COLUMN: It’s fall, and time to savour our agricultural riches

Linda Larson
By Linda Larson
November 2nd, 2015

After a very long, dry summer we are still experiencing a relatively dry fall. There has been a bit of rain and cooling of temperatures, but I am, as many of you are, still concerned about our forests and what the next year could bring. Whether we like it or not, we should all be wishing for a lot of snow this winter.

Fall is an incredibly busy time for our mainly agricultural area. The abundance of the ground crop harvest greets us with piles of pumpkins and squash everywhere, and the smell of grapes being crushed reminds us of the huge success of the B.C. wine industry.

The Festival of the Grape held in Oliver on the first weekend in October brings together the greatest representation of wineries and grape growers in the province. This event has built on its successes year after year with a dedicated committee and wonderful volunteers. Congratulations to all for another successful event.

Keeping with the agricultural theme, in August the Harker family in Cawston received Canadian Food Hero recognition by Slow Food in Canada. Slow Food is an international organization with members in 150 countries whose mission is to recognize growers (or individuals) who promote good, clean and fair food by actively and positively contributing to a healthy food system.

Sara Harker was quick to acknowledge that the Harker family has a long history of producing organics in the Similkameen. They have been recognized provincially and nationally for their work in raising the profile and benefits of organic produce.

Small businesses are also celebrated in October and nominations are now being accepted to recognize those businesses who are exceptional. We all know the value of small businesses in our rural communities and the services they provide. If you would like to nominate a small business for special recognition, go to http://ow.ly/TA7XU and follow the instructions.

The Registered Disability Savings Plan initiative has been very successful in B.C. Hundreds of people who qualify have taken advantage of the RDSP and more than $1 million has already been saved for the future of those with a disability.

A special event will be held in October to recognize the hard work of the steering committee and some of the individuals who are participating in this program. The participation in B.C. is far ahead of the rest of Canada. If you know anyone who could be helped by this plan, go to ow.ly/STPcR@planinstitute for information on registering.

Five-thousand Parent Advisory Councils around the province have received a share of $135 million to use for the students in their schools. These volunteer committees of parents use these funds to add to the education of students by providing access to extracurricular activities that improve the school experience for all students.

As with volunteers in all areas of community life, the value of PACs is immeasurable. Thank you to all the parents and guardians involved in this program.

As we move into November and the time of remembrance for all who have, or continue to be involved in our armed forces, a bright spot was enjoyed by the community of Oliver with the planting of 700 tulip bulbs in the Veterans Memorial Garden at the Oliver Cemetery.

The bulbs were awarded to the Town of Oliver as one of 140 communities in Canada to receive this gift in recognition of the involvement of Canadians in the liberation of Holland 70 years ago. Students from OES and SOSS along with veterans, family and friends took part in the planting. Special thanks to the Legion and Future Gardens for their work in organizing this special day.

In keeping with this theme I would like to recognize Andy English and Jennifer Douglas from Hedley for the research work and organizing of the event in August to recognize the Hedley Boys – 17 men who, on Aug. 25, 1915, joined the Canadian Forces fighting in the First World War.

The community of Hedley invited the descendants of those 17 to a special re-dedication of the Cenotaph exactly 100 years later on Aug. 25, 2015. The community continues its efforts to raise funds to refurbish the memorial to honour all veterans from Hedley who have lost their lives in the defence of democracy.

Please take a moment on Nov. 11 to think about all those who have in the past and those who currently protect our freedoms.


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