Farmer Val Buchanan introduced children to the importance of nature and agriculture during farm tours on her Coldstream property.

Farmer Val Buchanan introduced children to the importance of nature and agriculture during farm tours on her Coldstream property.

A lifetime of memories for Farmer Val

Val Buchanan — known to local kids as Farmer Val — is leaving the farm and heading to Alberta; she looks back on 25 years with fondness

Farmer Val is heading off with 25 years of memories.

Val Buchanan has wrapped up farm tours at her Coldstream property.

“I would like to thank all of the teachers and parents, some of which came yearly for 20 years, for allowing Farmer Val into the lives of all the children. I’m going to miss them the most,” she said.

Buchanan began providing farm tours by accident when her daughters were in pre-school at Small World and she worked there part-time.

The school needed a farm to go to so she offered the family farm she grew up on.

“The rest is, as they say, history. Other schools soon began to hear about it and within so many years, my passion for animals and teaching children came to life,” she said.

“Children learn through hands-on experiences and over the years I continued to add more animals and educational components such as bird nests, snakes in jars, animal and insect habitats, pond studies and the importance of honey bees to the world. I always reinforced the fact that the world will be theirs one day, so let’s take care of it.”

During the tours, children could collect chicken eggs and hold a baby chick. They could pet, feed, hold and brush llamas, alpacas, miniature donkeys, horses, sheep, goats, pigs, rabbits, guinea pigs and more.

The family farm is 110-years-old, so a heritage component was added with churning butter.

“Children have such a wonderful sense of humour and would laugh out loud when the animals would do their tricks,” said Buchanan.

“Kids have such a natural inquisitiveness and were always full of such great questions.”

But the favourite activity was always the pony ride at the end of the tour.

“We had the same horse for more than 20 years that was always so great with the kids day in and day out. Sadly, we had to say goodbye to Classy last fall at the age of 36, but she will live through the memories of so many,” said Buchanan.

Buchanan says she couldn’t have provided the farm tours without her parents, Sharon and Denis Seymour.

“They were my biggest supporters in every aspect and loved sharing their farm with all the kids,” she said.

Husband Ross and daughters Kelsey and Allie also played a key role in the operation.

All of the animals have found new homes and Buchanan is preparing for new adventures in Alberta.

“Thank you, teachers, parents and my family for realizing the importance of the farm and animals in children’s lives and to all of the kids who have come and shared it all with us these past 25 years. Thank you from the bottom of my heart,” she said.