Thank you for everyone's attendance! - Announcing our new The 2019 WNAS Board of Directors:
President: Russell Lowden
1st Vice President: John Sikkens
2nd Vice President: Annette VanMarrum
Executive Member at Large: Jim McMillan
Executive Member at Large: Ron Murre
Three year directors:
Maleka Dittrick, Aaron Lowden, Jim McMillan, John Sikkens, Colin Comfort, Heather Chechalk
Two year directors:
Bruce Comfort, Meagan Lowden, Jennifer Mott, Randy Murre, Michael Philpott, Annette VanMarrum
One year directors:
Tom Harris, Cal Loney, Russell Lowden, Ron Murre, Leslie Pattemore, Harry VanMarrum
Thank you to all our 2018 past directors and welcome and Good luck to our new leadership team!
A special thank you to our Guest Speaker, Marvin Ryder, who spoke on the changes in our Nation and impacts on Agricultural Fairs; and in turn, how as a Agricultural society, we must adapt to thrive!
Challenges Agricultural Fairs are facing today:
- In 1867 there were over 500 Agricultural Fairs; In 1967 that number dropped to just over 250 and in 2017 to 218. Of this 218 remaining about half are just "holding on".
- There is a shift in makeup of the Country from Rural to more of an Urban style of living, as such there is a loss of familiarity and relatability to Agriculture.
- Our own population is not increasing at a strong rate; coupled with immigration tends to have people settling in cities rather than rural communities.
- Competition for Social events - Historically the fair was the social event of the year, as there was not a lot of competition. Now with better means of travel, and theaters, Science Centres, Zoos, Amusement Parks, there are many more things competing for a limited entertainment budget.
- Aging population - by 2030 estimated 1/3 population will be over 65... where will the next generation come from?
- Government response - innovation is so fast paced now, that government cannot wait a year to announce the newest technology, as such Fairs are not the preferred means to be the centre of Agriculture News and Innovation.
- Volunteer Strain - There are so many Registered Charities and Non-for profit organizations out there.
Suggestions to help Agricultural Societies and their fair continue to thrive:
- couple fairs with the Educational system, "Where does your food come from?"
- be a living library/museum/zoo and demonstrate Agriculture and/or traditional ways, exhibit "how do you make ice cream", quilting, farm animals;
- position the fair to address Urban centres interests - include a local farmers market, home produce, local Artisans;
- make the fair grounds a familiar place - use it throughout the year for other events during the remainder of the year.
Suggestions for gaining younger generation involved:
First youth of today are not committed to staying, the nature of their education and work can lead then to be transient, as such they are not as likely to want any type of long-term commitment.
to address this - narrow commitments to specific areas and reduce the commitment time.
Wow! so much information!
It was a pleasure to hear him speak and his receive his ideas!
Report by: K.Whybourne