crop using nutrients and water, battle the clock in a virtual underground maze, color a farm scene, plant a sunflower seed to take home and grow, and more. “We want children to grow up to be healthy eaters, to be interested in agriculture, and to understand where their food comes from,” says Metheral.
Alberta Milk will be unveiling a new exhibit this year at Agrium Ag-tivity in the City, with its Journey of Milk taking visitors from the cow right through to the dairy processing plant. Try your hand at milking a cow, and enjoy a snack at the Milk and Cookies shack for a nominal one-dollar fee, with proceeds helping to support local food banks. “The Journey of Milk engages kids and adults alike, and we’re excited to launch it at the Calgary Stampede,” says Katherine Loughlin, Alberta Milk’s Manager of Marketing Development.
Agriculture and Agri-Food Canada (AAFC), whose research over the past 125 years has significantly contributed to the success of our national agriculture industry, will also have a new presence with its Check out Agriculture exhibit booth, which resembles a grocery checkout counter.
When a visitor scans one of nine items, a brief informational clip explains research that went into the product — focusing on how the product was improved by science, or new uses for agricultural products.
Also new to the Agrium Ag-tivity in the City Discovery Centre is the Man Van, as part of a partnership between Agrium and the Prostate Cancer Centre called Combines for Cures. The Man Van will be on site from Friday, July 6 through Sunday, July 8, with attendants answering questions and promoting prostate testing; actual on-site prostate testing, requiring pre-registration and a simple blood test, is available on Friday and Saturday from 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. and 4:30 to 8 p.m., and Sunday from 12 to 4 p.m.
The Budweiser Clydesdale heavy-horse hitch, based in St. Louis, will return as part of its Stampede appearance in every other year. Also returning is the familiar Alberta Barley exhibit; try your hand at milling some barley flour, and learn all about the benefits of this locally-grown ancient grain.
The Alberta Lamb Producers, as part of the Stampede’s third annual Sheep Showcase, will return with its dual exhibit aimed at both consumers and potential producers. One will concentrate on the live animal – discussing management, husbandry, and best-care practices, with a pen of live sheep and video displays. The other, with a bistro/deli setting, will focus on sheep marketing and sheep products, with computer displays allowing visitors to select and e-mail recipes to themselves and friends.
Alberta Beef, Alberta Pork, the ATCO Energy Mobile, and the Alberta Canola Producers Commission, in partnership with the Dow AgroSciences Canola Learning Centre, return with informative, updated industry displays, as will the Alberta Chicken Producers and Alberta Egg Producers.
The Agrium Country Critters Stage will once again be a magnet for Stampede visitors — with sheep shearing, mock auctions, stock dog herding, llama, alpaca, goat, and miniature donkey presentations, and other agricultural expositions, starting daily at 11:30 a.m. Meanwhile, the Kids’ Pedal Tractor Pull and Kids’ Team Penning will continue to call the Agrium Ag-tivity in the City area home.
Also back by popular demand are:
- Agrium barn tours, daily from 11 a.m. to 8 p.m., with volunteer Guest Services guides taking Stampede visitors through agricultural facilities, answering various questions and promoting lively discussions;
- The cozy Heritage Cabin, which will give guests a feel for the rudimentary conditions that pioneers endured to settle the West;
- The provocative pigeon races. The Agrium Ag-tivity in the City pigeon loft is home to 60 racing pigeons that take flight in twice-daily demonstrations. These feathery athletes will embark on a wing and a prayer in the July 15 grand finale — a 160-kilometre, dash-for-cash race with a prize purse of $3,000 up for grabs.
The Stampede will be webcasting all events being held in the Scotiabank Saddledome and the Big Top this year. Visit http://ag.calgarystampede.com/saddledome-ustream for live streaming of Saddledome action, and http://ag.calgarystampede.com/big-top-ustream for events under the Big Top.
Groundbreaking will soon begin on one of the most significant infrastructure projects in Stampede history — the Agrium Western Event Centre, which will be the largest facility of its kind in Canada upon completion. For details and artistic renderings of this magnificent 150,000-square-foot agriculture showcase and competition venue, scheduled for completion in 2014, visit http://corporate.calgarystampede.com/about/park-development/agrium-western-event-centre/
For more information, please contact:
Ag Media Committee Chair
Agriculture Media Writer
Agriculture Program Coordinator