Sydney Royal Easter Show prize winning display explores the sacrifice, loss and hope of women on the land during WW1.

Hurlstone Agricultural High School has started 2015 with a big bang taking out the first prize award in the School’s District Exhibit display at the 2015 Sydney Royal Easter Show with their beautiful display entitled VALEDICTION

The Schools District Exhibit competition has the dual purpose of showcasing talented young people and their team work from NSW schools as well as identifying, encouraging and mentoring young people to feed into the iconic District Exhibit Display teams.


 Hurlstone Agricultural High School was also the winner of the 2014 Archibull Prize and you can see their Archie on display in the Food Farm with all the other finalists

In fact 1st, 2nd and 3rd prizes in the Schools District Exhibit competition where all taken out by schools who are long time participants in the Archibull Prize. So a big congratulations also goes to Muirfield High School and Menai High School

Here is the beautiful story behind Valediction

Valediction explores the sacrifice, loss and hope of women during WW1. Mothers, wives, daughters and sisters farewelled the men in their lives as they made their way to the “Great War”. They said their goodbyes in the knowledge that it may well be their final farewell. Arguably the most devastating cost of war is emotional, yet until recently, it has been the most seldom told.

Valediction is the act of farewelling someone. This display explores the intangible, emotional effects of war. A woman grieves for her husband who will not return as her son leaves the family farm in his uniform to meet his fate. She holds a photograph of her husband. The notice advising her of his death floats to the floor.


Bundles of letters wrapped in red ribbon are nostalgic links to the past. Red is repeated in the poppies; a symbolic reference to the blood stained ground of the battlefields also alluding to regeneration and hope. This idea is layered by utilising poppy seeds in the construction of the landscape and in the sign at the front of the exhibit.

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The white feather, a symbol of cowardice, is included in the display as it prompted many boys and men to enlist and leave home. This reference is extended by creating wings with white feathers that hang next to the slouch hat; simultaneously alluding to mortality and spirituality.

Women were left to manage the farms. The green of the land starts to engulf the body of the mourning figure as she becomes responsible for its cultivation.

The juxtaposition of patriotism and domestic responsibilities is explored; seeking balance where none could exist. Farmers who had strong, intimate connections with the land lost the opportunity to pass down their invaluable knowledge. Family traditions faltered. Women took responsibility for sustaining traditions, livelihoods, stock, crops and indeed… nourishing the nation.

A Field of Remembrance takes out the big prize at the 2015 Sydney Royal Easter Show

Have you ever had a big picture vision and just needed the right people to come along at the right time to help you make it all happen? We at Art4Agriculture have been lucky enough to have met a few of those in the last 6 years who are superstars in their own right

Let me re-introduce you to two people, Craig and Wendy Taylor, who have cemented themselves well and truly in archives that detail the watershed defining moments of Art4Agriculture and The Archibull Prize. You can read how this very important partnership began here

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The Central District Exhibit display that officially launched The Archibull Prize in 2010

As you will see from the background story and this recent story in the Sydney Morning Herald Craig and Wendy are the designers of the Central District Exhibit display at the Sydney Royal Easter Show

On behalf of the Art4Agriculture team and people everywhere who flock to the show and see these magnificent displays as their first point of call I want to congratulate Craig and Wendy and their team for taking out the well-deserved FIRST PRIZE accolade at the 2015 Sydney Royal Easter Show

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This is the beautiful story behind the winning exhibit


For the 2015 Central District Exhibit at the Sydney Royal Easter Show, we have elected to commemorate 100 years since the Anzac landings at Gallipoli in 1915. We want to portray this theme primarily through the act of ‘Remembrance’.

Our focus is to use distinctive elements in a quiet, respectful and dignified manner. We want to honour those that fought, their sacrifices and the legacy which they have created in Australia today.

The most recognisable elements commemorating the Anzac landings which are seen in modern Anzac Day ceremonies are all used in the display. These are:

  • An Australian Soldier playing the sombre melody of the “Last Post” in the quiet dawn light,
  • A field of red poppies blowing in the breeze. Red poppies have been used at such ceremonies since 1921, and are even said to have been used since the time of Genghis Khan to commemorate the sacrifice made soldiers who died in war. These poppies visually evoke the Western Front, as the scarlet corn poppy (Papaver rhoeas) was one of the first and most distinctive plants to spring up in the disturbed earth of the battlefields. The poppy was also present at Gallipoli and according to official war historian C.E.W.Bean a valley south of Anzac beach was named Poppy Valley. This poppy is now known as “the Flanders poppy” and is seen commonly at both Remembrance and Anzac Day services around the world.
  • The most well-known  stanza of “The Ode of Remembrance”  from the 1914 poem called “For the Fallen” by Laurence Binyon. The reading of the fourth verse has become an intrinsic part of Anzac Day services in Australia and many other parts of the world. “They shall not grow old, as we that are left grow old: Age shall not weary them, nor the years condemn. At the going down of the sun and in the morning We will remember them.”
  • The simple and emotional words known to all Australians, “Lest We Forget”.

On the deck, the fruit, vegetables, grasses and grains form an undulating carpet beneath the poppies and create the base of the field. This patchwork of produce showcases the wide variety of colours, shapes, sizes and textures seen in the agricultural products grown in our area. From the front of the display to the back, the produce is prolific, generous and colourful. The poppies and the produce below them form a consistent and coherent agricultural image.

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A pictorial of how the winning District Exhibit came together in 2015

Well done Craig and Wendy we know how much thought, love and passion ( and sometimes tears) go into making these display happen – You are both indeed Legends

Big Dreams Going Places Driving Change

Over the next twelve months Australia’s latest outstanding on-line magazine Leading Agriculture will feature stories about our Art4Agriculture Young Farming Champions with big dreams who are going places and driving change

Today we share with you Josh Gilbert;s story in Leading Agriculture Issue 5 

Josh Gilbert Leading Agriculture

Josh Gilbert is an ideas man with a knack for turning his dreams into reality.

 Chair of the NSW Young Farmers’ Council, an Art4Agriculture Young Farming Champion, Woolworths Agriculture Business Scholarship alumni, RAS Rural Achiever, current finalist in the NSW Indigenous Young Achiever Awards, a Bachelor of Commerce graduate from the University of Newcastle, and currently completing a Bachelor of Law; the successes that define Josh Gilbert’s professional life have not come by chance or luck. They are the result of planning, determination and hard work.

Josh has big dreams for agriculture.

A constant influence in his desire to succeed, he says, is his Aboriginal heritage: “I look over the land where my family farm [on the NSW Mid North Coast] and know that’s where my ancestors were thousands of years ago. Knowing there is that connection to the land is something I feel wholeheartedly. I get this vibe whenever I’m there… looking after the land so that I can share that with future generations is something I’m passionate about achieving results for.”

Josh’s family run one of Australia’s most southern Braford cattle studs, on the banks on the Wallamba River on a parcel of land subdivided from what was once Josh’s grandfather’s dairy farm.

But Josh was dreaming of a fast paced, city based career in law and accounting, and it wasn’t until midway through his university studies that something changed.

 “I had an idea that I wanted to combine my love of the law and accounting with my love of farming,

I wanted to be able to take my future children back to the farm and show them the lifestyle I had when I was growing up. At the time NSW Young Farmers was working on its youth finance scheme and I thought that I could use my skills to help out while also gaining more understanding myself as to how to enter the industry.”

It was January 2013. As a NSW Young Farmers’ member Josh attended the AGM and was immediately elected to the Council. In May that year he tagged along on a farm production tour around Armidale, mixing with young farmers and sharing agricultural knowledge; Josh’s mind was ticking over.

 “I had an absolute blast. I was driving home and just decided that from then on agriculture was the way to go and that I’d still finish my law degree, but completely change the direction I was heading, towards agriculture.”

In early 2014 Josh was elected as Council Chair. Since then he has travelled to New Zealand for the Rural Bachelor competition, opened a community park, spoken at the NSW Farmers Annual Conference as well as many local and state events.

This year NSW Young Farmers’ is focusing on local level events across regional areas. On May 9, the Riverina town of Hay will play host to the first ‘Dinner in the Dark’. A social opportunity to boost the spirits of drought affected farming families, the event combines the themes of Earth Hour and climate change with rural mental health.

“It’s an idea I’ve been toying with for a while, to get farmers to come off the land, have a good feed by candle light, watch a movie and help destigmatize mental health and building the support networks for farmers who might be struggling,”

“I really hope that when we have the one in Hay the community will keep it going as a fundraiser for the local community in later years when the seasons are better. If it goes well we hope to do two or three more in western NSW and perhaps into Queensland as well.”

Also on the agenda this year, Josh has been working with national manager of Earth Hour at WWF Australia, Anna Rose, on a cookbook showcasing the stories of 50 farmers from around Australia and recipes inspired by the food they produce.

“I was asked to talk about some of the interesting ways that young farmers are responding to climate change and sustainability on their farms, with the extra university education many young farmers have today,.

I thought about what we’re doing on our family farm and the variations we’ve seen since we owned it. I also talk about Art4Agriculture and some of the NSW Young Farmers’ initiatives and what we’re doing with the Climate Champions and Future Farmers.Network”

Josh met Anna through his role as an Art4Agriculture MLA Young Farming Champion (YFC), and credits the YFC program for the skills sets it teaches and connections it creates.

“The YFC workshops taught me great communication and media skills, improved my presentation abilities, and broadened my thinking across ideas such as social licencing and how we market agriculture to consumers,”

“Art4Agriculture is really passionate about connecting its YFCs with the movers and shakers of the world – people who can inspire, build confidence and connect you with other likeminded people. It provides a lifetime mentoring service and has given me access to people and opportunities I would never have had otherwise,” Josh says.

Along the way, Josh seizes every chance to gather knowledge from mentors and peers:

“Amazing people who are kicking goals.”

“I talk to them about how they’ve done it so I can try to share that with other young farmers,”

Anna Rose was behind the successful ABC documentary series ‘Can I change your mind about Climate Change?’ so Josh has sought her advice on the possibility of producing a similar agricultural themed series.

“I think there’s a great opportunity for farmers to do a ‘Can I change your mind about Animal Welfare?’ series, where we take animal activists onto our farms and actually show them and the viewers what we do on farms, how we do treat our animals – basically being more transparent with our consumers in a way that we haven’t really had a lot of access to in the past.”

Josh is also planning to release his own pod cast series. Featuring interviews from various agricultural and business experts each month, Josh hopes ‘Tractor Talks’ will be available on iTunes by April/May.

“I listen to a lot of podcasts and I think it’s a good opportunity for farmers while they’re out on the tractor harvesting or driving around to listen to some business ideas from influential people in agriculture and learn something that they can practically apply to their business at home,”

Achieving these ideas means of a routine akin to that of an elite athlete in training. The new year has brought with it Josh’s ‘2015 Regime’ involving early starts, listening to his favourite entrepreneurial podcasts, working on Tractor Talks, full-time work and study.

 “How do I achieve things? I break down the goals. I plan very long term and then try to work those plans back to now and everything that needs to be done in the next few months. Then I just work as hard as I can towards that

“I’m really set on what I want to achieve so I always try to make the time to knock out the big ideas. If it means that I don’t get much sleep for a week then that’s just how it is… because I know that the return will have a big impact for agriculture and also me personally.”

High on the list of Josh’s big ambitions is to one day buy back all the farm land his great grandparents once owned in Bundook. As a reminder of what he’s working towards, he visits as often as possible.

“That’s where my family heritage is. I  really enjoy speaking with the Elders of the local Aboriginal Lands Council about the way things have changed and ideas of how I can achieve the best results for both [them and agriculture].”

When overlooking the prime farm land and happy stud cattle, Josh sees a history that is thousands of years in the making. And a future that is well within reach.

Young Farming Champions with an appetite for change are dressed to impress

You never know where one of our Young Farming Champions will pop up next

Josh and Tom at Parliament House

YFC Josh Gilbert and Tom Tourle dressed to impress at Parliament House in Canberra

This week Beef and Cattle Young Farming Champion Josh Gilbert and Wool Young Farming Champion Tom Tourle have hit the bush capital along with seven leading farmers and three environmentalists  who are taking their climate concerns to Parliament House tomorrow.

Creating a very powerful and compelling partnership in an exciting collaboration between two sectors who haven’t always met in the middle and at times have been at loggerheads the team will have robust conversations with Australia’s top decision-makers at Parliament House in Canberra about the devastating impacts of climate change on food and farms

The plan was spun by nine farmers featured in the Planet to Plate cookbook  (released this month as part of Earth Hour on Saturday March 28) and made possible by the team behind Earth Hour Australia.

Not only will the delegation speak with Australia’s top decision makers about the impact of climate change on food and farming they will also deliver 226 copies of the new Earth Hour Planet to Plate cookbook – one to each MP and Senator – which is packed with climate stories from 50 Aussie farmers and information from scientists about how climate change is affecting farming and rural communities.

“9 farmers, 226 politicians and one key message- climate change is impacting our food production and something needs to be done now,” Josh Gilbert said.

“The opportunity to discuss the real climate change impacts we are experiencing on our farms to the leaders of our country is incredible,” he said.

“Backed by leading scientists from Australia and extraordinary showcases of Australian food production on our farms, we believe our stories have the ability to change the government’s stance on climate change forever.

“That proposition is breathtaking, especially to be able to change the world for future generations.”

Earth Hour Australia said the farmers will be sharing their stories to highlight that “climate change is not just an issue that people in urban areas care about, but one that resonates strongly with people from the bush.”

“We will be encouraging politicians to aim higher when it comes to cutting pollution and making the swap to renewable energy,” the team said.

Among the delegation are some of agriculture’s most noted and inspirational names, including 2014 Dairy Farmer of the Year, Greg Dennis, and ‘Climate Champion’ and sheep and cropping farmer Peter Holding.

Owner-operator of Scenic Rim 4Real Milk at Tamrookum, Qld, Mr Dennis said sustainable agriculture is a two way street. “The farmer’s conscience in day to day operations have grown considerably in recent years,” he said.

“We now pay attention to our impact on climate change, with equal respect to the impact of climate change on us – and our subsequent management decisions.”

On Mr Dennis’s family farm 77 kW of solar panels are currently being stalled, reducing the reliance of fossil fuel power sources by almost 50pc. “Our individual actions…as a collective agricultural community, will play a major role into the foreseeable future,” Mr Dennis said.

Peter Holding farms merino ewes, canola and wheat on the south west slopes of NSW, and set up his own local Landcare group 15 years ago.  Mr Holding said climate change is damaging farming in his local area and across Australia.

“The problem is becoming more urgent every day: even though we’re in one of the best areas of NSW for rainfall (at Harden), we’re now sitting on the edge of an encroaching drought.” Mr Holding said.

“I just don’t know how people are going to survive it – it’s such a serious problem that it’s getting past the need for a polite discussion about it,” he said.

“Agriculture is the lifeblood of rural Australia; it helps keep communities together and alive. But it’s not taken seriously enough because it’s not as sexy as mining.”

Josh and Tom with Joel Fitzgibbon

Josh and Tom meet with Shadow Minster for Agriculture Joel Fitzgibbon MP

Proud of you team @art4ag YFC #appetiteforchange #drivingchange

Turn out the lights and celebrate our farmers and the food they produce

Got plans for Saturday night? Let’s hang out with the lights out!

Millions of Aussies will turn off the lights for Earth Hour on Saturday March 28, and this year’s theme celebrates our fantastic Aussie food and farmers!

The Art4Agriculture Young Farming Champions are calling on all Aussie farmers to get involved by hosting or joining an Earth Hour event or getting active on social media with the hashtag #appetiteforchange

At 8.30pm local time 1 in 3 Aussies will turn off the lights in support for Aussie farmers.

We think that’s a vital audience for Australian agriculture and a huge opportunity to generate momentum and support for farmers facing the challenges of producing food under increasingly variable climatic conditions.

Farmers have already teamed up with Earth Hour Australia in some exciting ways for this event:

  • The ‘Planet to Plate: The Earth Hour Cookbook’ is a beautiful compilation of recipes from 50 of the nation’s top celebrity chefs using the best of Aussie produce, showcased alongside the real climate stories of 48 Aussie farmers. A celebration of food and farming, this amazing cookbook is available here:

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  • The 20 minute Earth Hour Documentary will screen on Channel Ten and Google live-stream on March 28, broadcasting stories of the farmers on the front-line of climate change straight into the homes of all Australians.

Let’s get our Ag industry bodies involved too!

Get on Facebook and ‘Like’ the Legendairy and The Dairy Kitchen Facebook communities who are supporting the Aussie Dairy Farmers featured in the Plant to Plate Cookbook by sharing their stories, photos and delicious dairy recipes from the book with their 20,000 plus Facebook followers.

Earth Hour is about all Aussie produce and farmers, so let’s get behind them and join in on March 28!

What can you do?

  1. Start your own event or find one near you:
  2. Or check out ideas for kid-friendly events:
  3. Buy some fresh and local Aussie produce to enjoy on the day
  4. Post a photo on social media using the hashtag #appetiteforchange

    … and remember to turn out the lights!

News Flash

Join Young Farming Champion Anika Molesworth as she brings the community together to celebrate Earth Hour and food and farmers in Broken Hill on March 28th 2015

Come down to The Palace Hotel to celebrate Earth Hour Australia and have a cool drink after standing in the election line! Lots of fun and education to be had!

Australia is a nation of food lovers. Almost 4 million of us tune into reality food shows like Masterchef and My Kitchen Rules, and farmers are amongst the voices we most trust. However, Australia’s agricultural industry is extremely vulnerable to the impacts of climate change. The environment of the far west of NSW is projected to become increasingly hotter and drier, making food and fibre production more challenging.

This year, Broken Hill is getting behind Earth Hour, in order to raise community awareness of climate change and show support for those working in the food and fibre industries.

Earth Hour Broken Hill will take place the iconic Palace Hotel on the 28th of March.

This year Earth Hour will release a documentary on farming in the Murray Darling basin, to bring to life the stories of Aussie farmers on the front lines of global warming. This 20 minute film will screen in The Palace Hotel’s Pavilion Room from 8:30pm.

Visit here for more information