Museum Talks: Farmerettes
This virtual talk is all about the fascinating and little-known history of the Farmerettes! From 1941-1952 approximately 20,000 girls 16 -18 years of age enlisted in the Ontario Farm Service Force, ensuring that food would continue to be cultivated and harvested as they replaced the men who left farm labour to enlist for military service.
Their motto was "WE LEND A HAND" and that they did, as well as bending a back. Hear about the Farmerette Camps, their accommodations, the work in fields, orchards and vineyards, the fun, and the experiences of the women who were part of the group of people known as the greatest generation.
About the Speakers:
Bonnie Sitter resides in Exeter Ontario but spent 20 years in Deep River and enjoying the Ottawa Valley. After 40 plus years in the travel industry she retired and found a new hobby with photography and that led to co-authoring books. The Beauty and Bounty of Huron County, Agriculture Today A Portrait of Family Farms in Ontario, Onion Skins and Peach Fuzz Memories of Ontario Farmerettes and On The Wright Track Memories from CPR School Car #2 have all proven popular and she is planning for a book to be released in 2022.
She enjoys reading, canoeing, cross country skiing and cycling and writing and her articles and photos are regularly published in The Rural Voice and often involve history with an agricultural flavour.
Shirleyan English grew up in Northern Ontario where her father worked for the Ontario Northland Railway. She attended high school in North Bay and while there, volunteered for the government-run Farmerette program when she was 16 years old, spending a memorable summer working on a farm in Lambton County. That experience gave her a love of plants and working in the soil, which led to her becoming an accomplished gardener.
She attended Western University graduating in 1962 with a degree in Honours Journalism and had a career of more than 30 years, working for the London Free Press, plus public relations work for school boards in London and Peterborough and freelance work.
For about 40 years she and her husband Doug travelled extensively throughout the world, including at various times visiting nearly every fort in Ontario and parts of Quebec. Louisburg in Nova Scotia was a standout.
She is past president of the Garden Club of London and the Garden Clubs of Ontario and is a judge in both Horticulture and Floral Design, both obtained through the Royal Botanical Gardens. She has competed internationally at the World Association of Floral Artists.
An avid reader of a wide variety of fiction and non-fiction, she is also a devotee of crossword and jigsaw puzzles and for many years was a busy curler. She is also a regular attendee of the Grand Theatre in London.
Onion Skins and Peach Fuzz is her first book.
This talk is available on YouTube here!
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