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Melvern Square student Bailey George earns spot at Royal Winter Fair

Bailey George, left, and Ally McConchie are in Toronto to represent Dalhousie’s agriculture campus at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair. George is from Melvern Square.
Bailey George, left, and Ally McConchie are in Toronto to represent Dalhousie’s agriculture campus at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair. George is from Melvern Square. - Contributed

Represents Dal AC at national agricultural event in Toronto

MELVERN SQUARE - Moving to Truro from separate provinces, Ally McConchie and Bailey George had not anticipated becoming such close friends, let alone having the chance to represent Dal AC at the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair in Toronto together.

An annual fall fair that brings agriculture to the heart of downtown Toronto, the Royal Agricultural Winter Fair is the largest combined indoor agricultural fair and international equestrian competition in the world. Every November, the fair celebrates the best in agriculture, local food, and equestrian competition from across the country and beyond.

Through a student pitch competition at Dal AC, George and McConchie were selected to represent Dal AC at the Royal this November. As representatives, the team of two are hosting high school seminars at the Royal Fair for students in junior high and high school in the Toronto area. The girls attending the Royal Winter Fair from Nov. 7-9 and are hosting a presentation each day. Despite the demanding schedule, McConchie and George are thrilled to have been selected to represent their school at such a prestigious event.

“I was thrilled to be selected to represent Dal AC,” says George from Melvern Square, Annapolis County. “I was so excited to be able to share my passion for agriculture. It seemed like a dream.”

McConchie was just as excited.

“Being selected for the royal was very exciting. I’m so grateful we get this opportunity to represent Dal while speaking at such a large agricultural fair.”

On the road to the fair

The duo competed in Dal AC’s Royal Pitch Competition in the spring of 2017. The three-part competition had students prepare a proposal, present a pitch, and finally, a mock presentation.

The competition was open to Dal AC students with the goal of selecting two students to present their idea at the Royal Winter Fair. The objective is to teach urban students about agriculture and its importance in many different sectors.

For George and McConchie, it is also a chance to share their passion and enthusiasm for agriculture with others.

“Both of us are 4-H members and love to speak, especially about agriculture,” George says. “This was the perfect opportunity to share our passion with others and have the chance to travel to the Royal.”

George and McConchie developed a presentation focusing on agriculture from farm to table for the pitch competition. Based on that, the two developed their presentation titled, “Your Cheeseburger's Journey” which they presented at the Royal Winter Fair.

The presentation demonstrates how important the agriculture industry is to the production of something as simple as a cheeseburger. It focuses on how the cheeseburger can only be made if you have many ingredients from many sectors of the agriculture industry and showcases the journey that the ingredients must take to get from the farm to the table.

“We had to make a few revisions from our first presentation,” McConchie explains. “We had some help from mentors to make the revisions so that our presentation was relatable to everyone. The original idea was to focus on agriculture from farm to table and when we took a look at how we could make it more interesting, the cheeseburger fit well. Everyone can relate to a cheeseburger one way or another.”

Inspired by farming

For both girls, their passion for agriculture stemmed from a young age. Both from farming communities and active in 4-H, the two met while studying at Dal AC.

George, who is from Melvern Square in the Annapolis Valley, is in her second year studying Dairy Business Management. While she has participated in many sports in the past - including rugby, swimming, basketball, and hockey - she took a step back from sports to focus on her education. Although no longer involved in such a variety of sports, George has stuck with competitive horseback riding.

“I am a competitive hunter/jumper rider and compete at Equestrian Canada shows at the Gold level,” George explains.

In addition to equestrian competition, Bailey is also a member of the Evangeline Pony Club. Although she was out of pony club for a few years, she remained active as a volunteer and has re-joined for the 2017-2018 year. By taking both written and practical tests on stable management practices and demonstrating her riding skills through riding tests, George’s goal is to move up a few levels this year.

McConchie, a horse lover like George, is in her second year of Equine Business Management. She comes from the rural community of Central Hampstead, New Brunswick.

Although the girls come from different provinces and different backgrounds, one thing is for sure - they are both passionate and enthusiastic about agriculture.

George offers this advice to future Dal AC students who want to compete at the fair: “You need to go at it with all of your heart and passion. Be sure to explode with energy and passion, if you can do that, you can make it.”

Article by Emma Geldart, Dalhousie Communications.

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