They say it takes a village to raise a child and at Picture You in Agriculture (PYiA) it takes a village to support, mentor, teach and encourage our Young Farming Champions. One of our village “chiefs” is Dr Jenni Metcalfe from Econnect Communication who each year holds a series of workshops to enable our YFC on their leadership and career development journeys.
Recently Jenni conducted an online workshop Designing Compelling Messages including a mnemonic to capture her ideas:
- Motivated – What is driving you to communicate? What do you want to achieve?
- Empathy – Who do you want to communicate with? Have you tried standing in their shoes?
- Specific – What is the concrete (not abstract) message that you want to convey?
- Simple – Have you considered what your audience could misunderstand?
- Acknowledge uncertainty – How sure are you of your information?
- Game-change – Does your message include a call for change, in attitudes or actions?
- Enable – Have you detailed how people can change?
This was immediately taken up and put into practice by YFC Bryan Van Wyk.
“I printed out the mnemonic and have it on my office wall. I have found it very useful to evaluate my presentations before sharing and will also use it to gauge any future articles, videos or reports I compose before publishing,” he says. In fact, Bryan used the mnemonic to test one of his favourite video creations: Born Free, Caught Wild. The Northern Prawn Industry and this was his assessment: “Motivated – yes; Empathy – yes; Specific – kind of, but there’s a lot of information to digest; Simple – relatively; Acknowledge uncertainty – thinks so; Game-changer – the message was to buy Australian and MSC-certified prawns, but it could have been clearer; and Enable – as above.” Great work Bryan.
At the beginning of June Steph Tabone had the opportunity to present to her Corteva colleagues about her YFC experience.
“I shared some insights on [Jenni’s] workshop as I felt that this topic would resonate with my colleagues. We have all been in social situations where we’re asked who we work for, and it can be a challenge knowing how to say you work for an agricultural chemical company because the people we are speaking with may not be as connected to agriculture as we are. I am proud of what we do and am proud to share the great things Corteva is doing, because we really have had a positive impact on the farmers we work with. I shared how these workshops help not only in conversations with adults who have existing perceptions of the industry, but also with the next generation in schools, engaging them in conversations about agriculture and the exciting career opportunities in our sector. I enjoy working for Corteva and I am confident other young people will too. Jenni’s workshop helped me understand how to share my story so it is engaging, relatable and memorable ” Steph says.
Steph Tabone (left) and Lynne Strong at the Corteva birthday celebrations in the Botanic Gardens on June 1st
Connie Mort joined Steph on the Corteva stage and her take-home message from Jenni’s workshop was the relevance it had not only for her but for long-term YFC.
“We are in these workshops alongside alumni who have been with the program for up to eight years, such as Jo Newton and Anika Molesworth. This gives me confidence that content provided by the YFC program will be continually fresh and evolving, and that it is really all about life-long learning,” she says.
Most of our new YFC will now know Jenni from her workshops but few might know the full impact she has had on Picture You in Agriculture.
Program founder Lynne Strong has the backstory:
“The YFC program was inspired by the 2010 Climate Champions program I participated in. Jenni co-founded the program with Colin Creighton AM and delivered it for four years. The learnings inspired much of her PhD thesis. I was highly impressed by how much confidence and skills competence the program gave to farmer participants and I was committed to having it funded for young people. Jenni and her partner in mastery, the wonderful Sarah Cole, then ran our first YFC workshop in 2011. Jenni is a world-leading science communicator with the vision to ‘bring science to life’ and we are very grateful to have Jenni as a central part of our team and carry on the legacy of the Climate Champions program”
and as Jenni so succinctly puts
“The YFC is an example of participatory science communication about sustainable agriculture. Like I found in my thesis, Rethinking science communication models in practice, this program works because of the relationships of trust that have grown between young people involved in agriculture (the YFCs), more experienced mentors and trainers, experts in sustainability, and educators. Developing such relationships of trust takes time and have the power to create a legacy of transformational change.”
Our Young Farming Champions are extraordinary roles models of who you can be in the world of agriculture
Dr Anika Molesworth, Dr Jo Newton, Daniel Fox and Samantha Wan are just a small sample of the impact our Young Farming Champions are having on the world