President’s AGM speech

AGM speech 2012 by Robert Berkhout, President.

Welcome dear friends and thank you for coming to London farm tonight. Welcome to Councilor Chak Au, the new liaison for the City of Richmond.

Welcome to City of Richmond representatives: Connie Baxter and Peter Harris.

A number of Board members will not be standing for re election.

Marianne Kurlak will retire after 20 relentless years of various functions and precious contributions to the Society. We will miss her dignified charm.

Sally Mercer will not return to the Board table but we all hope that she will continue to contribute her ever growing expertise and remarkable good taste for gardening.

We also say good bye to Jerry Muir who time and again brought useful insights to a whole array of issues we have been facing.

Jerry was notoriously 5 minutes late at meetings, but luckily his ideas and corrections always arrived just on the right moment.

Thank you so much, Marianne, Sally and Jerry.

In a few minutes the directors will entertain the standing items for this evening, but I would like to dedicate my last speech as Chair to some remarks in general.

London Farm has come to a cross road. With almost each part of the Farm growing, there is a demand for more regulations and clearer guidelines for both staff and volunteers.

Managing London Farm has become more challenging over the years. Costs of almost everything are rising and we are dealing with a growing number of visitors to the park as well as the increasing popularity of in and outdoor events.

Wonderful as that may be, it also comes with more strain on a simple Society, struggling with less volunteer hours available.

Some of the once good functioning policies need to be reviewed. However:  London Farm is by nature all about tradition and preserving the past.  And with that in mind we have to be careful with too much re-inventing and changes.

“Where do we go from here?” was the question we asked ourselves at a special meeting last month. The discussion that ensued from that meeting will be continued by the next Board, as will the urgent review of the   Society Bylaws.    We intend to present revised Bylaws to the Members at the next AGM.

The London Heritage Society does not enjoy any substantial financial support from any government or institutions. So it is up to us, the volunteers, to keep this place up and running and to meet the always increasing expectations.

In a healthy society progress is inevitable and with it come growing pains and fits.  I think it is safe to say that last year was a testing one for this Board, but there is ample evidence we will come out stronger than ever.

Greg Halsey Brand said in his retirement speech a few months ago:  “you guys have come a long way”, and so we did.

When I look at the list of names of volunteers who want to join the new Board, it is clear evidence that LF will continue to play its strong and important role in the communities of Richmond and Steveston

I enjoyed being Chair, most of time. I feel it was a special honor for a new immigrant to have had the chance to play a small role somewhere in a corner of Canada. It really made me feel part of a wonderful country, and it is true that by volunteering one can make dear friends.

It took me some time to fully understand the phenomenon of volunteering, and it keeps surprising me what can be established with a relatively small group of dedicated people.

Many times I have thanked you for your support, but never enough. That is why I want to end my task as President with a very big thank you.

Board of Directors Nominations

Check out our previous post about running for the London Heritage Farm Society’s Board of Directors and make a difference in your community!

The following people have been nominated, please come out and vote!!


1. Robert Berkhout:

(past president)


2. Egon S Frank:

(Currently allotment holder and volunteers around the farm)


3. Jonathan Grand-Pierre:

Jonathan Grand-Pierre was recently nominated as one of the top 30 entrepreneurs under 30 in Richmond, Nooch Snack & Chill was spawned because of a vision to fill a void in the community. Recognizing the need for a classy yet casual restaurant which adds simple twists on traditional North American favorites, Grand-Pierre has created a culture which stresses the importance of balance in life. Through his  network in British Columbia, Grand-Pierre has embraced his raw entrepreneurial spirit to create a unique culinary experience whether in a Nooch location or at a catered event. With a wealth of experience in the fashion, hospitality, entertainment, and restaurant industries, Grand-Pierre has combined his knowledge to build a growing chain of restaurants which rank among the top 5 on both and Community lies at the core of Nooch’s foundation. A stronger community means a brighter future – let’s get there together.

4. Bardia Khaledi:

MA, Educator, Expert Gardener

Gardening has been a life-long passion. I have learned much about plants through growing up on a large garden as a child and through over 10 years of gardening in Richmond. My love of plants brought me to VanDusen Botanical Garden in 2009. As a volunteer at garden, I contribute to the Seed Collectors’ group that ensures the collection and preservation of seeds of cultivars and species of worldly plants present at the garden.  Through this involvement with VanDusen, I was inspired  to conduct an MA research where I looked at the contemporary role of botanical gardens in British Columbia. With the completion of my MA, I became increasingly interested in larger questions of sustainability, biodiversity, and public education and have regularly attended lectures and workshops related those topics. These experiences paved the way for further learning at VanDusen and the Native Plant Society of British Columbia, and a fruitful affiliation with Master Gardeners. Currently, I am taking part in permaculture initiatives at the Sharing Farm and in the process of developing two educational programs (relating to farming and botany) at the farm.


5. Bruce Livingston:

(Current board member)


6. Jay Scott:

(current board member: acting Treasurer)


7. Jenny Watson:

Current board member and huge contributor to the tea room and gift shop. Currently is the Tea Room Supervisor, has jam contract, organizes “parties” for clean ups, decorating and making tea.


8. Nova Watson:

Diploma in Event Coordination and Management

I was born in Richmond and raised in North Vancouver. Eight years ago I returned back to Richmond to raise my two children and have called it home since. I am a positive, hard working, creative person.  My Diploma in Event Coordination and Management has given me the ability to organize, host and coach any type of Event. I have an extensive background in the hospitality industry and pride myself on great customer service.

When I discovered London Farm I was so excited. Growing up I fell in love with Anne of Green Gables, so you can imagen my delight when I experienced the old world charm of London Heritage Farm. Since my first experience at the farm I have taken any opportunity to be involved with the house. Now it is my hope to take my involvement with London Farm to the next level by running for the Board. London Farm is a unique place and I am passionate and excited about being a part of sharing the heritage of it with the community. I am looking forward to   investing myself and time into the growth of London Farm.


9. Barbara Williams:

(current board member)




Check back regularly as I will be updating this page as more nominations come in!