It’s coming. The pieces are beginning to fall into place and something special is taking shape. The organizing committee of the upcoming Agricultural Expo that will be held on April 7 at Parish Hall on the Kemptville Campus, is working feverishly, reviewing discussion topics, researching a keynote speaker, inviting workshop presenters, and selecting discussion panel members among a myriad of other tasks.
The committee recently hired local firm “In The Moment Events”, which is a corporate and special events planner with a wide range of experience and plenty of knowledge in planning events for the North Grenville area. ITM owner, Julia O’Grady, is well known to many in the area and brings a level of professionalism that already has the committee excited to be working with her and her team.
The event itself will be a full-day affair, with a wide variety of agriculture-related workshops (with opportunities for hands-on learning), a moderated panel discussion (with a period for questions at the end), a keynote speaker, and a local food catered lunch for attendees. The committee is very happy with the progress so far and even appear to have a surprise or two up their sleeve for the end of the day. No one is willing to discuss what it is, but whatever it is appears to have the committee really looking forward to the day of the event.
The organizing committee itself is composed of Jim Beveridge, Deron Johnston, Jim Bertram and Donovan Arnaud. The committee has been meeting quietly over the past three months to bring the event to fruition. The committee wanted a truly local event that would get people excited about agriculture and encourage them to either start an agriculture-related business of their own, or expand on what they may already be doing. However, the committee also wanted to make sure that it was open to anyone who may simply be curious about agriculture, and that people from all over the region would be more than welcome.
The group believes that agriculture and local food represent a significant economic development opportunity for North Grenville. With a renewed Kemptville Campus, and being located so close to Ottawa, there is a feeling that, with the right kind of support, North Grenville could quickly become a destination for city residents looking for a refreshing rural experience, complete with great local food and fun agriculture-related activities that everyone could enjoy.
When asked for details about the type of topics that will be presented and discussed at the expo, Jim Bertram pointed out that the North Grenville Times conducted an online survey at the end of last year and the committee has taken that survey data from respondents and will be using it to populate the workshops and discussions. Jim also said that between now and April 7, more details of the event will be shared through articles, press releases, social media and other online activity. He expected to have an event logo and a website up and running soon, so that people could go and look up event information as it is released. “Stay tuned” he teased.
There’s still a tonne of work ahead for the committee though, and April 7 will be here before you know it. “We’re not worried” says Deron Johnston, “we’ve got a great planning team that we’re working with and we’re all very passionate and believe in what we’re doing. We also understand that this event could be a catalyst to bigger things, so we want to get it right”. He quickly added: “When you feel this strongly about what you’re doing, it makes the late nights and early mornings feel not so bad”.