September 27, 2023

SOUTHWEST MIDDLESEX – Another delegation that attended the June 14 council meeting was the Glencoe Agricultural Society. Representing the also called Glencoe Fair Board were Kathryn Lambert, current president of the board, and Jeremy Gough, former president of the board. Gough emphasized the important relationship between the Glencoe Agricultural Society and Southwest Middlesex, and he also gave a brief history of this board. The Glencoe Agricultural Society, formed by merging the Glencoe, Eckford, and Moser Agricultural Societies, has a long-standing history in the community, dating back to 1879. Individually, these groups had been hosting agricultural exhibitions since 1867. Notably, the society owns its fairgrounds and buildings, which were leased to the municipality in the past for symbolic amounts. Gough highlighted that the society and the municipality established a lease agreement, granting South West Middlesex the use of the society’s lands for various recreational facilities, including the playground, soccer fields, baseball diamonds, splash pad, swimming pool, and skate park.

The former board president also mentioned that agricultural societies fulfill a unique role within their communities by offering programs, events, and facilities that contribute to social and economic growth. They serve as catalysts for rural community development, fostering social interaction, youth sponsorship and mentorship, and providing opportunities for residents in rural areas. Given South West Middlesex’s substantial agricultural base, the Glencoe Agricultural Society plays a vital role in promoting agriculture and ensuring the region’s sustainability as a thriving rural community. Interestingly, unlike many agricultural societies in the province, including neighboring fairs, the Glencoe Agricultural Society remains responsible for the full operation and maintenance costs of its facilities, including the only large, fully accessible community hall within the municipality. This volunteer-driven operation represents a significant financial advantage for South West Middlesex. Moreover, the society has demonstrated its commitment to supporting other community volunteer and charity groups by offering reduced rental rates, amounting to nearly $8,000 in waived income over the past year. This generosity directly benefits numerous local organizations, contributing to the well-being of the community at large.

On the other hand, Kathryn Lambert, president of the board, pointed out some programmes related to youth support and mentorship which offers junior and senior ambassadors the chance to participate in leadership workshops and team-building exercises, fostering their growth. She mentioned the AG in the classroom program showcases the vibrant agricultural community to local schools during the annual fair. Lambert also emphasized the great significance that community engagement has with initiatives like the VIP program, community dinners, and food drives serving as valuable avenues for involvement.

The successful execution of lotteries has significantly benefited the organization, Lambert said. The introduction of a 50/50 lottery in response to the financial challenges stemming from the cancellation of the 2020 fair proved fruitful. The generated revenue helped alleviate a substantial deficit and allowed for the reinvestment in community enhancements, including gardens, trees, and upgrades at the fairgrounds. Support was extended to youth curling, public swimming, and skating, providing enriching experiences for community members.

David Gomez, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, The Middlesex Banner

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