Thank you so much to everyone who was able to spend the evening with us. If you were an attendee, a seat sponsor, an event sponsor, a volunteer or a staff member, if you were in the room with us at the Cereal Barn on Saturday, June 8 you know how wonderful it was. Thank you. For those of you who weren’t, I hope I can share a little piece of the evening with you.
Our East and Southern Africa Regional Manager, Rex Chapota kicked things off with a passionate review of our impact from radio stations in Tanzania, to farmers in the field in Ethiopia. Following Rex, we were fortunate to be able to hear from a second of our visiting in-country staff when Andrea Bambara, our Country Head of Programs for Burkina Faso, addressed the room totalement en francaise. Then, with a call to action from our MC, CBC’s Hallie Cotnam, we set about signing up new monthly donors right then and there, and encouraged existing monthly donors to raise their monthly commitment by $5 per month or more. Our goal was to sign up 40 new monthly donors that night and boy did we ever come close! As of today, we are only one (yes one) commitment away from having 40 new monthly donors for our 40th Anniversary. If you’re reading this and you’re not yet a monthly donor, why not help us right now and click this link to join us!
A special moment occurred about two-thirds of the way into the evening when the Cereal Barn was filled with the sound of George Atkins’ voice reading one of the original scripts that he penned 40 years ago. As the audio track of George’s voice continued, the video screen sparked to life, with images from the first 40 years of our Foundation’s existence going all the way back to when we were known as Developing Countries Farm Radio Network, right up to today.
Celebrating 40 years of Farm Radio
Of course, we can’t forget the familiar sound of our spokesperson, Lloyd Robertson’s voice. Lloyd, in an interview onstage with Hallie, told us about his memories of George. He also spoke about the importance of broadcast and his memories from his long-term career as the face of the CTV National News. Watch our interview with Lloyd below.
A successful event
Overall, the evening was a success. Not only was the weather absolutely perfect — but judging from the looks on many faces in the event photos, everyone enjoyed themselves. The silent auction benefitted from donations provided by dozens of local businesses and got great reviews. The food, from the Jambo Restaurant in Ottawa, was plentiful and seemed to please everyone who we asked. Malivoire Chardonnay and Gamay wines were featured thanks to Malivoire Wines, and Beau’s All Natural Lug Tread Beers were cold and refreshing and yes, also provided to our event as a donation by our friends from Beau’s located about an hour east of Ottawa. The amazing live auction featured a stay-cation, as well as a special opportunity to ask our guest Ed Lawrence a gardening question that was answered that very evening (invasive beetles beware). We even saw a duel between cousins, for our live auction item marquis package: two return air travel tickets generously donated by WestJet, and a ride to the airport by East Coast Limousine.
When you add it all up, our 40th Anniversary African Harvest was indeed a success. We raised more awareness than ever before of the great work that we’re doing that is making such a positive impact for rural families thanks to and supported by your donations. We now have nearly 40 new monthly donors supporting our work! We got to hear from Lloyd Robertson, that trademark voice still strong and true, as he shared stories of his early relationships with our founder George Atkins, as well as some of his personal recollections of broadcasting and his views on media today. You will definitely want to watch and listen to the interview, and share it with your friends!
Our most successful African Harvest yet
Thanks to all of the efforts of everyone involved, African Harvest 2019, our 40th Anniversary version, raised $26,000 — our best African Harvest yet — and we are truly grateful. Please check out this link to view some of our favourite photos from the evening.
Our 40th anniversary year isn’t over by a long shot. We still have lots planned. Find out how you can get involved by hosting a potluck (we’ve already had a few). We also encourage anyone who would like to get involved in helping us plan future events like African Harvest, our annual curling bonspiel, or community information sessions to reach out to us and let us know. We certainly always love hearing from volunteers who bring new ideas and energy to our work so please email us with your comments, suggestions or let us know you’d like to be a Farm Radio volunteer.
If you haven’t yet made a pledge of support to Farm Radio International in 2019, or think you might be able to make an additional commitment to our work, why not do it right now? Let’s make our 40th Anniversary a record breaking fundraising year, and ensure we continue to make an even larger impact than ever before. Donate online today with this secure link.
Yours, Jeff Larocque.
Major Gifts & Special Initiatives