Meet Mattea Lodewyk, our 2019-2020 Ambassador of the West Niagara Fair
Fairs, farming, and animals have been a part of Mattea's life from an early age. Even as a toddler, she enjoyed riding the tractor with her Grandpa, feeding the cows, and playing with her chickens. At age 13, Mattea joined the Niagara 4-H Goat Club and has been a member for the past 8 years. She has won multiple shows including Reserve Grand Champion at the Royal Winter Fair in 2017 and was a recipient of this years John Deere 4-H scholarship. While in high school, Mattea started and operated her own business through the Summer Company supplying meat rabbits to the local public. Currently, she helps manage her family's hobby farm website and herd of 15 goats, while keeping her 5 younger siblings in check.
Mattea is entering her third year at Brock University in the Medical Science program with plans to pursue further education in Midwifery after the completion of her degree. Throughout her education she has enjoyed volunteering and being involved in the community, whether with local organizations such as Meals on Wheels or overseas. This past summer she spent two months in Israel volunteering at a medical clinic, an archaeological dig, and helping out in several vineyards and orchards around the country. When her nose isn't buried in her books, Mattea can be found working on her family's hobby farm with her goats, singing while house cleaning, or digging into a great historical novel.
Mattea is honored to represent the West Niagara Fair as ambassador this year and would love to meet you at the fair!
Below is Mattea's Ambassadors speech:
West Niagara Fair Ambassador Competition
Monday September 2, 2019
From the earliest days of Canadian settlement continuing until today, agriculture has been a vital part of life in Canada. According to Stats Canada, 1 in 3 Canadians was a member of the farm population in 1931.1 In 2016, a Census of Agriculture and Population found that only 1 in 58 Canadians was a member of the farm population.2 Overall, from 1971 to 2016, the farming population has declined by nearly 63%.3 These statistics point to the reality that a decreasing number of Canadians are exposed to agriculture on a regular basis. And yet we are all impacted by agriculture, a message clearly communicated by the bumper sticker “farmers feed cities” which my siblings and I proudly displayed on our family minivan after picking up a sticker at one of the fairs we attended with our 4-H projects.
While the West Niagara Fair is a showcase for agriculture, it also serves as an educational tool to convey the importance of farming in the past and today and is an essential part of involving the next generation of Canadians in agriculture. By attending their local fair, Canadians will get a glimpse of the farming way of life, learn about previous and current farming methods, see garden and farm products grown in their area, encounter various animals, and talk to local farmers, experiences that will shape their understanding of agriculture. The fair allows us to remember, preserve, and celebrate our agricultural heritage while looking forward to a future of innovation, discovery, and continued community within agricultre.
1 Statistics Canada. November 27, 2018. The Socioeconomic portrait of Canada’s evolving farm population. https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/pub/11-627-m/11-627-m2018041-eng.htm 2 Statistics Canada. November 27, 2018. The Socioeconomic portrait of Canada’s evolving farm population. https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/pub/11-627-m/11-627-m2018041-eng.htm 3 Statistics Canada. November 27, 2018. Agriculture-Population Linkage Data. https://www150.statcan.gc.ca/n1/pub/95-633-x/95-633-x2017000-eng.htm
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