All’s fair

The enduring legacy of agriculture in an increasingly urban world

Over the past 100 years, people have become increasingly more disconnected from the source of their food.

Nevertheless, one need look no further than the Bulkley Valley Exhibition Parade to recognize agriculture still matters.

Of course it does. It is the very foundation of our unprecedented success as a species.

Moreover, most of what we eat, the basis for our survival, still comes from the land and probably always will.

It is perhaps not surprising then, that last Wednesday, on a blustery, cool and damp evening, it looked like the entire valley had come out to line the sides of Main Street and watch the floats, machinery, businesses, kids, livestock and, it being an election year, political candidates pass by.

In an era when less than two per cent of the Canadian population is employed in agriculture—compared to nearly half when the Fall Fair started in 1919—it is a testament to the heritage of farming that so many people still care to show up when the ex comes to town. Particularly on an evening that could not be considered ideal parade weather.

On Sept. 5, 1919, The Interior News implored the townspeople to get behind the inaugural event.

“Throughout the district, interest in the fair is intense,” wrote editor and publisher L.B. Warner. “Entries already assure for the fair the greatest exhibit of stock ever seen north of Vancouver, and out of this fact comes a guarantee of large attendance through the impetus stock-raising has received in the past year. The farmers will do their part. They will bring their families this year. They will exhibit and aid financially.

“Whether they return next year will depend altogether upon the driving power put behind the arrangements for making their first visit and first impression of a pleasant and lasting nature.”

The fact the fair still flourishes 100 years later, would seem to indicate the townspeople stepped up and is a tribute to an enduring rural legacy in an increasingly urban world.

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