Huron-Perth Junior Farmers launch 'Century Farm Show'
BY SHAWN LOUGHLIN
The Huron Perth Junior Farmers are working to tell the story of century farms in the two counties by way of The Century Farm Show, which broadcasted its first episode last week.
The show will focus on one of the area’s century farms once a month for the course of the year with a total of 12 episodes. Creator Nick Vinnicombe of Walton and hosts Lauren Bos and Jolande Oudshoorn, both of the Auburn area, have already done interviews and secured footage for about nine episodes, Vinnicombe says, with more work to be done later this year.
The century farm program was established by the Junior Farmers of Ontario as part of Canada’s centennial celebration in 1967. It remains the only centennial project that has persisted to the current day. (The Junior Farmers of Ontario now even offer add-on signs that signify 125, 150 and 200 years for farms that have remained in the same family for that period of time.)
Supported by the Huron County Museum’s Heritage Fund and the Huron County Federation of Agriculture, the show can be viewed on the Huron Perth Junior Farmers’ Facebook page, as well as on Vinnicombe’s Lake Affect Media site and FauxPop Media’s The Staysh. It can also be viewed on LocalOne via Hay Communications.
The first 15-minute episode focuses on the farm of Tom and Bev Prout, who live in the Exeter area. The hosts are Bos and Oudshoorn, who are the president and vice-president, respectively, of the local chapters of the Junior Farmers.
Vinnicombe, in an interview with The Citizen, said the project stretched back more than a year ago when he first joined the Huron Perth Junior Farmers in the fall of 2020. In his first few months with the organization, members were looking for ways to further promote the organization and the work it does. Focusing on the century farm program and its local supporters, he said, only made sense and planning then began about a year ago.
In that time, Vinnicombe, Bos and Oudshoorn have conducted a number of interviews and have material for nine episodes of the show, which will be released monthly throughout 2022. They are still on the hunt for more century farms to feature.
In addition, Vinnicombe says they are actively working to present a variety of farms as well. For example, they will feature cash crop and dairy farms in the early episodes, but are on the hunt for pork and chicken farms to highlight in the later episodes.
Not only has the experience been educational in regards to the agricultural history of the area, Vinnicombe says, but many of the participants in the program are former Junior Farmers members themselves, so it has proven to be a great showcase for the organization.
Vinnicombe says that, while the show is definitely a Junior Farmers project, it fits in well with both his business and FauxPop, which is always working to produce local content when possible. As a result, it was a pretty good fit for all.
On a personal note, being part of the Huron Perth Junior Farmers has been a very positive experience for Vinnicombe, he says, and he’s learned a lot through working on the series.
He joined in October of 2020 and once he got started as a volunteer with the organization, he wished he had joined sooner.
Oudshoorn, in an e-mail to The Citizen, said the whole experience has been new to her, but that she’s enjoyed working on it immensely.
“This was a new experience for me, interviewing farm families and being on camera. I’ve found it interesting, learning about what all goes into doing a small documentary,” she said. “It’s been neat meeting with farm families in both Huron and Perth Counties these past months, learning about how farming has evolved in each generation. I was surprised about how open everyone has been, telling us about their hardships, but also about the good times.
“This project has allowed some of the farm families who weren’t aware of the project to learn about the Century Farm program with the Junior Farmers Association of Ontario, which has been great, as we are doing this project to help promote the Century Farm program too,” she said. “We’ve had good feedback from the families so far, being honoured to be part of our project, but also thankful as they looked through some of their own history, bringing back old memories. I am looking forward to each episode airing and seeing where the show goes.”
To connect with the Huron Perth Junior Farmers, e-mail the group at firstname.lastname@example.org. To watch the first episode of the show, find the organization on Facebook.