Great news Kirsty

One of the great things about working with a team of very special people every now and then the world says Well Done. I am very pleased to announce our event director Kirsty John  has just won a scholarship to be a RAS Youth Group representative at the 25th Commonwealth Agricultural Conference in Zambia in September. The scholarship also means she is  funded to attend the pre conference tours.  Looking forward to your blog post on this wonderful trip Kirsty. Check out this divine video which shares some of the great delights of Africa 

Strong Women

The Queensland Rural Regional and Remote Women’s Network (QRRRWN) this week announced the finalists in their inaugural ‘Strong Women Leadership Awards 2012’and and how excited are we that the list included Young Farming Champion Kylie Stretton.


Kylie ( Blue shirt) with fellow YFC’s at the Ekka last week

This is Kylie’s story………

All my life I have been passionate about the rural industry but being quite shy, I wasn’t very sure how to go about promoting it. In the last twelve months I have become very involved in Advocating for Agriculture via social media. I was asked to be co-administrator of Save Live Export (a Facebook group created to bring awareness of “the other side of the story” and connect like-minded people), and also invited to be an administrator of Rural and Remote Australian Women (another Facebook group which acts as a virtual kitchen table to connect women who are otherwise isolated, either by location, family commitments etc.). I am the creator of another Facebook group called “Funny Farm” which acts as a meeting place for men and women across rural Australia, who are passionate about their industry, it’s a place to vent and brainstorm on how to protect and promote our lifestyle. I also run trivia nights in these Facebook groups for fun and laughter. My latest project has been a Facebook page and Twitter profile, Ask An Aussie Farmer – An idea grown by real Aussie farmers so that you have your food and fibre questions answered by those who produce it for you.

I have also been looking at ways to help bring awareness to children about agricultural industries. Teaching the next generation about food and fibre production is extremely important to me as today’s children are tomorrow’s decision makers. Last year I was offered as a “prize” to the winner and runner up of the Archibull Prize at the Ekka, and travelled to Brisbane to talk to primary school children about growing up and working on cattle stations.  I also do relief work at our local Kindergarten and with the blessing of the teacher, I often bring “show and tell” such as photos, raw cotton and YouTube clips to share with the children. I also encourage my own children to be “agvocators” which they are more than happy to do, sharing photos and stories with their teachers and classmates.


My beautiful children

To me “Strong Women” are women who lead the way for others, who have strength, courage and compassion. Not only are they leaders, but supporters of others as well.

For the past 12mths I have spent many hours on a computer encouraging people to fight for their livelihoods, to share their stories, to provide a place to laugh, cry and vent without judgment. I try at all times to lead by example, to try things out such as Twitter and Blogging, sharing my success, problems and solutions, to encourage others to follow in my footsteps (and some I have encouraged have embraced this and surpassed my efforts). I try and treat everyone with equal respect regardless if they share my views on a topic and encourage others to do so.

I used to lack “self-worth” when it came to the broader community. I felt like I didn’t have a driving passion, or a direction I wanted to head in. I felt that I didn’t contribute to anything outside of my immediate box. I was quite shy, found it very hard to approach strangers and found it very hard to be a leader. I was quite happy being a follower. In the past 12mths I have found something I’m good at and in turn encourage others to be passionate about the work they do in Rural Australia. I can now (still internally cringing) ring strangers such as media or industry bodies to promote Ask An Aussie Farmer. I have now been in many newspaper articles and radio interviews (each one with less stammering than the last). I also had a great fear of flying which I overcame to fly to Brisbane to talk to the school children (my first proper flight at the age of 30).

I have a lot to learn and a long way to go. I have been given some fantastic opportunities such as going to Brisbane, being invited to MLA’s pilot Social Media workshop, to be spokesperson for Ask An Aussie Farmer, being nominated for QRRRWN’s Strong Women Leadership Award, and being a Young Farming Champion. Each opportunity presents me with a bigger network, more confidence, more information and more will power. If I can pass these things on to more people, that is building a stronger rural Australia.

I asked the following question on the Facebook Group “Funny Farm”
Help….. am writing my Strong Women application. Would you say that in my work in promoting pages such as Save Live Export, RRAW and this page, I have helped people who are otherwise in isolated situations build strong networks and support groups?

The following are some of the responses I received (very overwhelming and humbling to say the least):

Scott Warrington (truck driver, sheep/cattle producer, father NSW): Yes. Also you have enlightened many people, that otherwise wouldn’t have known of said pages. Definitely aided people’s ability to network, with others across Australia.

Raelene Hall (grazier, mother, author, Chief Editor of ICPA Pedals Magazine WA)

A definite yes from me Kylie. I felt the isolation of where I live keenly as no others our age around, too far from town to get involved in things there so these groups have made me feel a) more a part of the pastoral industry b)that there are people all over Australia who will support each other in tough times and c) that we can make a difference.

Jo Bloomfield (grazier, mother, rural advocate NT): When the program 4c (Four Corners: A Bloody Business) first aired I spent the following week writing letters and basically going into panic as I honestly thought I was watching our very livelihood go down the drain. NTCA sent an email around to everyone to become more proactive and take part in the discussions that were happening on pages like Save Live export. From the first time I logged onto that page I felt for the first time after the public backlash of hate that there was support, there was a way forward without destroying my family and our community . Most importantly there were others out there who I could help and have so greatly helped me. Kylie Stretton was a major part of that, a person who’s views I respect, appreciate. Who is not only passionate but compassionate, fair and considers many facets of the arguments. most importantly her humour. Thanks Kylie, you are a special person.

Michael Trant (sheep farmer, live export depot operator, rural advocator and co-founder of Ask An Aussie Farmer WA)

The live export ban to Indonesia last year was the single handed most destructive piece of Government action I can remember seeing. The effect the snap decision had on the men and women who work in and depend on that trade cannot be under estimated. Overnight, fresh from the shock of seeing their cattle subjected to horrendous treatment in a handful of abattoirs, the industry was halted completely in its tracks, leaving the thousands of farmers, farm workers, truck drivers, vets, feed suppliers, yard owners, yard labours and their families not knowing what the future may bring.

Living in remote Australia has many benefits, which could fill this and many more pages. It also has it’s disadvantages. Isolation is the big one. We can’t just up and wander down to the main street of the nearest capital city to march in protest. We can’t strike. And trying to organise people spread out over thousands of miles into a single voice has been described to me as trying to herd cats.

I am not in the cattle game, but I am very reliant on the sheep live export. I could only imagine what the people who had cattle in the yards ready to go, or mustering choppers in the air with trucks rolling in, were going through. But it was so far away from me. Save for a few talkback callers on the radio, I didn’t know what was happening and how they were coping.

Back then, I wasn’t a big Facebook user, it was mainly to stay in touch with old school mates. On a whim, a searched for Live Export, and in amongst all the Ban this, Stop that, Shame this, stood out a Save Live Export page. I asked to join, and shortly my request was accepted.

That was my first contact with Kylie Stretton, one of the groups founding members.

In the weeks and months that followed, I witnessed something truly remarkable. Farmers, farm workers, truck drivers, vets, feed suppliers, yard owners, yard labours and their families were connecting with each other in a way I had not seen before nor imagined. Stories were told, advice given, rage vented and grief consoled. Ideas discussed, plans formulated, politicians lobbied and media contacted. Debates were had, fierce fiery debates on the opposing Facebook pages. Some might ask why, what’s the point of arguing with someone over the internet? Because for the first time, we can, we can put our view across. And maybe, just maybe, someone might listen.

In the middle of all this, was Kylie. Her enthusiasm was contagious. A relevant news article would be published and within minutes she’d have it posted in the group for all to see. An outlandish, incorrect and just plain wrong comment would be made online and she would point us to it, where we would set upon correcting a few things. How useful this was is unknown, but it made people feel they were doing something. Anything. Miles from nowhere, this was our best way to become involved.

Eventually, our governing bodies woke up to the fact that this online Social Media thing might just be useful, and began encouraging farmers to tell their story online to the masses. We were way ahead of them. From the Save Live Export group we have people on Twitter, blogging, and in March the Facebook Page Ask An Aussie Farmer was launched, a page where anyone can ask any question about food and fibre production, to be answered by farmers. Again, Kylies dedication, enthusiasm and willingness to put herself out into the mainstream media as our spokesperson is inspiring.

Kylies work gave people the outlet they were looking for, a place to meet likeminded individuals. Her research has given us facts to counter often hyper exaggerated claims. Her dedication has given us inspiration to venture from our comfort zones and stand up for what we believe in. And her humour has brought a smile to many, including myself. I have never met, nor even talked with Kylie, our contact is purely through messages over the internet, however I consider her a close friend who I am lucky to have met.

She is committed to rural Australia and I could not think of a more deserving person for this recognition.

My aim over the next few years is to bring more awareness about the importance of agriculture to the general public. I’m hoping to get more publicity for Ask An Aussie Farmer and for teachers and parents to be aware of it and to use it as a tool for educating the children in their care. We’d also like to get a fun website up and running to help promote our cause. I’d also like to be able to visit more schools and talk to students face to face.

My other aim is to continue helping others with social media, to help them tell their stories and continue administrating the FB groups I have, building larger and stronger connections. I have a lot to learn, and I feel that being awarded the QRRRRWN “Strong Women Leadership” Award will present me with so many opportunities. I feel it will provide me with stronger networks and education, which in turn I can pass on to others building stronger communities and a stronger Rural Australia.


We think Kylie embodies everything this award stands for Don’t you?

For more information on QRRRWN go to or phone 1300 795 571.

How much more can a Koala bear

Who caught the feature on Koalas on Four Corners tonight see “ Koala Krunch Time”

In key parts of Australia, koalas are dying in big numbers. In Queensland, New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory the attrition rate has been so high the Federal Government responded by placing koalas on the Threatened Species “at risk” list.

Well the Young Farming Champions and The Young Eco Champions in partnership with Illawarra Youth Landcare are taking up the challenge and getting actively involved in the quest to save the Koala


We are kick-starting this by holding our next training workshop at The Crossing Land Education Trust

As part of the workshop the team will be contributing to the Far South Coast Koala survey – vitally important survey work which is contributing to protecting a highly endangered koala population – the last on the Far South Coast. This will be done in partnership with NSW National Parks and Wildlife Service.

The Champions we will also be helping out with the establishment of a major koala corridor, linking areas of critical habitat and protecting sensitive estuarine environments. On top of all of this, they will get a chance to explore the Bermagui River by canoe on a guided adventure.

This is the most wonderful partnership on some many levels with one of our Young Eco Champions Heather Gow – Carey doing her honours thesis on Koala habitats and working with farmers to help connect the wildlife corridors that will give them a chance to survive and reproduce safely.

We will be taking our film production crew extraordinaire of Tay Plain and Ann Burbrook with us so we can get some great footage to share with you.

Exciting times

Check out this cute video on how they feed the baby Koalas at the Great Ocean Ecolodge in Victoria

Little feet big dreams

It give me great pleasure to introduce you to Art4agriculture’s latest Young Eco Champion

This is the Renae Riviere story………


My name is Renae.  I’ve only got little feet, but I’ve walked a lot of miles in the Australian bush and I’ve paddled a lot of rivers. My favourite river to paddle is the Franklin River in Tasmania. It is a pristine and genuine wilderness area and one of my dreams is for it to be like that forever.

You can spend ten days travelling down it and not see another soul except your paddling mates. Then you merge with the Gordon River to the place where the Blockade took place and you imagine what it was like to be there – and you quietly thank the people who cared enough to stand up, fight and win, so that those of us who are adventurous enough can see and enjoy it for ourselves and those that aren’t can just rest happily knowing that it is there.


Me on the Franklin River

I grew up in the Victorian town of Bannockburn; back then it was a town where everyone knew everyone and in the holidays and on weekends the kids would all head out to play after breaky and not come home until sunset. Our parents didn’t worry because they knew if we were being naughty or hurt ourselves they would find out from someone else in the community before we got home anyway.

Most Saturdays our family would pack the kids up and we would meet our friends and their families out in “the bush”. First thing the kids would do is get the bikes out and take off and make jumps and race around the dirt tracks; we’d only come back when the BBQ was cooked. Then we’d take off again.


Me on my bike at Teesdale

DSCF8013 (1)

The Dog Rocks – This is the landscape I grew up in

Buidling cubby with my brother

Me and my bro building a cubby

Renae and Lisa with Koala

My friend Lisa and I hanging out with a koala that called our front yard home for a few months one summer

Fishing at Rocklands

Fishing at Rocklands on a camping trip

In high school my friends and I thought we were going to save the world – we formed a group and called ourselves Students Against World Destruction (SAWD); we screen printed our own t-shirts, we washed cars to raise money for Greenpeace to Save the Whales, we held screenings of documentaries on the whale slaughter, we went and planted shelter belts on local farms and we went out weeding in the You Yangs. The teacher who inspired us and helped us organise our trips was unwavering in his support and that is something I really appreciate to this day. I think empowering young people to feel like they can and are making a difference is worth more than gold. ( we are with you on that one Renae)

I left school and went onto study a Diploma in Outdoor Leadership (Recreation) at TAFE in the small town of Eildon in Victoria. Eildon is a pretty tiny town right at the base of a huge dam – everyone knew everyone and there was never a shortage of people to go on an adventure with. It was here that my already adventurous spirit and passion for the environment was really nurtured. “Study” for us mostly involved going white water rafting, bush walking, canoeing and rock climbing. After the first year we were qualified enough to take groups of school students out on their High School Outdoor Education trips; anything from 3 to 10 days of walking, paddling, climbing and camping. This is where I learned the power of our natural environment as a teaching and learning tool.

I spent 6 years in this role educating kids in the bush; which pretty much equates to 6 years living in a tent. I learnt a lot about myself and about people in general during this time. Kids usually reject the bush at first, but after a day or so they start to get into its rhythm and really start to make a connection with it; they usually leave a little bit quieter than when they came.

Chris and Renae

My buddy Chris and I taking a bunch of kids on off the beaten track on a 9 day expedition out past the Larapinta Trail in NT. (Ridiculous hats were a must!)

Henry and Renae

Henry and I took a group of uni students from the states on a trip out to Fraser Island in QLD.

Somewhere in the middle here I moved to the Blue Mountains and then to Wollongong’s northern suburbs and upon arriving in Wollongong I decided that this was my home from now on. I absolutely love it here and can’t imagine living anywhere else.

Did I mention that I love to snowboard?? Well I do! So after living in a tent for 6 years I went to live in Japan for 1 year. I spent 6 months snowboarding in Hokkaido and the rest of the time teaching English on the island of Shikoku. I absolutely love the culture of Japan and how incredibly different it is to ours. I guess when I went there I thought (like most people do) that Japan is all cities, but it’s not; there are some really amazing wild areas there and I loved exploring them.

Iya Valley Japan

Iya Valley, Japan

Kyoto Japan

Kyoto Japan


Oh, and the snow was AWESOME!


My first day snowboarding in Japan

Fresh Powder

Early morning chair lift to the summit for fresh powder!

After Japan, I came back to work in Outdoor and Environmental Education on the South Coast for a few years and whilst I loved it still, I felt like I needed to unpack my bags and put the tent away for a while. I tried various things; working at TAFE, driving a community bus, working in Out of School Care, having extended holidays and then I landed a job at Conservation Volunteers Australia.

CVA is Australasia’s largest practical conservation organisation; with 21 offices in Australia and 4 in NZ and after holding almost every role that the office has to offer, 4 years later I am now the Regional Manager of the Illawarra/Shoalhaven Office.

What I love about my job is that I feel like I get to roll all of my work experiences into one here; I get to work in my local community with people from all ages and walks of life, I get to educate people on the importance of conserving our natural assets and I get to empower them to act.

My role has a bit of everything in it; I manage staff, projects, budgets and the day to day operation of our office. I apply for funding, and I am always on the lookout for new and exciting ways to get people involved in our projects. I work with a variety of land managers; helping them to achieve their environmental goals. I also have the opportunity to dream up my own projects and seek out funding to make them happen. I get out in to the field leading the team of volunteers at our Tom Thumb Lagoon project and our student volunteer program once a week too.

There’s other perks to my job too! Working with CVA gave me the amazing opportunity to take a group of volunteers to Turkey to work at and be part of the ANZAC commemorative services at Gallipoli this year, which was the opportunity of a lifetime.

Walkers Ridge Anzac Cove Gallipoli

Me at Walkers Ridge above ANZAC Cove, Gallipoli

War Heroes

I made friends with some local war heroes.

Fav Sweets

Ate LOADS of my favourite sweets

Athletics Track

And learnt a bit about ancient history. This is an old school athletics track!

The other thing I really enjoy is a good road trip and big vast landscapes; I love heading to places where after an hour or so, you have red dust through everything; it’s coming out the air vents in the car, it’s up your nose, your clothes are dirty…it really reminds me of where I come from and what an incredible country we have.

I like to sit and look out and see land and oceans that go forever and I want to make sure that they are healthy and here for everyone to enjoy. Forever.

Road to Ilfracombe – outback QLD

The road to Ilfracombe – outback QLD

Barcaldine Nature trail – outback QLD

On my way to check out the Barcaldine Nature trail – outback QLD

Fraser Island

Fraser Island


Checking out the view from the dinosaur dig near Winton – Outback QLD


On the way to the summit of Mount Fuji, Japan.

We at Art4Agriculture are thrilled to be able to offer Renae many more opportunities to realise her dreams

Archies at the Ekka

The Young Farming Champions visited the Ekka last Sunday and were thrilled to catch up with the Meat and Livestock Australia Target 100 stand which featured 8 QLD primary school painting Archies at the Royal Brisbane Show (Ekka)

The challenge was to use the Target 100 initiative and Red Meat Green Facts as inspiration for each school to come up with a design that they would then paint on a life-size fibreglass cow at the EKKA

The judges were looking for designs that illustrated the ambitions of Target 100 and the commitment that Australian cattle and sheep farmers have to their animals and the environment.

and the end result  what can I say but WOW WOW WOW

Ekka Winner

The wining Archie with judges Pip McConachie – Community Engagement Manager MLA, Carlee Hay – Education Manager RNA and Stacey Milners – Media and Comms Manager Agforce

The wining cow was painted by Kingaroy State School, with Zillmere State School coming in second and third  was Morningside State School 

Zilmere - second

The wonderful second prize effort from Zillmere State School with the judges  

The event was coordinated by the gorgeous Heidi Brunker pictured here with the winning cow

Heidi MG_4602

and just to show you the depth of the talent check this entry out


Archies Getting a big welcome in NSW schools

All 20 NSW schools involved in this year’s Archibull Prize have welcomed their Archies with a fanfare

Archie Registers

Archie registers for classes at Shoalhaven High School

Wyong High School  (2)

Archie gets a tour of the school at Wyong High School

Abbottsleigh  (1)

Archie meets the chooks at Abbotsleigh College

As part of the program this year students will be investigate a number of factors contributing to hunger worldwide. They will have the opportunity  to manipulate and make sense of data about feeding 9 billion people worldwide.
In this way:
• Students will understand how hunger is quantified and how hunger, poverty, and the ability to afford food are intertwined.
• Students will learn about one country’s approach to reducing hunger and evaluate the usefulness of that model for other countries.
• Students will use data to develop hypotheses and evaluate alternatives.

Cant wait to see what next gen bright minds come up with to help solve the world’s wicked problems can you?

The herd has arrived

Exciting news at Art4agriculuture HQ 20 NSW schools have signed on to participate in the Archibull Prize 2012. 

The Archibull Prize is an Art4Agriculture initiative which is supported by Cotton Australia, Australian Wool Innovation, Target 100, Pauls and the Upper Naomi Cotton Growers Association. The aim of the Archibull Prize is to bring the next generation of consumers and rural producers together to tell Agriculture’s story and generate two way conversations through art and multimedia

Each school has been provided with a life size fibreglass cow on which the students create an artwork about their allocated food or fibre industry, the farmers who produce it and how this food or fibre is being produced sustainably. The school is also provided with paint materials and a resource kit.

Each school is also allocated a Young Farming Champion whose area of expertise is the food or fibre industry the school is studying.

One of the big features of the program is its a fun way to learn and we ask the students to capture those moments with their cameras along the way.

Here is one way it was done in 2008 by Kiama Public School who created the masterpiece that is Little Miss Sunshine





Little Miss Sunshine



Little Miss Sunshine at the Lighthouse

Little Miss Sunshine visits the Kiama Lighthouse


I am confident the 2012 participating schools will have just as much fun and I cant wait to see the photos

A big congratulations to the following schools:

Abbotsleigh College

Camden Haven High School

Caroline Chisholm College

Cranebrook High School

De La Salle College Caringbah

Elizabeth Macarthur High School

Gunnedah High School

Hills Adventist College

Homebush Boys High School

James Ruse Agriculture High School

Jamison High School

Macarthur Anglican School

Menai High School

Model Farms High School

Muirfield High School

Shoalhaven High School

St Michael’s Catholic School

Tuggerah Lakes Secondary College Berkeley Vale Campus

Winmalee High School

Wyong High School

You learn something new everyday

This weekend Art4agriculture hosted the 2012 Young Farming Champions for Workshop 2 in Brisbane.

We chose Brisbane as the venue to coincide with the Ekka. All the moons were aligned  including our superstar videographer Tay Plain being in the country and able to join us for the full three days.

I will do a blog post on the workshop component shortly but first I would like to share our Ekka big day out with you Tay and Ann IMG_4584

Tay and Ann set up at the Ekka

It started with breakfast at Southbank…….

Breakfast at Denim atI South Bank MG_4238 

We did the smart thing and picked the restaurant with most patrons ( well done Kirsty) and we weren’t disappointed with what Denim dished up for us. Those large lattes in the soup bowls were to die for.

As we had Tay our videographer whizz and and our producer, script writer extraordinaire Ann Burbrook both with us at the same time  we were determined to share as much of the Ekka agriculture story as we could.

a Jess and Tom IMG_4593

Tom and Jess at the Dairy Youth Challenge

Using our 2012 Young Farming Champions as both “talent, producers and interviewers” we spent the day  learning from each other, other exhibitors and the punters.

Sammi IMG_4423

Sammi gets up close and personal with the Woolley Jumpers

Lauren Hayden IMG_4450

Lauren, Hayden, Ann and Tay set up the sheep shearing story


Madie IMG_4519

Madie spruiked the Archibull Prize

Kathleen and Lauren IMG_4439

Kathleen and Lauren talked all things fleece

Water a Gold Medal Resource with a Price tag to Match IMG_4299

Kylie discovered that bottled water was liquid gold at the Ekka


We tasted the prime beef which we washed down with Ekka cocktails


Jess IMG_4310

Jess made new friends

and we all discovered much to our delight that the general public where not the least bit concerned about dining in the paddock to plate experience


We visited Heidi at the Ekka Target 100 display which featured QLD primary schools painting Archies at the show 


Ann and Jersey Calf IMG_4363

Ann found the perfect house cow

Steph F IMG_4279

Steph inspired Next Gen F at the Junior District Exhibits

Bess and Edison IMG_4470

We even met the famous @auscottongirl Bess Gairns with her new pride and joy

Megan IMG_4526

Megan talked a lot of bull


and the bulls did a little dance

Little MiraclesNew borns

This was a very interesting concept. No lambs were born whilst we were there so we didn’t get to gauge audience reaction!!! 

It was a great day but sadly every now and then, thankfully in the very small minority there was an industry naysayer determined to ruin the day. There was the whinging beef stud breeder who just couldn’t understand why his animals had to share the showground with non stud breeders. Yes that’s right the general public. Yes you heard right. The most important people in the food supply chain. Yes he was lucky enough to have that once a year opportunity to talk to and share his story with the people who buy what he produces and he them found quite irritating. 

Then there was the guy in the dairy shed I just wanted to hit over the head when I found out later he told the YFC’s they were wasting their time talking to non farmer audiences.  

But nothing dampened the spirit of the YFC’s. Today they are back on farm or at uni organising school visits and media interviews doing whatever it takes to continue the  journey and spread the great story of agriculture across all the bridges.


It warms the cockles of my heart

As part of the 2012 Archibull Prize the students are asked to write a weekly blog post with 5 compulsory elements. One compulsory post asks them to reflect on world hunger and innovate initiatives by first world countries to make a real difference in third world countries

I love this one  


How it works……  

Youth Education Farms (YEF) is a Canadian federally registered charity that develops and manages commercial farms located in rural Swaziland. Profits from each farm are used to fund elementary and high school tuition fees for orphans. In exchange for their tuition fees, YEF students attend the YEF educational course to learn basic life skills such as AIDS prevention, business skills and career planning. Upon graduation, YEF will provide graduates with loans to allow them to continue their education at the post-secondary level or create their own businesses with the guidance of the YEF management team.
Youth Education Farms was founded based on a belief that each and every one of us has the power and, in turn, the responsibility to help those in need realize their dreams and fulfill their highest potential. With the establishment of farming operations, YEF will not only create employment opportunities, foodstuffs and infrastructure, but it will give Swazi youth hope for a better future- one where they are entitled to an education, can believe that their dreams will come true, and one where HIV/AIDS isn’t the inevitable demise. YEF will ensure that children are not only educated academically, but that they also have the tools to succeed in life outside of the educational setting. These extracurricular tools will be afforded via career, academic and personal planning classes, as well as financial grants so that they have the means to achieve their aspirations.It is our responsibility to help ensure that the people of Swaziland are not eradicated by the HIV/AIDS epidemic plaguing their country. We believe that the solution to this problem begins in the classroom. Every donation made will go towards establishing a sustainable stream of revenue to directly fund the education of the orphans of Swaziland. These children, who are the most at risk, will have the opportunity to end the systemic eradication of a generation. These children will be the future of a healthy and vibrant Swaziland. Youth Education Farms is not a cure, but simply a pre-emptive tool of prevention; no child should be left to forge for themselves, nor should they be left to a seemingly inevitable fate that befell their parents- the lost generation.
For more information see

Love to hear from any readers who know of similar community good efforts

Can you sci-ku?

Here is a great little competition in honour of Australian Year of the Farmer

Starts on Saturday 30 June 2012 & ends Sunday 19 August 2012.
Location: The Science Exchange. Program: Great Big Science Read, Book Club.

Can you sci-ku?

RiAus is delighted to present its third annual sci-ku poetry competition.

This year we’re looking for sci-kus with a farming or agricultural theme in recognition of 2012 being  the Australian Year of the Farmer. Unleash your inner poet by submitting your best science haiku. Read a sciku by Glenn McGrath.

There are great prizes up for grabs and winning entries will be displayed on the LED ribbon artwork on the outside of the Science Exchange.

This competition is part of Great Big Science Read 2012 and National Science Week 2012.

What is Sci-ku?

Inspired by the Japanese haiku, sci-ku is a short three-line poem about sciences. Sci-ku is a small, modest and humble poem that depicts the everyday world around us, aiming to give a flash of insight into that world — like a scientific ‘Eureka!’ moment expressed briefly in words.

Sci-ku Criteria

Each poem must have a thematic link to farming or agriculture and not exceed the three-line maximum. Syllable counts are not relevant. Each entrant is invited to submit a maximum of three sci-kus.


You can submit in one of three categories:

Primary (12 years and under), secondary (13-18 inclusive) or open (no age limit). Please make it clear in which category you are entering when you submit your sci-ku.

The Rules

All poems must be original, unpublished works (in print or online) by the poet entering the competition.

All entries must be received by Sunday 19 August 2012 or be date stamped Thursday 16 August 2012 at the latest.

No poems will be returned.

The judges’ decision is final; no correspondence will be entered into.

The Prizes

1st prize winners in each category will receive a Kindle e-Reader.

2nd & 3rd prizes will be awarded in each category, with prizes of $50 and $20 worth of book vouchers, respectively.

1st, 2nd & 3rd prize winners in each category will see their sci-ku and name in lights on the RiAus ribbon artwork on the exterior of the Science Exchange in Adelaide.

1st, 2nd & 3rd prizes (and other selected entries) will be published on the RiAus website.

Need some inspiration?

Browse the winning sci-kus from 2011!

Science poetry has been around for a while. In 1984 New South Wales physicist J. W. V. Storey published his academic paper as a poem in The Proceedings of the Astronomical Society of Australia. Read his poem on Brain Pickings.

Sci-ku Entry Form

Enter the third annual sci-ku poetry competition to be in the running for some great prizes!

    Visit to enter