The Crops of the Parkland Walking Tour, a few steps from the Visitor Information Centre, has been a volunteer-led project to give people going through Yorkton a chance to see what’s grown here and get a closer look at the agriculture of Yorkton. There was a tour of the plot on July 29, with the opportunity to view crops, talk agriculture and see what is happening in the project. The tour is a partnership between the Yorkton Chamber of Commerce, Tourism Yorkton and the City of Yorkton.
Thom Weir and Jim Gorman gave the tour, and they have volunteered on the project for a long time, since the project began. The goal is to get people to understand Yorkton through the crops that are grown here, since Weir estimates that over 90 per cent of people who work in Yorkton are here due to agriculture, whether directly or indirectly.
The goal is to connect people with agriculture. While the crops haven’t changed too much in the Crops of the Parkland exhibit, changes in technology and climate have made agriculture in the area significantly different.
“One of the things that has changed in the last ten years is that we see corn and we see soybeans as crops that are grown around here, while we never used to, if people want to come out and take a look up close. There are other crops, like canary seeds, that are not as well known as they could be,” Weir said.
While they have been running the project for a number of years, Gorman points out that they have refreshed the look recently, with better signs and moving it closer to the highway, so it’s something you see immediately when driving into the city on Highway 9.
It’s a tour where people need to use all of their senses, including taste, smell and touch, said Weir. On the tour people took time to have a snack on the peas on the plot, and Weir also recommends touching the chickpeas, which make your hand wet because it exudes an acid to keep away insects.
“At this time of year, it’s kind of fun to take a pot off of a mustard, chew it, and see how hot it is, realize the heat is there even at the earlier stage,” said.
While they will go out and give a tour when there is a larger group planned, the tour is meant to be self-guided, with signs posted talking about the different crops. People can go visit at any time.