Friend of the Farm’s – Annual General Meeting 2017

Friend of the Farm’s Recent Annual General Meeting 2017

Friends of the Farm PEI recently held their Annual General Meeting. President Lane MacLaren welcomed everyone, including speaker Bruce MacNaughton. He acknowledged Board members present; secretary/treasurer Nora Jenkins, chair of membership Gertie Purdy, Catherine Hennessey, Laura Lee Howard, Sharon Larkin, Connie MacKay-Carr, Libby Martin, and Linda Thomas. Former Board member Bert Christie was also in attendance. 

Lane stated that the mandate of the Friends is to ensure The Experimental Farm remain green in perpetuity for all to enjoy. The current property status seems relatively stable, with Agricultural Canada increasing research activity on the property with a focus to organic food trials.

The Friends activities include the spring clean in concert with Women’s Institute. Doug MacDonald, recently resigned Board member, quarterbacked this. His efforts will be missed. Doug also led the Royal Crown Garden project, in collaboration with The Agricultural Research Station, City of Charlottetown, VanKampen’s and the Friends. VanKampen Green houses discounts over 1000 plants, The Farm staff plants and pulls them, the City waters,  and the Friends maintains it through the summer months.  It is truly a cooperative effort. 

Kite Day happens in the fall with the collaboration of The Agricultural Research Station, The Farm Centre, The Legacy Garden, Colorsky Kites and Gift Shop, the PEI Association for Newcomers, and this year,  the PEI Tool Library.  Beamish Organic apples and cider are shared while people create their own kites, led by Pat Beamish, or they can choose to fly a bought kite, or a donated kite kit.

Premier’s Grove- Friends have bought trees to plant and ensure there are plaques on each trees. In recent years, former premier Jim Lee’s tree was replanted, and Premier Wade MacLauchlan planted his tree. The public is invited to come and view the Premier’s Grove.

Gertie Purdy reported that there were 351 individual and/or family memberships. Now is the time to renew and/or purchase a membership for the new year. Doug Ezeard and his firm graciously prepare our financials annually, which is made up of memberships and donations.

Valerie Beer was nominated and ccepted as a new Board Member. Grant Johnson is thanked for his work with the Friends website: www.freindsofthefarmpei.ca

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Bruce began speaking about the MacEachern family, thinking of Janice, the gardens, creativity, and passion.  “Her passion stopped me in my tracks at the Farmer’s Market one day. Nothing worth doing can be achieved without passion. We are because I am passionate.” Bruce came to realize he didn’t enjoy chasing the world to make a living, instead he wanted to invite the world to his home. It’s “my hobby…Catherine (Hennessey) called to say thank you for buying the building. It’s become a place where lots of people visit.”  “I’ve given my life up to a higher power. There’s a chapel that sleeps 8 , a respite cottage booked 50% Canadian, 50% American, some stay no charge. About half are Women with mastetic breast cancer. Families as far away as Vancouver, California” . “The love we have seen expressed there –a family with one daughter who was deaf, blind, mute …she was so loved and cared for by her siblings. They said it was the best vacation in their life.”  What’s  next? –Henry Purdy assisted with a visual arts festival this summer. Some of the art s sold with proceeds going to the Garden, a convention came chose it as their charity of choice. There is a Hoyer lift, hospital bed, many volunteers, so many people donated items to help build the place.  The Gardens of Hope, 2 kms of paths, all the secret spaces, gentleman from Chile- came to spend time in PEI- his footprint and signature brought it to a lovely new level.

“In 2005, friend and world renowned photographer Wayne Barrett suggested a butterfly house. We had some setbacks, and then 4 years ago, back at it, spiders eat butterflies, so I find on the internet that John Brothers from right here on PEI, out of Montague,  makes screen for garages…so he designed screens for the butterfly house.” 

There are 70 butterfly farmers in the world. We import from two; Costa Rica, and the Phillipines.  In Costa Rica- it’s a cooperative with 80 families, they are buying Amazon lands, and they are doing eco- tourist.  The butterflies live only 1-2- weeks-se we import every one to two weeks.. CFIA (Canadian Food Inspection Agency Approved). We account for every import, and everyone in either living in the green house, or expired in the deep freeze. They are brought in as pupae. The butterfly, is a story line of metamorphosis, the seasons of nature and of life.

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