Hello there! My friend Carlos has very generously invited me to “guest blog” here, so, it seems some introduction is required.
My name is Avia Eek. My husband, Bill (third generation Holland Marsh Farmer—his great Uncle, William Valenteyn was one of the original 17 settlers in the Holland Marsh in 1934), and I farm in the Holland Marsh (Soup and Salad Bowl of Ontario), King Township, where I have lived for 24 years. Prior to marrying Bill, I resided in Keswick (Georgina).
A local farm organization was formed in 2008, the Holland Marsh Growers Association. One year after it was formed an opportunity came my way in the form of a seat on the Board of Directors. I was honoured to have been elected in 2009 by my fellow Farmers to this Board (served two terms prior to stepping down to allow some fresh blood at the table). It was partially through my affiliation with the Holland Marsh Growers Association (hollandmarshgold.com) that I decided to run for municipal council the following year.
In 2010, I became the Councilor for Ward 6, which encompasses the King Township side of the Holland Marsh. It was, and continues to be, a humbling experience having the faith and confidence of my community to be allowed to represent them at Council, and on other Boards/Committees where they are also represented. I am often asked “so, how do you like being a Councilor?”, this is usually followed by a chuckle. My response is usually quite predictable as well “I love it! It’s sick and perverse, yes, but I absolutely enjoy representing the Farmers/residents of Ward 6, Township of King!”
I suppose I should backtrack here a bit—you see, I’ve NEVER been involved with politics, it was NEVER even on my radar—yes, I carried out my civic duty by voting when required, but that was it. I never delved any deeper into issues of the day. I never trusted the system, and our representatives always seemed too distant, so unapproachable!
I have learned that with the right leadership, whether it’s municipal, provincial or federal, people do, indeed, have a voice—elected officials are there TO serve, not the other way around. As a municipal elected official, my two focuses are, and remain, Agriculture and Economic Development.
I encourage communication, and, as I have said to my Farmers/residents time and again, I can only do my job properly WITH your input. I mean, I have my own ideas, but someone else may think of something we, in Council, haven’t thought about—representing a community IS about collaborating and working together to find solutions that benefit everyone.
This is the nuts and bolts of who I am (albeit a very condensed version)!
I also enjoy social media, and can be found on LinkedIn, Twitter and Facebook.
It is my hope that your interest in the Holland Marsh and/or politics has been stimulated, if only a little. I welcome questions about food production in the Holland Marsh, and look forward to more chats with you.