Milton farmer says selfie-seekers are wreaking havoc on farm properties

A lavender farmer in Milton, Ont., says tourists are wreaking havoc on local farm properties, just to get photos for social media.

Milton, Ont., lavender farmer says he has to hire extra staff to ensure plants are safe

Terre Bleu farms southeast of Guelph is a major attraction for tourists in the area, but selfie snapping is causing problems, the owner says. (Terre Bleau/ Instagram)

A lavender farmer southeast of Guelph says tourists are wreaking havoc on local farm properties just to get a photo. 

Ian Baird, who owns Terre Bleu Lavender Farm, said visitors go to great, often inappropriate lengths, in an effort to get a good photo in the fields. 

"They're picking, they're hopping, they're jumping over," he told The Morning Edition's Craig Norris. "Just to get the perfect picture."

Baird said strangers have climbed over the fences, packed the roads, and even entered onto the property after hours, all because of what he says is a lack of understanding of the difference between rural and urban dwellings.

He says people who live in larger urban centers often fail to recognize that a farm is also someone's home.

"They see them as completely free land that they can go in and do whatever they wish," Baird said.

All of the chaos has caused him and his family to take expensive measures to protect the plants, including hiring extra staff, installing video surveillance, hiring police and putting up an electric fence around the property.

Baird said all of the trouble makes it easy for him to understand why a Hamilton-area sunflower farm had to ban people entirely, after dealing with a similar issue last week.

He and his wife have considered shutting down their own operation altogether. He said he'll get through this season, and then make a decision about the fate of the farm.