Both the Manitoba Historical Society (MHS) and Manitoba Agriculture, Food, and Rural Initiatives (MAFRI) have “Centennial” or “Century Farm” programs to recognize farms which have been owned and operated by one family line for at least 100 years. I was surprised to learn that more than 1500 Manitoba farms have achieved this status. Last weekend it was my privilege to attend a ceremony celebrating one of them.

This particular farm is located in the community in which I grew up in the West Reserve and belongs to my former neighbours. More than 100 family members and friends came to celebrate. In addition to some fine musical entertainment and a great meal, guests were treated to some reminiscing by members of the family. Both MHS and MAFRI were in attendance to make presentations as well.

Many of the fifth-generation descendants of the farm’s original owner were present. They heard the stories of their ancestors’ vision and determination to succeed as farmers. They heard how neighbours supported one another for mutual benefit. They heard how faith sustained them in challenging times. And once again, they were reminded of the importance of remembering and telling the stories from our past, which continue to shape our future.

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About the Author

Barry is the Executive Director of the Mennonite Heritage Village. While he does not consider himself to be a historian, he places a high value on the preservation and interpretation of the Mennonite and pioneer stories that help people of all ages understand and appreciate their heritage. Learn more about the MHV.

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