Come one come all — to the Shawville Fair!


Our Environment by Katharine Fletcher
Why come to the Fair? For fun, music, learning about animals, and celebrating our hardworking farmers, those professionals who put wholesome food on our tables.

Our Environment by Katharine Fletcher
Why come to the Fair? For fun, music, learning about animals, and celebrating our hardworking farmers, those professionals who put wholesome food on our tables.
The Shawville Fair is on Labour Day weekend, August 29 – September 2. It embraces everything from beef and dairy cattle, sheep, goats and poultry, to home arts such as quilting plus the celebration of Pontiac history at the Pontiac Historical Museum.
Community members bring their homemade jams, chutneys, cakes, garden flowers and vegetables for judging, too. Some delectable products represent family “secrets”, where a cake follows great-grandmother’s time-honoured recipe.
Yes, the Shawville Fair represents a time for the community to shine with their very best produce, whether it be a steer, dairy calf, sheaf of wheat or oats – or a mason jar full of golden honey.
—— Yours to discover
Exhibitors representing a variety of professions hope to engage our interest.
On the arts and cultural spectrum, Luskville’s Get Art artist Tanya McCormick will be selling her intricate jewellery and promoting her workshops. On the farming side, we can view farm machinery such as tractors –a sure-fire draw for kids of all ages.
And of course, there are many animal-related events. The Fair is perhaps our best opportunity to experience some demonstrations. Check the Fair schedule ( to discover when you can observe cows being milked and sheep being sheared. Live demos are particularly relevant for kids/grandchildren so they learn how products we use (milk, wool) are collected.
Because farming includes much more than animal husbandry, we can also watch demonstrations such as grain grinding and apple-cider making.
—— Farming = contentious issues: ask questions!
Our food producers are used to being questioned about their profession.
This year, Agri-industry’s beef and dairy farmers are fielding serious questions concerning issues related to livestock production, nutrition, and climate change. In January, Health Canada published the new food guide, where dairy and beef products are lumped together as protein choices along with legumes and nuts. Unsurprisingly, beef producers ( argue that beef represents the ultimate plant-based protein.
Moreover, on August 7, the United Nations’ climate science body, the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), released a report: Climate Change and Land ( supporting plant-based diets.
——- Food for thought
Highly controversial, ICPP’s report suggests climate change might be mitigated if people consume a more plant-based diet and avoid or eat less beef and dairy.
“Some dietary choices require more land and water, and cause more emissions of heat-trapping gases than others,” said Debra Roberts, Co-Chair of IPCC Working Group II.
“Balanced diets featuring plant-based foods, such as coarse grains, legumes, fruits and vegetables, and animal-sourced food produced sustainably in low greenhouse gas emission systems present major opportunities for adaptation to and limiting climate change,” she said.
Obviously, the current dietary recommendations promoting plant-based diets are both off-putting and alarming to those raising beef and dairy livestock. I eat (and enjoy) beef and dairy. Do you? If so, what do we think about this food guide and the ICCP report? I don’t dismiss them… but I have serious questions. I bet you do too.
Agri-industry professionals include my neighbours and their families whom I admire, who raise wonderful beef and dairy livestock. The IPCC report directly confronts and questions their very livelihoods – and has serious consequences for us consumers as we contemplate adapting our diet.
This issue of food choices is huge – and I wonder, who has done the comparative study, for example, on deforestation, water use, transportation issues that support the production of plants such as almonds as alternatives to dairy and red meat protein? (Interesting information re: water, crops, and diet:; Mother Jone’s article More on these issues in later columns…
So, come to the Shawville Fair. Talk to our beef and dairy producers. Learn about their lives, their animals – and think about how we human beings continue to shape our world, for the sake of food production and security.
And? Have a great time celebrating our farmers. They deserve our thoughtful, considered support.