by Jim Bertram,
Councillor, Municipality of North Grenville
Over the last three months, much hard work and planning has gone into the creation of the North Grenville Rural Summit, to be held on April 7 at Parish Hall on the Kemptville College Campus. Following my 2015 Council Motion to create the very successful first Rural Summit, which was held in 2016, a team of local partners have joined me in creating a second Summit. This year’s event is firmly focussed on a local food/local agricultural production theme. It presents the theme in the light of the resources and challenges which those who engage in agricultural activities in the local area must successfully deal with.
As a citizen of this area (South Gower) for over thirty years, I have often spoken with people trying to deal with issues of a rural nature, people who quite frequently felt that more time needed to be spent on looking at, and resolving, challenges to local rural residents in aspects of their daily lives. Such challenges can cover a good many categories. My original idea of a Rural Summit was meant to be a concept which could be organised and focussed in such a way as to deal with those issues.
This year’s Summit specifically addresses the needs and interests of local agro-business entrepreneurs, producers for the local market, those in the agro-technology business, local distributors, restaurants, nurseries, and so on. It may be of interest as well to gardening enthusiasts, technology enthusiasts, and people who are simply curious about what is happening in rural North Grenville and proximate areas of rural Eastern Ontario. It certainly will also be of interest to those interested in local tourism, since many local rural operations welcome visitors.
All in all, this event represents a huge amount of work done for the community on a volunteer basis by myself, Jim Beveridge, Councillor Donovan Arnaud, and Deron Johnston, all of us members of the organising committee. The members of this committee have offered their efforts above and beyond the scope of their regular work-related activities. In addition, 16 presenters, numerous people setting up displays and so on, are involved on a VOLUNTEER basis in bringing this important community asset into being. At present, tickets are being sold and businesses are being canvassed for sponsorship. One business, the North Grenville Times, has volunteered services in lieu of cash worth in excess of $2,000.00. Thank you! And, as mentioned, a growing number of people are beginning to take note of this promising event and are buying tickets, available at:
As I have reflected on a perceived need for such an event, I have had great confidence that the people of Kemptville, rural North Grenville, and our neighbours in greater Eastern Ontario would support it through their interest and participation. Given the numbers of people who have come forward as presenters and display table sponsors and helpers in other ways, I am encouraged. It looks like I may have been right. Perhaps the people of our area really are interested in such an event. All that is needed right now to fulfill my hopes for success is your presence at the day’s activities. A wide range of presentations and displays are available.
A delicious lunch presenting a variety of local products will be provided. An interesting panel discussion dealing with aspects of local food production and how to gain success will be presented. Interesting and unusual technologies now being used or being developed for agriculture, will be featured. Ways of organising and financing new agro-entrepreneurial projects will be discussed. New and interesting ideas for your family’s tour through our local area will become apparent. And more!
In short, I believe we have a program which should appeal to a broad variety of residents, both town and rural. Join us on April 7 and help us succeed in this effort to make North Grenville a better place. For me, that success would be my greatest reward for having carried the Summit concept forward since 2015! And I guarantee that this success will pay dividends, as North Grenville develops further as a first-rate place to live. It will ensure that future Summits will continue to contribute to the vibrancy and dynamism of North Grenville. I hope to see you there.