On the Road to Reorganization

The failure of the Fruit and Produce Exchange of British Columbia left the B.C.F.G.A. on shaky ground, just as the collapse of the British Columbia Fruit Exchange had done ten years earlier. Somuch of the Association's energy and credibility had been tied up with the Exchange that the primary question was whether the B.C.F.G.A. should continue at all! The mood of the 1909 convention might be summed up in the words of Captain Elliston of Victoria: "We all feel, ladies and gentlemen, that this Association is not really as valuable to the fruit growers in this Province as it ought to be, and we are all very anxious to make it a success and of real value to us." Dwindling support was visible-166 memberships were sold in 1908, and only 97 in 1909. This compared unfavourably with the support gainedby the Farmers' Institutes, which although originally started at the behest of the B.C.F.G.A., had, like Dr. Frankenstein's monster, far outgrown their parent. As of June, 1911, there were 54 Farmers' Institutes with a membership of 4403, and they were seen as rivals rather than complements ofthe B.C.F.G.A. President Puckle reported in 1910:

Winner of gold medal and $1000 prize, National Apple Show, Vancouver, 1910.Courtesy Kelouma Centennial Museum

Courtesy PABC

We found we were occupying a very difficult position this year, in that wherever Farmers' Institutes are established it was of no use to hold ameeting of the Association. It left only two places where there were no Institutes, where we could get our work in. One was Keremeos and the other Windermere; and now that those two places are forming Institutes, there is practically no scope for this Association, unless they change their methods.

Courtesy PABC

Puckle commented after his election at the 1909 annual meeting; "I think we can prove that we can get a great deal out of this Association, and we ought to be able to get a good many morem embers interested." But a year of effort to revitalize the B.C.F.G.A. gave poor results, and he told the 1910 meeting that "when we took up this matter at the last annual meeting, we expected to be able to improve our methods to a great extent, but on looking into the business arrangements and constitution, I could not find any way to improve methods until the whole thing was dissolved and started again on an improved basis." The decision of the 1910 annual meeting was that a Convention of Fruit-Growers should be held at Kamloops in April of that year, to considerand adopt a new constitution which would allow the revitalization of the Association through a closer link with the provincial Department of Agriculture. Thus the British Columbia Fruit Growers' Association, as originally founded, ended.

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