The Western Fair District - Title School Project Sponsor Profile

Monday, September 12, 2016

The Western Fair - Sponsorship Profile

Eleven years before the University of Western Ontario was founded, eight years before the Blackfriars Street Bridge was built, and six years before the London Street Railway began, the Western Fair Association was born. The year 1867 saw local agriculture and horticulture groups unite to plan the first Western Fair (which took place one year later in 1868.) By 1887, the Association had been granted a Provincial Charter and incorporated as an Agricultural Society. During the past a century-and-a-half, Western Fair District has endured the Great Depression, war times, fires, changing technology and public tastes. These challenges and opportunities have created the Western Fair District that we know today. In June of 2011, the Western Fair Association was rebranded as the Western Fair District to reflect how the organization has evolved. Its members, volunteers and employees are engaged in providing new, enriching, and innovative ways to deliver on its vision and agricultural mandate.  

As a progressive Agricultural Society, the Western Fair District supports the on-going development of the agricultural industry and promotes its value to the urban community. A leader of Canadian Agriculture Societies, and a year-round entertainment destination for south-western Ontario, they support the communities with programming and facilities that help meet the business needs of the agricultural sector while at the same time providing innovative experiences for today’s consumer.

The Western Fair District offers agri-business events like the Dairy Congress, Poultry Conference and Farm Show. The Farm Show is over 75 years old and is the largest indoor spring farm show in eastern Canada. Premiere events like these provide regional farmers with the opportunity to talk to industry experts and look and learn about new technologies, products, equipment and services.

They also offer agri-food programming for schools in the Thames Valley District School Board, during the annual Western Fair, where children in grades 3-6 learn about agricultural commodities and livestock as well as soil, gardening and local foods. Not only does their programming improve agricultural and environmental awareness, the Western Fair District also has an amazing direct impact on the City of London and surrounding area. An independent economic impact study by Deloitte & Touche determined that the Western Fair District has a total economic impact in the City of London of $114.2 million.

The Western Fair District strives to promote the value of agriculture and provide experiences that enrich the community.  They are continually looking for new and innovative ways to support this strategy. Heather Blackwell, the Director of Rural and Urban Affairs for the Western Fair District, loves the culture of the District. “For me personally, the spirit of the Association keeps me anchored here.  I grew-up in a rural community around farming and now work in an urban centre. I am aware of the significance agri-societies have held in small communities and I see first-hand the important role an Association like Western Fair can play, today, in an urban centre.  The spirit of the Association, a century ago, ensured the community had a meeting place and an event to highlight and celebrate the achievements of day, today the community and our customers count on us to always provide entertaining and educational experiences that enrich their lives and I quite like being part of that.”

The Western Fair District & Growing Chefs! Ontario

For the upcoming year, we are thrilled to announce that the Western Fair District is our new title sponsor. As such, our School Project will now be called Western Fair District Presents: The School Food Education Project. The Western Fair District is one of the first major organizations in and around the city of London to support Growing Chefs! Ontario at this level.

Blackwell is excited for the possibilities that a partnership with Growing Chefs! Ontario offers. “The synergies between our organizations are very strong and that’s why we are so excited to work together. We like the innovative way Growing Chefs! delivers agri-food education. We have seen their programs in action and they make a meaningful and lasting impact on the students participating. We hope by working together with our similar mission to educate about agriculture and food, that we can support one another in reaching more students. It’s a very exciting partnership. I think the opportunities are endless.” And so does the team at Growing Chefs!

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