In September I was given the opportunity to attend the 2012 International Plowing Match (IPM for short) in Roseville, Ontario. To be honest, I had never heard of the IPM until this experience so I was surprised about the crowd it gathered. Over 100,000 people (mainly farmers) visit this farming and agricultural expo of sorts each year, bringing together people over various competitions, displays, demonstrations, and food.
MEDA had a booth in a tent with other community organizations and we were just there to spread the world about who we are and the work we do, with a particular focus on our agriculture projects like Techno-Links, Farmer to Farmer, EDGET, Ukraine Horticulture Development Projects, GROW, and Cassava Seed Champions, amongst others.
What sticks out most from this trip to country life was the way in which all IPM attendees got to the event. On the day I went, it was pouring rain so hard that it felt more like buckets of water than raindrops crashing down on me. When we got to an open field where we were supposed to park (and where a lot of cars got stuck that day), we had to board the back of a tractor. There were no seats and no roof so due to the bumpy and muddy nature of the field, we held on as best we could as the rain continued to fall hard.
After a 15 minute or so ride, we arrived at the land cleared for the IPM. At this point, I was soaked through and had discovered my rain boots had failed me miserably. However, nothing could diminish our spirits and it was a great opportunity to get MEDA's mission out there.
While I missed the tractor dancing competition (yes, that's a real thing), I still feel I got a taste of this interesting annual event. Now if only I could rescue my rubber boots...