When the RDHS decided they were no longer able to organize the Living Locally Fair in Russell, Ann Jackson and Matthew Spence decided to ensure the survival of this important event. Jackson and Spence met up with two of the RDHS members who had previously organized the fair. From the left: Ann Jackson, Lindley McPhail, Pegi Holtz and Matthew Spence.  Thompson Goddard Photo

RUSSELL – The 2023 Living Locally Fair held at St. Thomas Aquinas Catholic High School in Russell on Sat., Jan. 21 was a resounding success. Throughout the day there was a steady stream of people who visited the over 80 vendors located in the gym and atrium of the school.

Ann Jackson, who with Matthew Spence organized the event on behalf of the Environmental Specialist High Skills Major at the school, explained that until 2020, the fair was run by the Russell & District Horticultural Society. Jackson and Spence both wanted the show to continue, as it is an important event in the community, providing people to socialize while meeting and supporting local vendors.

“We want to support the local community,” commented Jackson, who mentioned vendors at the event included local food producers, businesses, community groups and artisans. Jackson commented how the event provides an opportunity for people to launch a new business or product and receive feedback from customers quickly. The Good Neighbours Food Bank located in Embrun, and servicing Russell Township were accepting food and monetary donations throughout the event.

The environmental component of the show continues to be an important part of the event. There were several booths including the Environmental SHSM booth from St. Thomas, which featured facets of the program at the school including worm composting and vertical growing towers.

Among the hundreds of people attending the event were Lindley McPhail and Pegi Holtz who were two of the original organizers of the Living Locally Fair. McPhail commented how the event was all about the community and shopping locally, noting how the Living Locally Fair was the most fun to work on of all the projects she was involved with and was glad to see it continue.