The Incredible Edibles Festival was born in 2013 when a group of friends and community advocates gathered around a farmhouse table to brainstorm ideas about promoting local food producers and tourism in Trent Hills. Convinced that the region’s abundant agricultural offerings combined with the unique talents of local chefs and entrepreneurs could put the municipality on the map as an agri-food destination, the group left their initial meeting armed with a vision, a mission and a plan.
Their defined mission was and is “to provide a free admission festival in downtown Campbellford that offers the opportunity to sample and enjoy the food of local chefs and entrepreneurs, learn about the abundant agricultural offerings of the region, and be entertained by food-related speakers, demonstrations, and live music.” As well as strengthening Trent Hills through a celebration of food, the underlying purpose of the Festival is to “showcase our abundant farmers and food producers, commemorate our agricultural history, and promote sustainability for a healthy future,” reads their website.
The first Festival was an unqualified success. Held on the Saturday of the second weekend in July, Campbellford’s Front Street was closed to traffic and hosted 22 vendors along with workshops, live music and children’s activities. Vendors with unique offerings were sought. “We wanted to create a festival where visitors could sample delicious and unique foods, while learning from experts about things like preserving, cheesemaking and more,” the website explains. The organizers were beyond delighted when over 3,000 people attended the initial event.
The Incredible Edibles Festival is heading into its sixth year in 2019, and it has continued to grow, drawing thousands of residents and tourists alike to enjoy an engaging summer’s day filled with food, fun and festivity in Campbellford. “We are so excited for this year’s Festival,” says Sandy Chapman, Secretary and Treasurer. “We’ve expanded geographically for 2019 and we’ll now have two streets closed off. For the first time this year, we’ll have use of the Clock Tower Building for our first indoor Annual Artisan Vendor market, showcasing the works and wares of local creators. We’re very excited about this as the Clock Tower Building is located truly at the heart of the Festival.”
"The Clock Tower Building is air-conditioned so it’s always a pleasant place to pop into to cool off, if needed," she says. "And now our visitors will be able to see the creations for sale by these incredible artists." This new initiative, Sandy explains, was motivated in part by her recent visit to the Artisan’s Market in Warkworth during the Maple Syrup Festival held in the village. “I was blown away by the quality of the work,” she says.
Incredible Edibles has already become a major local event spanning two days with numerous ancillary add-ons including the Incredible Doctor’s Cook-Off on the Friday night prior, a unique fundraiser for the Campbellford Memorial Hospital in which local physicians are paired with chefs to create mouth-watering fare in a friendly competition atmosphere.
Since 2015, Incredible Edibles has also offered a full-day Farm Life Experience Tour on the day prior to the Festival. The guided bus tour escorts visitors to dairy, livestock and produce farm operations for hands-on experiences, provides a farm-fresh lunch and ends with the experience of a livestock auction at the Sales Barn in Hoard’s Station.
The 2018 Festival culminated in a street dance hosted by The Rotary Club in celebration of its 90th anniversary in Campbellford, another unqualified success as attendees danced under the stars to the rock and roll sounds of local favourite Freddy Vette and the Flames.
This year’s Festival will host over 40 vendors showcasing their unique products. Workshops and lectures are offered throughout the day in the agricultural tent as well as all-day cooking demonstrations on the main stage. Little ones can enjoy crafts and food prep activities in the children’s tent. To top it off, live music and entertainment are featured all day in the beer tent along with specialties from local craft breweries and cideries.
“We have a big team behind the Festival now,” says Sandy. As well as the accomplished five-member Board of Directors led by Chair Amanda Solmes, the facilitators now include 15 other volunteers who lend their expertise to various elements of planning and execution, from coordinating entertainment and cooking demos to social media and print media marketing.
Incredible Edibles has been generously sponsored by many stalwart corporate citizens as well as service organizations, united in the goal of drawing tourism to Campbellford. “Our hope was that the Festival would bring visitors to town, boost the economy and expand awareness about the unique and relevant things we’re doing,” says the Festival website. “An event like this was also bound to help other sectors as well, stores in town, accommodations, restaurants etc. Our hope was that it would be a win-win for everyone.”
The Festival is also supported by its own fundraising efforts, most recently its third annual Dinner and a Movie event at Campbellford’s Aron Theatre in February. Featuring a meal catered by local chef Adam Low and a screening of the academy award-winning musical Chicago, the full-house event proved to be an enjoyable evening with guests donning the garb of the roaring 20’s to celebrate the theme.
"We are so proud and excited by everyone’s acceptance and support of the little idea started by five moms," Sandy smiles. "From a little seed, something magnificent grew." Mark your calendars for July 13th and remember, "if you eat, you're in!"
Incredible Edibles Festival, website www.incredibleediblesfestival.com
Incredible Edibles on Facebook
Farm Life Experience Tour tickets are available online at www.incredibleediblesfestival.com
or in person at Campbellford shops Philosophy and The Dizzy Goose
Tickets are $45 for adults, $25 for children under 12 and $100 for a family of four
For Pam Vorkapic, it was love at first sight. It didn’t matter that her realtor labelled her 17-acre property choice a “monster”, or that the home had a broken furnace and a basement full of water. “We fell in love with the river and the space,” she says. Love at first sight is a recurring theme in this woman’s life. She met her husband, Tom, when she was 10 years old, and they started dating when she was 15. “We are childhood sweethearts that have lived, laughed, and loved our way through life,” she says.
The couple bought their first home in Bewdley a few years after they started dating, and subsequently moved to their Warkworth property in 1999. They embarked on extensive renovations and family life with their two young daughters, aged five and one at the time. Pam found the village welcoming from the very beginning. “It’s a fantastic place to raise kids,” she says, “I love the community here.”
At that time, the property next door was nothing more than an appealing view with its river frontage and in-ground pool. The cottage was owned by a couple in their 80’s who, along with their three grown children, had many fond memories of family times there. They were reluctant to put it on the market even though it was rarely used in later years.
Pam's husband Tom did some maintenance work for the owners in his spare time and they both “developed a fondness” for the place. Although it took several years for the stars to align, the couple were eventually able to purchase the property adjacent to their home in early 2017. “We really didn’t know what we were doing,” Pam laughs.
Both husband and wife work full time. Tom is an ironworker, what Pam calls a “boom and bust life”, and she is a law clerk, employed by the same Cobourg firm since 1991. They had no fall-back plan when they decided to renovate their new purchase into a retreat, nor were they sure that there would be a market for such a thing. “We purchased Evergreen Valley Retreat in February 2017 and immediately did a complete renovation to make it a cozy and welcome place for our guests to kick back, relax and get back to nature. We hope you love it as much as we do!” reads their website.
The Retreat opened its doors in June 2017 after a complete make-over. Pam says she developed a social media presence prior to their opening by posting construction updates, establishing rapport and credibility with potential clients. The facility offers an airy open concept cottage with three double bedrooms, bath and a Bunkie which accommodates two more guests. As well as a wonderful view of the river and its wildlife, the 20-acre property offers guests a 40-foot salt water pool, a hot tub, kayaks and bicycles as well as innumerable homey touches and absolute privacy.
“The people have been amazing,” Pam says. “We had bookings right away and we’re seeing lots of repeat guests.” The retreat has hosted family vacations, women's weekends and couple's romantic getaways as well as writers and artists seeking solitude.
Living next door is convenient for the host and hostess, although they remain as unobtrusive as possible unless their attention is needed to address a client need. They leave a welcome package along with maps and brochures detailing local attractions and events. The entry offers a signature Welcome Wall on which guests can write their names and impressions, a feature that has proven to be very popular with clients of all ages.
Evergreen Valley Retreat website, www.evergreenvalleyretreat.com
Evergreen Valley Retreat on Facebook
After four months on the job, Rachel Whitton is feeling pretty comfortable with her position as Manager of the Campbellford District Racquet and Curling Club (CDCRC). She took the reins in December after job shadowing for a month with retiring Manager Eunice Stapley, who held the position for 13 years.
“The job is really cool,” says Rachel with a smile. “I’m learning a lot.” When the job posting first appeared, she wasn’t at all sure that she wanted to apply despite a long-standing relationship with the club. She had just returned to her home town of Campbellford after a one-year post-education sabbatical in New Zealand and was, at the time, just “crashing at a friend’s place”. She purchased a home in Campbellford after deciding that the time was right to make a big commitment.
Rachel began curling in grade 7, largely motivated by the fact that curling was one of the few activities that her very active sister was not engaged in. The youth curling program was huge in those days, she says, and there was endless opportunity to play. She and her team-mates, skip Katherine Nicholas, Tess Brown and Holly Curle, have played together on and off over the years, bringing in substitute players as required to fill in when one of them was out of the area to attend school. They’ve played together in provincial championships and are still a team to this day.
Despite her youth, Rachel already has an interesting Resume to her credit. A “joiner” from an early age, she served on Student Council and the Youth Advisory Committee at her school. She took some culinary arts courses at George Brown College and subsequently completed a diploma in Hotel & Restaurant Management at Algonquin College in Ottawa. She completed her placement at the high-end Fairmont Jasper Park Lodge in Jasper, Alberta, where she found the exposure to management of a five-star facility to be invaluable. Rachel had previously worked on her baking apprenticeship at Campbellford’s Dooher’s Bakery, where she was employed “forever” in her younger days, taking on progressively more responsible roles.
The year she spent in New Zealand was memorable. She and a friend embarked on the adventure after completing their schooling and settled in Milford Sound, a rain forest location within Fiordland National Park on South Island. Often named one of the world’s top travel destinations due to its breathtaking scenery, Milford Sound was dubbed the “eighth wonder of the world” by Rudyard Kipling. The nearest town was more than two hours away by car, she remembers, and the closest urban centre, Queenstown, a five hour drive. Rachel worked as a cook on a 10-day on, 4-day off schedule which allowed the friends to travel and experience the country on their extended weekends. “We met the coolest people from all over the world,” she says. To round out that experience, they moved on to the north end of the continent where they lived in tents for months and picked kiwi fruit for a living.
In her role as Manager, Rachel reports to two boards. The non-profit CDCRC owns the building, she explains, and the Meyers Sports Board rents the facility and oversees the curling schedule and other activities held there. “There is so much expertise on the boards,” Rachel says. “They know what’s already been done, what works well and what doesn’t.”
Rachel had no intention of coming to her new desk with grand notions of changing the operation to make her mark. There was no need for that, she explains, since the club runs well. She is looking forward to experiencing all seasons in her role to complete her understanding of operations.
Her primary goals include increasing revenues through rentals in all seasons. The lounge and off-season arena areas are ideal for both large and small gatherings. Rachel is excited about hosting a gala Wedding Show in September 2019, but other small-scale initiatives have recently taken hold as well. A new hourly rental rate has been established to allow smaller events, like birthday or anniversary parties, to rent the Lounge for a few hours rather than a full day. Wine glasses and dishes are now available for rent as well, a service most recently employed by the Incredible Edibles Annual Movie Night & Dinner Fundraiser at the Aron Theatre in February.
The club boasts over 400 members, Rachel says. Citing no need for membership drives, her focus is on membership retention and to ensure that the members are happy with the experiences and facilities available to them. Restoration of the club’s squash courts has recently been completed thanks to a Trillium Foundation grant.
Class offerings have grown in recent years and are open to the public for a drop-in fee as well as to members who attend as part of their membership fee. The club offers popular Kettlebell, Yoga and Boot Camp programs, and a Trillium grant last year allowed the CDCRC to purchase five Spin bikes which have proven to be an excellent addition to their roster. Rachel is excited about the club’s newest offering, a Meditation Class with Spiritual Teacher Tineke Smit. The seven-week program will focus on one of the seven chakras, or energy centres, each week.
Rachel is serving as a Director on the Trent Hills Chamber of Commerce board this year for the first time, taking office in March of this year. “I’ve always followed the Chamber,’ she says. “I like to be involved.”
Campbellford District Racquet and Curling Club on Facebook
"Dot Painting is art as therapy," says Campbellford artist Krista Moreton. "You almost go into a trance when you get absorbed in dotting."
Krista has been developing her skills for some time now and has turned her attention to increasingly complex projects. She began with mandala patterns on rocks but soon found that canvas afforded her greater freedom and creativity with the art form.
Dot painting, also known as Pointillism, is a simple process for the beginner. A hand-drawn or stencilled pattern is etched onto prepared canvas and the hypnotizing dots are applied with varying sizes of brushes or “dotters”.
Acrylic paints are used which can be purchased affordably in a great range of colours, and even mixed together for more colour options. Some metallic and glitter paints for special accents like jewellery cost a bit more, Krista says.
Although it is engaging work, Forte's recent workshop with Krista proves that it can also be a great project to enjoy while chatting with a friend, at least in the learning stages.
Dot painting lends itself to any subject or genre, and is limited only by the imagination of the artist.
Krista finds that faces are the most challenging works she's undertaken so far due to the amount of detail required to create a recognizable likeness through shading, shadow and features. "It's not something you do at one sitting," she says. "Simple pieces can be completed in a couple of hours, but more complex works can take 40 hours or more."
Krista displays her work at local craft and Christmas markets from time to time, and some pieces are available for purchase through her social media page. Prices are based on the complexity of the work and the hours required to complete the project.
If you'd rather try your hand at this entrancing art form than buy a finished piece, stay tuned for another Forte workshop with Krista in the not-too-distant future!
Is retirement really the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow? It sure sounds good when you’re so busy juggling the demands of family, household and career that you have little time left over for anything else.
The reality often turns out to be something quite different. Retirement is a major lifestyle change, not a never-ending vacation. We live with routines all of our lives. Suddenly, we have none. We have more available hours than we ever dreamed of, and they have neither structure nor obligation. We move on from the family and careers that gave us challenge, social interaction and purpose, only to find that every day is a blank slate that offers us nothing but what we create for ourselves.
Retirement can be a major source of stress. Even if we are financially comfortable and blessed with good health, we can lose our identities, our motivation, our confidence in ourselves and our belief that we play an important role in society. We have no choice but to take a realistic look at our age and what the coming years may hold. All the minutiae that we once had to juggle into spaces between our obligations are now the only items on our to-do list, and chances are that they’re not our favourite things. The dreams we could never find time for, like learning a second language, playing an instrument, trying our hand at painting or writing a novel, may seem unimportant if we’re overwhelmed with feelings of depression, boredom, loneliness and isolation.
Financial planning is essential to retiring successfully, but so is life planning. How will you live? Who will you be? What will you do with your time? Experts agree that these questions need to be addressed before retirement. The goal is to figure out what will truly satisfy you and allow you to grow in this chapter of your life. Start a small business? Relocate? Reignite your spousal relationship? Develop new social connections within the community? What will motivate you to get out of bed every morning?
Aside from money and health, psychologists agree that there are a few foundational necessities for a happy retired life. Health, fitness and nutrition are important, and retirement offers the time to focus on them like never before. Social interaction is crucial, as is having purpose and gratitude. Friends, family and the changing parameters of the spousal relationship are high on the list, while community involvement and volunteering benefit the retired giver as much as they do the grateful recipients.
Perhaps you haven't yet figured out what that long-burdened inner you really needs. If that's you, an upcoming Forte workshop with Cathy Ginsberg will help you assess your inner aptitudes and interests. Cathy shares great insight and helps you plan the route to reach your goals. The founder of People Focus Training in Trent Hills, she brings over 20 years of experience in business, team-building and leadership to our community. The event will be posted shortly.
Christine shares her successful experience in the industry and addresses work ethic, passive income and leveraging time as well as the stigma surrounding multi-level marketing as a profession.
Christine Althouse on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/christinealthouse/
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Since that time, Cassidy has found her niche in the Youngevity world. She has always loved cosmetics but had given many of them up, either due to unfortunate skin effects or the length of time it took to apply them. It's no hindrance that her face is an ideal canvas for make-up, but she also has a broad social network of like-minded women who are interested in maximizing their beauty with clean products. It’s a great fit.
Cassidy believes that Youngevity products are unique in the marketplace and offer great value. The foundation, she explains, is made from five pure minerals in powder form and mixed with water for use. Most competitors contain more additives and chemicals, and some top brands have a long list of laboratory-sounding ingredients. “It only takes 26 seconds to absorb something into the skin,” she says.
One of the unique services offered by Youngevity cosmetics is a sample tower of foundation powders that purchasers can experiment with to develop their perfect shade. It can then be custom made for them. A nominal fee is charged for the tower which is applied to the purchase price of the first order.
“Less is more” when it comes to Youngevity cometics, Cassidy says. It lasts longer because less is used, and she finds that her application time is reduced as well. She has noted improvement in her complexion since she began using the products.
She has clearly absorbed the business and speaks knowledgeably about competitors’ pricing. Some of the priciest, best-known brands carry the largest loads of additives. Cassidy also enjoys Youngevity’s organic, fair trade coffee and uses their cleaning products throughout her home.
She was “hesitant” at first to embark on a direct sales venture. As well as a full-time job as a Graphic Designer at BMR in Campbellford, Cassidy founded her own business in 2017. Cassidy Cathmoir Photography & Design kept her busy as she progressed through photography, merchandise and apparel. Her business has now become more digital, with greater focus on logos, business cards and other branding tools.
She has progressed three levels since joining Youngevity in October. Each level of Associate is assigned a Qualifying Value (QV), which equates to a points system requiring purchase of the company’s products to maintain their status. Level Three, Sales Associate, has a QV of 150. There is a 300 ceiling on this obligation.
Cassidy has easily addressed this by “swapping where you shop”. She buys products she would have had to purchase anyway through Youngevity, and finds that she prefers them.
Clients order directly from Youngevity under Cassidy’s flag, and she receives commission on her sales. Should she recruit a team, she will earn commission on their sales as well. Associates receive incentives and perks regularly. Cassidy applauds the Wallach family, the founders and current leaders of Youngevity, for interaction and engagement with their representatives. “The people at the top are really involved,” she says.
Overcoming bias against multi-level marketing companies has been an issue. “People see it as the person at the top makes all the money,” she explains. “But that’s not the way it is. Everybody’s making money along the way. It’s like any business. The President is going to make the most money.”
Despite having an industry giant at its core, every representative runs their own small business, Cassidy says. Supporting associates of multi-level marketing companies supports local entrepreneurs, independence and families.
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Cassidy Cathmoir Photography & Design
Forte feature, Cassidy Cathmoir & Christine Althouse, October 2018
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I first met Janice over a job interview desk at the Iroquois Ridge Community Centre in Oakville. I hired her on the spot. She was great to work with, and ticked all of those employer wish-list boxes like qualified, dedicated, upbeat, smart, visionary and caring.
Gary and I had started making preliminary plans to retire and, as it happens, Janice and Gerry were on the same path. They now live in Carrying Place on the Bay of Quinte. Gerry is retired in the sense that he no longer works for a pay cheque. He has thrown himself with gusto into renovation of their home and has created a beautiful space with many artistic touches including a laborious tree-slice floor in their sunroom office.
Janice had no intention of retiring. Gerry was still working in the city when the couple purchased their 28-acre property. She relocated before he did, and spent the early days of her new life slogging away at landscaping and reno projects until her partner was able to join her. When she was unable to find local work in the fitness field, she signed on for training and a one year contract as a rural school bus driver. Saying that this was at odds with her background would be an understatement.
With a BA in Nursing Science from Queens University, Janice had a long career as a Registered Nurse (RN) behind her, retiring from the Intensive Care Unit of the London Health Sciences Foundation in 2009 on the dissolution of her first marriage. She moved to Oakville and worked in the fitness field after establishing a solid relationship with her current partner in 2012.
Her year as a school bus driver was filled with heart-warming experiences and frustrations galore. It was an experience, but not necessarily one that she wanted to repeat. She subsequently had some interesting engagements in the medical field, one in home nursing and another as a Neurofeedback Technician and Psychological Counsellor, before joining the Belleville operation of ParaMed Home Health Care in 2016. Janice progressed to Supervisor and then to Operations Manager in 2018. The company is dedicated to keeping clients in their homes rather than hospitals and long-term care facilities through the provision of home care, personal support, counselling and respite care.
Her most alarming responsibility since her relocation was issuing death certificates on a 24/7 on-call basis. She navigated unknown rural territory, often in the wee hours of the morning and through inclement weather, en route to scenes that she couldn’t imagine until she got there.
They share their home with Cosmo, a Weimaraner, who rules the roost most of the time. An unfortunate incident with Cosmo and ice in their backyard landed Janice on the sidelines with a broken leg last year, but that is all forgiven.
They have a blended family of grown children. One of Janice’s two accomplished sons is in Europe, playing hockey professionally for Rapaces de Gap. They all enjoy travel. Janice journeyed to Sweden and Norway in 2015 for an overdue reunion with a friend who’s been like a sister for 35 years.
Janice inspires every day, through her compassion, her resiliency and her zest for life. She and Gerry have found well-deserved joy in this new chapter of their life.
Approximately one in 66 Canadian children is diagnosed with some form of Autism Spectrum Disorder (ASD). Studies have proven that intensive early intervention, as young as 18 months, offers the best hope for a positive lifetime outcome.
“ASD is a life-long neurological disorder that affects the way a person communicates and relates to the people and the world around them,” explains the Autism Ontario website. “ASD can affect behaviour, social interactions, and one’s ability to communicate verbally. ASD is a spectrum disorder, which means that while all people with ASD will experience certain difficulties, the degree to which each person on the spectrum experiences these challenges will be different. As it is a spectrum with impacts ranging from mild to severe, there are many variables in treatment.”
Autism has been in the news since early February when the Ontario provincial government announced changes to the existing autism funding program in an effort to eliminate a growing waitlist of some 23,000 children on hold for services.
“Starting April 1, 2019, through the Ontario Autism Program, families of children with autism will be provided with timely access to Childhood Budgets so they can purchase the services they value most from the providers of their choice.” reads the Ontario Ministry of Children, Community and Social Services website. “This will support children to achieve their goals at home, at school, in the community and as they transition into adulthood.”
Many parents of autistic children disagree, as evidenced by recent province-wide protests against the new funding program. The protocol would provide funding directly to families instead of to regional service providers, allowing $20,000 annually until the child turns six, followed by $5,000 per year until the child turns 18. Families can potentially receive a lifetime allowance of $140,000 subject to maximum household income restrictions.
The problem, according to parents, therapists and Autism organizations, is that the Applied Behavior Analysis (ABA) therapy needed for those on the severe end of the autism spectrum can cost up to $80,000 per year. Many parents simply can't afford to contribute the remainder from their own resources to offer their autistic children the best chance at a successful adult life. A set amount of funding based on age does not address the widely varying treatment requirements of autistic children. The protests are lobbying for funding to be based on individual needs rather than age.
“This new plan is the death of the Ontario autism plan. It’s going to clear the waitlist, but do it by making sure no one gets what they need,” says Laura Kirby-McIntosh, President of Ontario Autism Coalition, as quoted by Global News.
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Office of MPP Jennifer French: http://www.jenniferfrench.ca/