Sold-out fall production sale in Irvine

The inaugural Fall Gather and Production Sale at Irvine School Agriculture Discovery Centre sold out on Saturday, and was a huge success judging by the standing ovation organizer and MC Nichole Neubauer received as the event drew to a close.

Principal Trent Rayner welcomed all those attending.

“When (the idea) was brought to me, I said, ‘let’s give it a go, what’s the worst that could happen?’ Luckily, nothing bad happened and this has been unbelievable, mostly for the positives that have come through for who it was meant for, and that is our students.”

Several elected officials attended, including MP Glen Motz, MLA Michaela Frey, and county Couns. Blaine Brost and Robin Kurpjuweit. Prairie Rose Public Schools board chair Cathy Hogg, trustee Shauna Vanderspruit and superintendent Reagan Weeks were also on hand.

Neubauer said, “I’d also like to extend a welcome to the people whose visionary leadership really is what made this program possible. Because of their never-ending quest to make Prairie Rose the kind of school division that educates differently, I’m so eternally grateful that our kids have been able to be a part of the Prairie Rose family.”

Brost said, “I’ve also grown up here my whole life and we ranch just across the road from the school. You can tell the dedication the kids have put into (the ADC). You can tell their hearts are in it and tonight will be what it’s all about, and they will be able to show the fruits of their labour with the meal and the auction.”

Student body president Reid Vossler turned out to be somewhat of a comedian, telling the crowd, “I can tell you we had corn looking really good, it was almost taller than me, I know that’s hard to believe. We were starting to get huge pumpkins, too. At the start of the program, I wasn’t 100% sure I was going to like the pigs, but by the end of my senior year they were my favourite animal. As an unpopular opinion, I would argue the pigs are cuter than the baby chicks.”

From the live auction alone, the evening raised more than $20,000, with proceeds going back to the ADC to buy new livestock for next season, feed, to expand the program, or build new infrastructure.

Neubauer refers to herself as an agricultural evangelist and was applauded by all who spoke during the evening for her innovative ideas and her commitment to seeing the ADC become a reality.

Another fundraising initiative is also underway trying to raise funds for a portable vermicomposting unit from TRAD Worm Industries. The goal is to raise $40,000 to buy the unit, which will be able to compost all waste, including manure, created by the ADC.

This year, the ADC created 5 metric tonnes of manure, which was all taken to the landfill.

A YouTube video has been created about the project and can be viewed at https://youtu.be/P_VD2u2oVTY or under Irvine School Waste Management Project – You Tube.

SAMANTHA JOHNSON, Local Journalism Initiative Reporter, Medicine Hat News