Gerry Kemp accepts the Golden Furrow Award on behalf of his farming family, which has been community-building since arriving here in 1882. (Contributed photo).

Central Alberta farm family has been community-building since 1882

Kemp family of Innisfail receives 2019 Golden Furrow Award

A Central Alberta farm family that helped build Red Deer’s first log schoolhouse is the latest to be honoured with the community-building Golden Furrow Award.

Members of the Kemp family of Innisfail were presented with the plaque last weekend at Sunnybrook Farm Museum. The Pioneer Farm Family of the Year is the 15th to receive this award, which has been given out annually to civic-minded rural families since 2005.

Sharing the recognition with previous winners — including the Bowers, Hermarys, Braithwaites and Hazletts — is a huge honour, said Rita Kemp, whose husband, Gerry Kemp accepted the award on behalf of the family Saturday.

“We are thrilled to bits and very appreciative,” she added.

Rita Kemp feels it’s great to recognize people who helped create the area we live in: “A community is built on its history. We learn as we go… and we learn from the past.”

According to local historian Michael Dawe, the Kemps have been in this area for 137 years. William Hazelwood Kemp arrived at Red Deer River Crossing in 1882 after travelling from his native Ottawa.

He broke the first farm land in the region with a team of oxen and ended up producing some winning crops. A sample of his wheat was sent to the 1893 Chicago World Fair, where it won a prize — a streak that continued at local and regional agricultural fairs.

William helped build the first log school in Red Deer. He also became a trustee with the newly formed Red Deer Public School Board before marrying Katy Lundy in 1897.

That spirit of altruist ran through the Kemps’ descendants. Dawe said the family became involved in the various Co-op board, town council, 4H, and Innisfail agricultural and historical societies. They also contributed to the Parkland Credit Union, Goldeye Foundation, International Farm Exchange program, Red Deer College, and the local curling club, among many groups.

Rita said the family’s dairy farm eventually was turned into a hay farm, but her children still run it.

Ian Warwick, executive-director of the Sunnybrook Farm Museum, said early pioneering families “built our churches, our community halls,” so it’s appropriate to recognize their contributions.

Previous winners are: the James Bower Family, Emile Hermary Family, Herve Johnson Family, George A. Braithwaite Family, Richards Family, Charles Alberta Boyden Family, Alberta F. Wagner Family, Nelson Family, Niels Lund Family, Swainson Family, Northey Family, Towers Family, Van Slyke Family, and Hazlett Family.

Like us on Facebook and follow us on Twitter

sunnybrook farm

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Stolen catalytic converters recovered

Innisfail RCMP arrest two suspects

Canadians released from coronavirus-ridden cruise ship in Japan fly home

OTTAWA — A sixth presumptive case of COVID-19 has been diagnosed in… Continue reading

Visually impaired hockey players to compete in Red Deer

Teams prepare for national tournament

Higher oilsands volumes drive beat as Inter Pipeline reports $100M Q4 income

CALGARY — Inter Pipeline Ltd. is crediting strong results from its oilsands… Continue reading

Royal Bank reports $3.5B first-quarter profit, raises quarterly dividend

TORONTO — Royal Bank of Canada raised its dividend as it reported… Continue reading

Fashion Fridays: The 8 best quality online stores! Shop the ultimate sales

Kim XO, helps to keep you looking good on Fashion Fridays on the Black Press Media Network

Your community calendar

Feb. 19 A Liberation of Holland event is being held at the… Continue reading

Gary Harris’s generosity helped shape our college, and our city, writes Joel Ward

I was deeply saddened to learn of Gary Harris’s passing. I first… Continue reading

A teen’s perspective: Ordinary Canadians are paying a price for railway blockades

The following is a letter by Alberta teenager Liam Smith to his… Continue reading

2010 leader John Furlong urges Vancouver to bid for 2030 Winter Games

While Vancouver celebrates the 10th anniversary of the 2010 Winter Olympic and… Continue reading

American women seek more than $66M in damages from US Soccer

Players on the U.S. women’s national team are seeking more than $66… Continue reading

ACTRA honouree Jean Yoon reflects on her fight for onscreen diversity

TORONTO — Jean Yoon is flush with honours these days. In September,… Continue reading

The Weeknd sets cross-continent tour with 57 dates, including several in Canada

TORONTO — Canadian R&B singer the Weeknd is going big for his… Continue reading

Einarson, Homan, Jones frontrunning at Tournament of Hearts

MOOSE JAW, Sask. — Manitoba, Ontario and the Jennifer Jones wild-card team… Continue reading

Most Read