Inviting young people aged 10 to 24 to join the Young Environmental Champions program

 

A new primary and secondary school program offered by Action4Agriculture (A4A) in 2023 will support young Australians to be agents of change to embed sustainability thinking and actions in our way of life. The Empowering Young Environmental Champions Challenge will be delivered in Greater Sydney and the Hunter in Term One and in Riverina Murray and South East/ Tablelands in Term Two – and now is the time for teachers and students to get on board.

The 10-week, curriculum-aligned program is open to young people in NSW primary schools in Stage 3 and secondary schools in Stage 4& 5 who strive to be advocates for environmental and social issues important to them, their schools and their communities. See regions where program has been funded in 2023 here

Participants in the program will:

  • Attend a design-thinking workshop to brainstorm project ideas and action plans
  • Learn skills to improve their wellbeing, resilience and mental health
  • Be trained and mentored on the value of diversity, proactive listening/hearing skills and applied empathy
  • Network with experts and mentors
  • Visit relevant local community projects
  • Share their own community project

A broad range of regionally based experts, including young role models from the agricultural sector, known as Young Farming Champions (YFC), will ensure the program is youth led, co-designed and actively incorporates the voices of young people from design to delivery. Professional learning opportunities will be provided for teachers.

 

The program will culminate with a day of celebration where students will have the chance to pitch their projects, workshop their next steps as capacity builders and develop leadership pathways.

 

Thousands of young people and their schools have benefitted from Action4Agriculture programs, as was evidenced in the recent NSW Sustainability Awards. St Brigid’s Primary School, Raymond Terrace (Kreative Koalas participant) was the Young Climate Champion Winner with the Centre of Excellence in Agricultural Education (Kreative Koalas, The Archibull Prize) a finalist. YFC alumni Anika Molesworth and Josh Gilbert were joint winners of the Youth as Our Changemakers Award, and Action4 Agriculture, itself, was a finalist in the Communications for Impact Award.

 

Action4Agriculture director Lynne Strong believes the new program has the capacity to have a similar impact.

“All of the NSW Sustainability Awards for people under 35 were taken out by young people associated with our programs and we are very excited to support as many young people as we can through the Young Environmental Champions program. This is an opportunity to find the next Josh and Anika or for schools to be the next St Brigid’s.

“If you want to challenge the status quo and drive positive social and environmental change, then this is the program for you.” Lynne says

The Empowering Young Environmental Champions program is supported by the Vincent Fairfax Family Foundation who is Backing Young People with innovative opportunities that advance independence, social purpose and future security, and the NSW Government Office for Regional Youth.

 

Expressions of interest can be found here, or email Lynne on lynnestrong@action4ag.com.au for further information.

Bomaderry Public School students and their Koala spreading joy

Bomaderry Public School share an update on their Kreative Koalas journey …….

Bomaderry Public School proudly presented their Kreative Koala during NAIDOC Week 2022, to Aunty Allison their much loved and well respected long standing Aboriginal Education Officer for her contribution and thanks for all that she does and has done for their students and staff. The Stage 2 SRC class representatives and deputy principal Heidi Bridge also made a presentation during the NAIDOC assembly.

A brief background was given about the history and reason for the koala being at BPS. Stage 2 SRC reps completed the decoupage on the koala and during this time they spoke about protecting the beautiful environment that they live in and climate change and using water wisely. The 2021 NAIDOC poster was recycled and used for the decoupage. The artworks were called Caring for Country by Maggi-Jean Douglas and displayed communities, animals, bush, mountains, rivers, and coastal areas. All things that are surrounding BPS and are important features of our local environment.

 

The koala was well received by our school community, Aboriginal Elders, and visitors. The students were responsive to the reasons and background about how he arrived at BPS. Aunty Alison was very excited about receiving the Koala who now sits proudly on a trolley surrounded by gum leaves. He will reside in her office and continue to spread joy and reminders to protect our environment.

As

 

A special shoutout to St Vincent De Paul for funding Bomaderry Public School’s Kreative Koalas experience

Alone we are smart, together we can be brilliant

Action4Agriculture is a member of Climate Action Network Australia (CANA). As an organisation we feel privileged to be supporting young people from K to 12, higher education and early career to take action on things that matter to them. Organisations like CANA bring people TOGETHER to advocate for change.

Joining the CANA community will support the young people we work with to work with others who share their commitment to create a better world together

During NAIDOC week CANA has been celebrating the incredible work of our Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander member organisations that we are privileged to have in our network.

 

Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples are at the forefront of addressing climate change and protecting people and country from the impacts of climate inaction.

The following is a list of organisations doing wonderful stuff that you can support:

Indigenous People’s Organisation

The Indigenous Peoples’ Organisation-Australia (IPO) is a national coalition of 300 Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peak organisations, community organisations and individual members across Australia. The IPO was established to promote the rights of Indigenous Peoples at the national, regional, and international levels and to facilitate constructive and collaborative participation of Indigenous peoples at the United Nations. Following a series of talks to celebrate NAIDOC Week 2021, the esteemed IPO Climate and Environment committee developed the Heal Country, Heal Climate: Priorities for Climate and Environment Report, shared with the Australian Government delegation at the Glasgow climate conference in November. The report, supported by voices across Australia, highlighted the need to prioritise the perspectives of Indigenous peoples when it comes to climate solutions.

 

First Nations team at Getup!

The First Nations team at Getup! lead campaigns to end fracking in the Northern Territory, increase democratic participation, and create new federal laws protecting Aboriginal cultural heritage. Land Rights and Climate Justice are central to all our campaigns, and all First Nations work at GetUp is led by a team of campaigners from the Widjabul Wia-bul, Garrwa, Gooreng Gooreng, Wiradjuri, Noongar, Gubbi Gubbi, Kulkalgal, and Yanyuwa nations. There is no Justice without First Nations Justice.

 

Original Power

Original Power is a community-focused, Aboriginal organisation that builds the collective power of Aboriginal people to genuinely achieve self-determination within their communities and on their Country.

 

Seed Mob

Seed is Australia’s first Indigenous youth climate network. They aim to build a movement of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander young people for climate justice with the Australian Youth Climate Coalition. Their vision is for a just and sustainable future with strong cultures and communities, powered by renewable energy. Seed Mob have done exceptional work bringing into the national climate debate the voices, passion and power of Indigenous youth.

 

Gudanji For Country

Gudanji for Country represents the Traditional Owners of the Gundanji Nation who are campaigning to protect their country from fracking. The organisation’s CEO Rikki Dank, a proud and courageous Gudanji/Wakaja woman from Borroloola, was outspoken during COP26 in Glasgow last year and has campaigned for years to prevent fracking for unconventional gas on her Country.

 

Colly Gamilaraay Indigenous Corporation

Colly Gamilaraay is a not-for-profit organisation whose objectives are to assist in the relief of poverty, destitution, distress, suffering, and misfortune, among Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, through the process of supporting social and economic development. The corporation achieves this by promoting community development and acting as a resource for the community and stakeholders in the areas of education, health, sport, culture, environment, employment and welfare to rural and isolated communities  The corporation achieves this by promoting community development and acting as a resource for the community and stakeholders in the areas of education, health, sport, culture, environment, employment and welfare to rural and isolated communities.

 

This year’s NAIDOC theme is Get Up! Stand Up! Show Up!. Our network commits to strengthening relationships, engaging and working respectfully with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples to uphold climate justice. We invite all CANA members to endorse and implement the Network’s Solidarity Commitments.

 

For those of us that are non-Indigenous, let’s ensure we Get Up, Stand Up and Show Up in meaningful ways to support the work of First Nations communities in our movement.

 

Visit the NAIDOC website to find out what celebrations and events are happening in your local area today.

Living Sustainably (and Kreatively) with Cecilia Kemp and Wingecarribee Shire Council

Action4Agriculture’s primary school program Kreative Koalas allows us to connect with a diverse and inspirational range of environmental ambassadors, a perfect example of this is Wingecarribee Shire Council’s coordinator of Sustainability Services, Cecilia Kemp. Cecilia works with our Kreative Koala schools in the NSW Southern Highlands and is producing a suite of programs to showcase sustainability to both students and their communities.

Cecilia’s story begins in Sweden with chapters in Switzerland, Scotland and England before her eventual move to Australia in 2003, and it was the early days that influenced her to strive for a sustainable world.

“Swedish culture is strongly aligned with the natural environment and it is deeply ingrained in us and our folklore. It was normal for us to spend time out in nature but one of the things that really triggered my interest was a German teacher at my international school in Switzerland. While teaching us the German language she would always use quotes and texts from environmental sources. Her daughter worked for Greenpeace and, as an early teen, I thought that was the kind of job for me.

“I’ve always been fascinated by injustice and I think a lot of what I do is deeply rooted in that. I was the annoying kid who spoke up when she saw something wrong and said ‘we shouldn’t be doing that’ and it’s evolved into an adult passion where I like to bring issues to the public attention – things we can do better.”

With a Bachelor of Environmental Science from the University of Edinburgh and a Masters in Engineering Studies (focussed on power generation and climate change) from the University of Sydney, Cecilia’s career has seen her champion sustainability with everyone from Clean Up Australia, to state government and local councils. In 2019 she took on her current role with Wingecarribee Shire Council.

One of her initial tasks was to overhaul the annual School’s Environment Day, which at the time “involved 600 students and was bigger than Ben Hur.” Cecilia reimagined the day as one of immersive activities and adventure learning for a smaller number of students to be held in the bush at Camp Wombaroo. The first School’s Environment Day in the new format will be run in May catering for 200 students, with the second to be held later in the year allowing 200 more local students to participate.

Another initiative under Cecilia’s direction is Sustainable Us, designed as a community engagement project to address impact on the environment and actions that can be taken to mitigate climate change.

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The project includes a series of 12 videos and will feature Hilltop Public School, who broke new ground in 2021 by using Kreative Koalas as a catalyst to report on education for sustainability.

Hilltop is a tiny community but every community in the world will be affected by climate change and these kids had already produced a video to highlight it in the context of their own space, and they’re sharing these stories with their parents and grandparents and community members. What they are doing is fantastic and we will feature them in the Sustainable Us episode about community to illustrate how we can come together and make a big difference,” Cecilia says.

Read our case study on Hilltop Public School here 

Watch the first video in the Sustainable US series here

 

Alongside the School’s Environment Day and Sustainable Us, Southern Highland’s schools, including Kreative Koalas participant Robertson Public School, benefit in other ways from Cecilia’s proactive approach.

“We send newsletters to all the schools in the Shire at the start of every term, flagging the resources that we have available to help teach a sustainable lifestyle. We offer workshops, and presentations on the local water cycle and the local impacts of climate change, run recycled art competitions and we were the first regional council to offer the Solar My School program to schools.”

“There is no silver bullet to address our environmental impact but its important people know that switching off the lights when you leave a room is just as powerful as buying a Tesla. Nobody should feel excluded based on their financial or physical ability. It’s just a case of being a bit more resourceful with what we have.”

When it comes to being resourceful Cecilia and her team are well ahead of the curve, and the benefits to our Kreative Koalas schools will be endless. We look forward to continuing and building this association for years to come and congratulate Wingecarribee Shire Council on its initiatives that educate and inspire us all to lead a better life for our planet.

#YouthVoices #CreatingABetterWorldTogether

 

 

Celebrating Our Partnerships – FEAST reaches 500

Today we celebrate OzHarvest FEAST reaching 500 primary schools across Australia and influencing inspiring nearly 35,000 future change-makers to waste less and care for our planet.

Celebrating strategic partnerships that:

  • encourage all Australians to value food, and the people and the places that provide it, and

  • take climate action by not wasting this most basic of human needs.

Action4Agriculture has a long-standing partnership with OzHarvest who deliver the successful FEAST program into primary schools alongside our Kreative Koalas. FEAST (Food Education and Sustainability Training) is a Year 5 and 6 curriculum-aligned education program, encouraging kids to eat healthy, waste less and become change-makers in their local community.

 

“Action4Agriculture recognises there are organisations doing great things in the food and nutrition space and through our collaboration we can help each other multiply our impact. We appreciate our key partnership with OzHarvest and congratulate them on reaching 500 schools with FEAST,” Action4Agriculture director Lynne Strong says.

Together we are supporting Australian schools to take action on the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals #SDG 2 Zero Waste, #SDG 12  Responsible Production and Consumption, #SDG 13 Climate Action

The benefits of this successful collaboration are also recognised by Madison Lucas, OzHarvest FEAST National Program Manager.

“OzHarvest’s FEAST Education program values its partnership with Action4Agriculture, as they both share a common vision to bring food and environmental education into schools by providing ongoing support for teachers and delivering on a number of the United Nation’s Sustainable Development Goals. It’s great to see like-minded programs like FEAST and Kreative Koalas come together to inspire children to value food and care for our planet. Both programs understand the importance of encouraging community engagement and provide opportunities for our students to have a voice and take action to prevent food waste,” she says.

The partnership between FEAST and Kreative Koalas is exemplified by St Brigid’s Public School at Raymond Terrace who combined the programs to protect the threatened Hunter River Turtle in 2020.

As part of Kreative Koalas the students at St Brigid’s chose to focus their attention on threatened species, selecting the Hunter River Turtle as their school mascot. By participating in FEAST they planted a vegetable garden and used the cooking kit provided by OzHarvest to hold three cooking days utilising their home-grown produce. Items made were sold at the school canteen.

“All funds raised were dedicated to the Hunter River Turtle and we are thrilled to say we have made a $300 donation to the Australian Reptile Park and the work it does to protect the species,” teacher Kristen Jones says.

Kristen and St Brigid’s students travelled to the Australian Reptile Park to make their donation in person to Tim Faulkner. They were given a tour of the new turtle facilities nearing completion, and looked at a successful clutch of Manning River turtles in anticipation of how the breeding program will work.

“Tim tells us our $300 will go directly to the care and breeding program of the Hunter River Turtle. The whole Year 6 cohort is extremely proud of their achievements and our school has gone turtle mad,” Kristen says.

Read more about this exciting project here.

As Kreative Koalas rolls out for another year, Action4Agriculture welcomes the opportunity for our schools to once again partner with the OzHarvest FEAST program. Together we can promote the Sustainable Development Goals, inspire communities and create tomorrow’s change-makers today.

Sign your school up to participate in FEAST here 

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Creating a Better World Together – with our 2022 Rural Ambassadors

Congratulations to Dione Howard and Jessica Fearnley who have excelled in the Rural Ambassador competition at the recent Sydney Royal Easter Show. These two women exemplify all that we value and strive for in the Young Farming Champions program; they are passionate, articulate, collaborative advocates for agriculture and are showing how we can create a better world together.

Culminating in the national Rural Ambassador Award from Agricultural Shows Australia, the quest for the title begins with state nomination. In NSW the accolade is known as the

R.M. Williams RAS Rural Achiever Award; a “leadership program run by the Royal Agricultural Society of NSW to recognise future young leaders (20-29 years of age) who are working hard to make a significant contribution to their community and to rural Australia.”

For Dione the Rural Achiever Awards was a long-held dream and in 2021 this dream was realised when she was announced as the state winner. Reality then exceeded her dreams when she was declared the 2022 National Rural Ambassador at this year’s Sydney Royal.

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“Building a better world starts with backing yourself,” Dione, who had previously applied for the NSW Rural Ambassador Award, says. “In my role as National Rural Ambassador I hope to encourage people of all ages to step up and volunteer in their local community, for organisations they care about or to apply for that award they’ve been looking at (perhaps again if they’ve missed out in the past!).”

Dione also firmly believes being a Young Farming Champion was invaluable in the Rural Ambassador experience.

“There’s no doubt that YFC training has been pivotal to my success, from being equipped to answer tough questions, to holding my own in front of the camera. It’s also given me the confidence to know where I am on my leadership journey to apply for awards such as this.”

View highlights of Dione’s Rural Ambassador journey here

Following in Dione’s footsteps as they continue their own commitment to agriculture were YFC Jessica Fearnley and Lucy Collingridge who were both selected for the 2022 NSW Rural Achiever Award, with Jess being named the winner.

A highlight for Jess was the Rural Achiever debate –

“I enjoyed being able to think critically and create an argument and it also opened my eyes to other people’s ideas and opinions”

– and throughout the program she was commended on her presentation skills.

“YFC training has given me skills in presenting and taught me to be confident in my own messaging,” she says.

As with Dione, Jess will use the Rural Achiever to inspire others to create a better world.

“Being awarded Rural Achiever has now opened up a range of opportunities for me to network with people outside of my usual circle. Through this program I will go interstate and meet people from all over the country interested in agriculture. The knowledge I will learn from this I can then pass onto to other young people.”

The accolades for our YFC continued at the Sydney Royal Easter Show when Samantha Wan, pictured here with RAS Councilor Joe Byrnes and Jacob Heard, was recognised by her peers, the Youth Group of RAS, for her dedication and support of the wool industry. It was a surprise award for Sam who has been a committed contributor to YFC since she joined in 2017.

Creating a better world together comes when we can share our successes, celebrate our peers and not rest on laurels afforded by awards but consciously work towards using those awards in a meaningful and productive way.

Watch Dione on Landline here 

#YouthinAg #YouthVoices #CreatingaBetterWorldTogether

Creating a Champions Mindset …. with the support of Hunter Local Land Services

Our Action4Agriculture supporting partners know that champions understand that the people closest to them play a huge role in how successful they will become. No one ever made it big on their own, everyone gets help along the day. It could be a mentor, coach, teammate, spouse, or parent.

Mentorship has always been a powerful tool in the Action4Agriculture toolbox, beautifully exemplified by our Young Farming Champions alumni who support not only each other but the new cohort of Cultivate – Growing Young Leaders participants each year.

Bryan Van Wyk sums up his first year of Cultivate:

“We are not the same group of people we were at the start of 2021. We have become more confident, more knowledgeable, experienced and more authentic. If there is one thing to be proud of it’s the support and encouragement we have given each other through various platforms. I feel I can reach out to any YFC for advice or information at any time and I hope others feel that way about me.”

Action4Agriculture believes this mentorship tool is just as important in the workplace and in 2022 will be working with our partners to realise this.

Offering a reputable and successful mentoring program can make you a promising employer in the eyes of candidates, which is important when you’re competing for top talent.”     Robert Half Talent Solutions

Embracing the mentorship ideal is Hunter Local Land Services and their recent scholarship winners.

Danielle Fordham and Lachlan White are two young people who are beginning their careers without an agricultural upbringing behind them. Each has gone into agriculture with eyes wide open, looking for direction and challenges; looking for their own niche in the broad industry that is Australian agriculture.

We commend both Danielle and Lachlan on their commitment and are pleased to announce Hunter Local Land Services has provided a dedicated mentor for them in seventh generation sheep farmer and Local Land Services Livestock Officer Teresa Hogan.

“This industry is always changing, the goal posts move regularly. We are governed by climatic conditions, markets, and decision making bodies that are sometimes out of touch with what’s happening on ground. At the same time agriculture is full of very successful and supportive people who are willing to give you a leg up, support your goals and mentor you through. My network grows every day. This is an exciting industry to be a part of, and I look forward to sharing my story further with the Young Farming Champions Program.”    Teresa Hogan

As a mentor Teresa will provide advice and guidance, and share her own experiences, alongside connecting Danielle and Lachlan to board members of Hunter Local Land Services and others influential in agriculture.

Mentor and mentee relationships make such a difference to the enjoyment and performance of any role at any stage of a career. The mentoring component of Cultivate – Growing Young Leaders is what attracted us most to the program. It’s one thing to provide a young farmer with knowledge and access to courses, but quite another to provide a mentor to bounce ideas off, discuss the application of the theory in the real world, and build that scaffold for greater confidence and further peer learning. From the mentee, the mentor will also grow as a leader, broaden their network and gain fresh ideas, new thinking and a new challenge.  We couldn’t be more thrilled with our scholarship recipients, and look forward to working with Lachlan and Danielle in the future. Kath McLoughlin – Team Leader Community Engagement.

 

Further reading on how coaches and mentors can help you navigate life’s journey

Good article here in Stock Journal

Giving Young People the tools to follow their GPS and learn the Power of We

Young Australians are entering another year of learning what it takes to stay resilient. At Action4Agriculture we are giving teachers the tools through our action learning programs The Archibull Prize and Kreative Koalas to support young people come together to find their GPS*

“Coming together is a beginning, staying together is progress, and working together is success.” – Henry Ford

 

 

See how St Paul’s Primary School in the Hunter followed their GPS

You can find out how it works here

Applications are now open for 2022 You can sign your school up here 

Mega thx to Chris Fenning for introducing us to the GPS model we love it

How Danila Marini is promoting diversity, equity and inclusion conversations in agriculture

In high school, Danila Marini “never felt comfortable in my own skin”. The Young Farming Champion (YFC) tried to heavily hide their femininity at the agricultural high school they attended in South Australia, but although was called a tomboy never really wanted to be a male.

“In the early 2000s I didn’t have much exposure to the LGBTQI+ community and only knew of some terms like bisexual while the term non-binary was non-existent,” Danila said.

Now, as the newly appointed Action4Agriculture Sustainable Development Goal 3 (Good Health and Well-being) Ambassador, Danila (30) is excited at the opportunity to share their story with today’s high school students.  

 

The Ambassador appointment came about after Danila participated in a workshop designed for The Archibull Prize (TAP) students of  Mary MacKillop Catholic College in Wakeley, western Sydney. The all-girls school was interested in showcasing gender diversity in agriculture and a workshop was coordinated by SDG 5 (Gender Equality) Ambassador Francesca Earp with strong female leads including Tayla Field, Dione Howard, Chloe Dutschke and Katherine Bain. Danila’s inclusion facilitated open discussions about gender fluidity and non-binary people in agriculture.

 

“There’s definitely a gender bias in many industries such as science and agriculture that swing towards the classic straight white cis male,” Danila said 

Danila who is a CSIRO experimental scientist and animal ethics co-ordinator also recognises the hurdles for women and gender diverse people, whether related to societal expectations about having a family, or professional stereotypes.

I have had someone say to me I don’t look like someone who would have a PhD,” says they and  “non-binary people present the same,” they said

 

For Francesca, 25, whose masters and PhD are focused on gender equity and the exclusionary past of feminist history and how it shapes the engagement and empowerment of non-dominant feminist groups, working with a Danila was timely and eye-opening.

 

“I hadn’t met anyone previously in the ag sector who identified as non-binary,” says Francesca. “The same is true of my work in agricultural development, which is an unfortunate reality of traditional patriarchal perspectives of agriculture that either don’t provide opportunities to non-binary practitioners or researchers or don’t make them feel welcome while fostering engagement and empowerment in the sector.

“Danila was really open in talking about how we could improve the inclusivity of the workshop sessions, talking about equity in general, rather than specifying who we were fighting to have equality for, which I’d really like to take further in my own future research.”

 Franny says everyday is an opportunity to open your eyes and see the world from some-one else’s perspective 

Danila and Francesca are welcome role models for young people with a personal interest in gender diversity and this illustrates how Action4Agriclutre empowers these young people to talk about the issues important to them, and to take everyone along on a journey of understanding.

 

“Gender equity is a very complex issue and by focusing on only the ‘female’ aspects of gender equity you not only heavily impact minority groups but women themselves,” says Danila. “I’m not afraid to speak up about my experiences and I realise people can’t change or learn if you are not willing to help.”

 

After the workshop, Danila said that being a good ally to non-binary people meant being cognisant of the fact that gender is complex. Asking for pronouns and remembering to correct mistakes are two important things.

“It’s very important to understand that non-binary is not a ‘third’ gender – it’s an encompassment of gender fluidity and not all non-binary people present the same,” says they. “Also, do not lump woman and non-binary people together for events if you are not willing to accept non-binary people that are assigned male at birth.”

 

Having role models in agriculture who promote diversity, equity and inclusion is not only important for students but for teachers, families and communities. Leah Brown, TAP teacher at Mary McKillop, says her students are passionate about highlighting gender issues and contributing to fulfilling gender goals.

“We know that real life activities and projects are great for engaging students in their learning and building relevance and connections to what they are learning with the wider community and the world.”

 Applications are now open for the 2022 Archibull Prize here 

 

Soroptimist International Griffith joins forces with Action4Agriculture Young Farming Champions to achieve gender equity.  

Connie Mort, Lynne Strong and Dr Dione Howard presented at Soroptimist International Griffith Dinner in July 2021

In 2019, when Dr Anika Molesworth was preparing to travel to Antarctica with a cohort of 100 other female scientists from around the world, she crowdfunded to help cover the costs of her trip.

Young Farming Champion Dr Anika Molesworth travelled to Antarctica with the support of SI Griffith 

Enter Soroptimist International Griffith, a branch of the global volunteer movement of women, who stepped in to sponsor Anika, then working in Griffith, in the NSW Riverina region.

Flash forward three years later, and when Soroptimist International Griffith (SI) wanted to take action to address climate change, they turned to Anika. She shared with SI the impact that Action for Agriculture (A4A) had played and was continuing to play in her professional and personal development, six years after joining one of its world-renowned programs, Young Farming Champions (YFC).

“I attribute my work’s impact with rural women, farming communities and international development largely to the skills I learnt through this program

A4A is championing rural young people, teaching them about the UN’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) and climate change and bringing those people close to food and farming production, motivating and enabling them to help shape rural communities for the better. Imagine if more rural people are given a similar opportunity!”  says Anika, who now sits on the A4A Youth Leadership team.

As Soroptimist International Griffith’s member Will Mead says, that “was enough for us”. They decided to provide financial support for a leadership course run by A4A aimed at enabling equity for emerging female leaders, as part of their global vision on supporting rural women, gender equity and women’s mentorship. The workshop was run in October 2020.

At a dinner held in Griffith on July 21, SI told its members and community why “A4A is an organisation whose ideals and programs align with those of Soroptimist International perfectly as our objectives are all based on the UN’s SDGs”.

The dinner, held at the Exies Club in Griffith, was a chance for SI to meet A4A leaders including founder and national program director Lynne Strong, Dr Dione Howard, Connie Mort, Veronika Vicic and Dylan Male. All shared with Soroptimist International Griffith their own stories and A4A’s highly revered programs for primary and secondary schools.

Will Mead says that having A4A visit Griffith to share their experiences was “a bit special”, local media reported.

“We wanted our members and our community to meet some of these amazing people,” she says.

She told the event that Soroptimist International Griffith was impressed by A4A’s school programs Kreative Koalas and the Archibull Prize because they are “really pushing for better responses to climate change and achieving gender equality”, The Area News reported. 

“Agriculture is such a male-dominated field and yet most of PYiA’s YFC are women,” said Will, who described it as a “wonderful organisation”.

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The stunning table decorations at the SI Griffith Dinner

The A4A leadership course aimed at enabling equity for upcoming women leaders was part of a series of workshops rolled out at the end of last year. Alongside A4A’s fabulous national facilitators Kris Beazley, Jenni Metcalfe, Les Robinson and Josh Farr, we were delighted to add internationally acclaimed Kwame Christian to our repertoire.

Kwame is the director of the American Negotiation Institute, a practising business lawyer, and host of the world’s most popular negotiation podcast Negotiate Anything (downloaded over 1.5 million times). He’s also author of the Amazon best-seller Finding Confidence in Conflict, a negotiation and conflict resolution professor at The Ohio State University’s Moritz College of Law and regular Forbes magazine contributor. In addition, Kwame is a LinkedIn trainer, a regular contributor to Forbes magazine and a popular public speaker with his 2017 TEDx talk being named the most popular talk on the topic of conflict.

A4A is very grateful for Soroptimist International Griffith’s support.