Perth County farmers open bean farm for virtual tour

Amy and David Arand have plenty of cutting-edge technology at their disposal on their family farm in Donegal, north of Stratford.

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Amy and David Arand have plenty of cutting-edge technology at their disposal on their family farm in Donegal, north of Stratford.

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But virtual reality?

That is new.

The Arands grow beans and corn and, with a little help from their children Dean and Dylana, raise turkeys on their farm. They recently welcomed a film crew from Farm and Food Care Ontario, who produced an online tour of their Perth County operation – now part of an industry-wide effort across the province to educate people more about where local food comes from.

“It was a lot of fun,” Amy said this week. “They came with cameras and screens and lights and they came with drones and a special camera that does a 360-degree view. It looks really strange because it looks like a ball on a stick.

“I think we were more interested in watching the film crew than they filming us,” she added, followed by a laugh. “It was just an experience that we probably never would have had if we hadn’t.”

The tour, available on YouTube and, allows viewers with or without a virtual reality headset to see 360-degree views of the Arand family farm. The tour is accompanied by interviews with the family and lots of facts about dried beans, a member of the legume family that is also considered a legume along with chickpeas, lentils and dried peas.

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We apologize, but this video could not be loaded.

Did you know that Canada exports beans to more than 70 different countries? Or that there are about 1,000 farmers in Ontario who grow nine types of beans?

That’s the kind of information Farm and Food Care Ontario hopes to share.

The group — a coalition of farmers, farming organizations and food partners working to build public confidence in food and agriculture — has created more than 20 total virtual tours of bean and potato farms, as well as a broiler breeding farm, across Ontario , many were filmed throughout 2022.

Also involved in the project are Ontario Bean Growers, the Ontario Potato Board and the Ontario Broiler Chicken Hatching Egg Producers Association. It was funded in part by the Canadian Agricultural Partnership’s AgriCompetitiveness program, a joint federal, provincial and territorial initiative.

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“Our growers take great pride in growing good, nutritious food for Canadians to enjoy, and it’s always wonderful to teach people how that effort reaches them in their grocery store,” said Jennifer Mitchell of Ontario Bean Growers. “We loved being a part of this project so Canadians across the country could see our work firsthand.”

Amy said the family “jumped” the opportunity to participate.

“I think it’s important because I think a lot of people get misinformation,” she said. “When people better understand where their food comes from, they will feel… it’s safe, wholesome, and grown right here at home, which is even better.”

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