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'RARE BREEDS RENAISSANCE'
'RARE BREEDS RENAISSANCE'
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JUNE 10-12th. 2016
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DR. JOHN T. MILLS, PHD. July 31, 1937 - April 4, 2016 Peacefully and supported by his family, John Thomas Mills passed away at Salt Spring Island's Lady Minto Hospital on April 4, 2016. Dr. John Thomas Mills Phd. was the embodiment of renaissance man in life. Whatever J.T. Mills attempted in life he succeeded brilliantly - be it life, love, family, adventure, science, art, or legacy. His currency was knowledge, understanding, kindness, love and wisdom. John was an advocate for nature and creativity and invested his time accordingly. He believed in conversations worth having and inspired many in the process to pursue their dreams and fufill their potential. Throughout his life, John nurtured a climate of unconditional love to guide his family and support his friends. He radiated a creative curiosity that sparked his love of science and nature. It also led him around the world several times touching six continents in the process. John exuded a passion and enthusiasm for whatever he put his focus on. He grew worthy ideas and designed many experiences. His quiet determination and understated charm overcame whatever obstacles and disagreement he encountered in his path. He believed one's character and the real wealth in life is enhanced by meaningful life experience and fostering enduring relationships that stand the test of time and distance. Born in Redhill, Surrey in July 1937 - John took refuge from the war in his beloved Wales. Ever the explorer, he then charted a course that took him across post war Europe and the U.K. as a young man. When he graduated from Imperial College, London he built the quintessential ex-pat life during that sunset of a golden age in Trinidad's sugar cane plantations discovering and marrying the love of his life - the multi-talented Carol. (To Mom, Dad always received the award for Best Supporting Actor). Once he had mastered life in the tropics, John immigrated to Canada to work in Winnipeg for the Canadian Government as a plant pathologist - shifting gears to become a world authority in diseases of grain and a forensic expert (and quickly adapting to one of the coldest places on Earth). John and Carol raised two sons Richard and Nicholas, and later nurtured two grandsons Jordan and Samson. John's sense of adventure never ceased as he was always only a plane ride away from what ever pursuit he undertook - family often in tow. In 1974-1975 John and Carol transplanted their young family to Holland for over a year on a work sabbatical. Every weekend (and some weeks) were well planned visits to significant cultural institutions and historical landmarks that crisscrossed Europe. Trains, planes, automobiles and shoes were all well used on this vital mission. John's marriage to Carol endured lovingly for 43 years, and following her passing he realized their shared vision to build a family retreat on Salt Spring Island under the vigilant supervision of his loyal, lovable and rather furry companion Bear. In his retirement from civil service, John focused his passion and energy to encourage culture and science other ways: becoming president of the Manitoba Society of Artists as well as chairman of Rare Breeds Canada. Combining these two themes - John's artistic talents blossomed as he became a celebrated painter. He particularly loved capturing animals in context of their environments - excelling at his depiction in the diversity of horse breeds. To those that knew him best, John's passion for knowledge and understanding of many things was manifested in his casual ability to solve the most complex of crosswords and also to always ask thoughtful questions - ones worthy of answering. J.T. Mills was a true gentleman in every sense of the word: a devoted husband, an amazing father, a benevolent grandfather, and a stalwart friend, he was admittedly a terrible cook but above all be was a wonderful human being. John was a man that believed in the potential of others and made a profound difference to many. He made his world a much better place. He is missed by all those he encountered and his legacy will endure in the future through the generations he touched. A celebration of John's life will be held on his birthday July 31, 2016 on his beloved Salt Spring Island. Donations, in lieu of flowers, can be made in memory of Dr. John T. Mills to the Lady Minto Hospital Foundation, 135 Crofton Road, Salt Spring Island, BC V8K 1T1. This obituary may also be viewed at www.haywardsfuneral.com The artwork of John T. Mills can be viewed at www.johntmills.ca
As published in the Winnipeg Free Press on April 09, 2016
"Agriculture and farm animals are particular interests of mine. Growing up in North Wales, I took for granted the many breeds of farm animals but now most of them are rare and threatened for survival. Manitoba is an agricultural province and for the past 4 years I have been visiting farms, country fairs and other events to become familiar with the scene. My interest in rare breeds of farm animals was rekindled by seeing them exhibited at fairs and through the activities of Rare Breeds Canada. I decided to help by producing paintings and art cards. I began by painting horses because of their diversity, beauty, dignity and strength then included rare and often spectacular breeds of other livestock. The art cards I send at Christmas time depict rare breeds and recipients often remark on them thus giving me an opportunity to tell their story for survival" Recently John has extended his interest to zoo animals many of which are rare and threatened in the wild.
John is a Member and former Secretary of the Manitoba Society of Artists (MSA), a Member of the Winnipeg Sketch Club and of Rare Breeds Canada. In 2007, he was awarded the Clifford C. Packer Prize at the MSA Open Juried Show. In 2008, he had his first solo show at the Fleet Galleries, Winnipeg. In June 2009, he was awarded the Juror's Prize at the MSA Open Juried Show in Winnipeg and in October participated in an oil painting workshop given by Shiela Barnes at the American Academy of Equine Art in Lexington, Kentucky. In 2010, he had a joint show with animal sculptor Mary Lowe at the Fleet Galleries,was awarded second prize in the professional category at the Red River Art Exhibition, Winnipeg, and appointed the first Artist-in-Residence by Rare Breeds Canada. In October 2010, he had a second solo show "Zoo Animals --- Private Moments" at the Frame of Mind Gallery in Winnipeg.
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Rare Breeds Canada is a federally registered charitable organization formed in 1987. We are working to conserve, monitor and promote heritage and rare breeds of Canadian farm animals.
Conservation takes many forms: we work to increase populations, encourage registration of pure stock, assist farmers to find breeding stock, educate the public, maintain a bank of rare semen and create networks so farmers can find and exchange stock and find markets for their produce.
Markets are developing for heritage meats–in many cases demand outstrips supply. Thanks to years of dedicated work by Livestock Conservation organization around the world, there is a glimmer of hope for heritage breeds. As long as we will eat them, farmers will keep them.
Many breeds that played a vital part in feeding Canadians in the past are still in danger of extinction. Our annual Conservation List takes the pulse of these fragile populations. Rare Breeds Canada also collects data in targeted census counts to understand population distribution.
Food security is an important issue in our conservation effort. The genetics of the older rustic breeds have qualities that are in demand now and may be invaluable in the future. Today’s industrial farming methods of intensification and specialization
have put our food supply at risk by creating a dangerous dependency on a narrow genetic base and highly mechanized management.
Heritage breeds are thrifty, easy keepers– are disease resistant, birth easily, and have superior mothering abilities. Chefs and cheese
makers all over the world are excited about the superior taste of heritage meat & dairy products.
Heritage breeds are ideally suited to organic and sustainable agriculture systems such as rotational grazing and natural, outdoor livestock housing. They complement smallholdings and can be equally successful commercially in the developing niche markets for conscientious consumers.
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