The world needs creative, innovative and courageous young people who can connect, collaborate and act. We know that youth may only be 20% of the population but they are 100% of the future. The time is now to let them share their dreams and design the future they want to see.
Students from Robertson Public School with teacher John Crompton and Costa Georgiadis at the Kreative Koalas Awards and Celebration ceremony on December 1st 2022 at Southern Highlands Botanic Gardens
“Young people increasingly see the green credentials of businesses and industries as a key factor influencing their career choices.”
Kreative Koalas, with generous support from the St Vincent de Paul Society, sees many forms of sustainability and environmental commitment in primary schools. At Robertson Public School they believe in making sustainability sustainable.
“We promote environmental protection and education at Robertson Public School in a couple of ways. We work with the Robertson Environmental Protection Society, to preserve remnant rainforest on our extensive grounds (10 acres), which has inspired us to establish a Tiny Forest.
We are part of the Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden initiative and we have a potting shed and raised garden beds to grow vegetables that go back into our canteen. We have introduced a beehive into the school and will be adding another next year to encourage native bees into the school grounds and to further promote sustainability.
We have a Sustainable Schools grant to establish a glasshouse where we can raise vegetable and native plant seedlings. We are going to create a Farm Gate and sell vegetable seedlings, surplus produce and honey to our local community and whatever money we raise from that goes back into our sustainability practices and in particular into building our Tiny Forest.
But most importantly, we want to make sure our sustainability is sustainable and is something that we can carry forward through a number of years.” principal Gordon Parrish says.
Gordon realises that to do this requires not only the support of students but also their parents and the wider community. Parents and grandparents come into the school to work in the gardens alongside their children and to share their own knowledge. The school is part of the Share Our Space program that encourages community members to use the school grounds during holidays and after school hours, and the students connect with local businesses with a similar sustainability mindset.
“Moonacres is a local café that also has an ethical farm out of town that supplies to restaurants in the area. Our Stage 3 kids will be visiting the farm four times next year to look at crop rotation in different seasons, and then we are going to try and mirror that back at school,” Gordon says.
While Robertson Public School currently reports to parents on activities such as recycling, 2023 will see the students take a bigger responsibility in sharing the sustainability message with the community. They plan to create instructional videos on school activities such as building native bee hotels and vegetable gardens and post these to social media.
In 2022 the sustainability message was informed by participation in Kreative Koalas where students raised awareness of all 17 United Nations Sustainable Development Goals (SDG).
The SDG were painted on their koala named Koala T, a reference to the number of times the word ‘quality’ appears in the goals (quality education, gender equality, reduced inequalities). Koala T will become part of the Tiny Forest once planting is completed but for now she sits in the school’s bush medicine garden.
“I think the koala will take centre stage on all our sustainability programs and be a good strong reminder of the practices we are aiming for within our school and community. The kids are the driving force behind our projects and the koala will be the symbol of that,” Gordon says.
Celebrating resilience and grit, the awards ceremony was a testament to teachers and students who explored ways to show leadership, inspire hope, strengthen their communities, and design a bright future despite the challenges of the pandemic years
Special guest Costa Georgiadis was on hand to crown the champion schools who were:
2020 Grand Champion Archibull – Penrith Valley School from western Sydney
2022 Grand Champion Archibull – the Centre of Excellence in Agricultural Education from western Sydney
2020 Grand Champion Kreative Koala – St Brigid’s Primary School from Raymond Terrace
2022 Grand Champion Kreative Koala – Tarrawanna Public School from Wollongong
All schools were tasked with examining the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals, designing, and delivering a community action project, creating a movement to embed sustainability thinking and actions in our way of life
The students presented their learnings through art on either their fibreglass cow (secondary schools) or koala (primary schools).
Special awards presented on the day were:
The Carmel Mills Memorial Award for Learning with Impact – Chevalier College from the Southern Highlands (The Archibull Prize) and Scot’s All Saints College from Bathurst (Kreative Koalas)
The Alan Eagle Watershed Moment Award – Hill Top Public School for reporting sustainability alongside core curriculum subjects on student report cards
Action4Agriculture is grateful for the support of Corteva Agriscience, NSW Government, St Vincent de Paul, Austral Fisheries, Wingecarribee Shire Council and Southern Highland Botanic Gardens which allows The Archibull Prize and Kreative Koalas to be delivered into schools.
These programs empower our students to look at our world differently, explore sustainability and environmental issues that affect our planet and design local solutions to global challenges.
Kreative Koalas 2022 has once again introduced us to a cohort of exciting, future-focused young people in primary schools with vivid imaginations and a drive to create a better and brighter world. It has also introduced us to The Living Classroom Project, an outdoor classroom where students build permaculture systems and become leaders as Garden Ambassadors.
The Living Classroom is the brainchild of Aaron Sorensen and Daniel Deighton from Elemental Permaculture, who together have over forty years of experience in making the Illawarra region a better place to live. Daniel is a specialist in environmental restoration and a landscape architect, who has previously been involved with the transformation of Tom Thumb Lagoon at Port Kembla. Aaron has a background in education and art and a life-long appreciation of the power of permaculture to make positive change.
“We both shared a vision to create a life-long learning pathway for young people and respond to what was happening in the Illawarra with the environmental, social, cultural and spiritual impact of industry and the port. We found permaculture a positive movement that we could use as a tool to engage communities in a conversation and initiate projects,” Aaron says.
The first school Aaron and Daniel worked with was Cringila Public School.
“BlueScope wanted to invest money in a school that was directly impacted by industry and Cringila was on the site of an artificial coal seam fire, which was created by slag and coal wash that could not be processed by existing technology, We built a garden using permaculture ethics, which are care of earth, care of people and fair share and from there created a program for the children to maintain the garden and become leaders, or Garden Ambassadors, for students coming after them.” Aaron says.
Cringila Public School Living Classroom
The Living Classroom Project took flight.
When a Living Classroom is established in a school it becomes much more than just a garden; it becomes a living environment with systems that balance food production, biodiversity and sustainable natural resource management, while also a social environment where children and the school community can come together to share and learn new skills. Projects include:
Chop and Drop (with woodchips to inoculate fungi)
Animal systems such as chickens and bees
Outdoor kitchens, and
Spaces for people to gather
Daniel now works with schools across the Sunshine Coast and Brisbane following his relocation to Queensland. Aaron continues to work with schools in the Illawarra including Tarrawanna Public School who participated in Kreative Koalas this year.
“Teaching and learning are so enriched through The Living Classroom Project. Aaron has been leading the way on permaculture gardening for 3 years at Tarrawanna Public School. The lessons develop student understanding not only of permaculture, but also of science, mathematics, history, geography and art. The program runs with our S2 students, but what we find is so many students want to continue with their learning in the following years, they want to come back as mentors and leaders [Garden Ambassadors] to the younger students. Aaron makes an unbelievable connection with the students; his passion ignites and engages the eagerness in the children to want to continue their learning of sustainability,” Kelly Judd, Tarrawanna assistant principal, says.
Garden Beds at Tarrawanna Public School
Food produced in Living Classrooms is prepared for school consumption or taken home to families and communities, which has encouraged backyard gardens, one visible and practical impact of the project. David Lamb, director of Education Leadership, Wollongong Network with the NSW Department of Education sees other impacts.
“The number one impact is engagement; it makes kids want to go to school. Kids that may be disengaged in the normal classroom become champions in the Living Classroom because learning has meaning for them and it is real. It also encourages cross-cultural respect as kids work together in the garden and it taps into caring for the earth and caring for people, which develops compassion and empathy. It is a wonderful, wonderful project,” he says.
The ethos of Kreative Koalas is to enable young people to design a bright future, particularly in the face of challenges such as COVID and climate change. The Living Classroom Project lives by similar aspirations.
“Something as small as composting waste or growing food is about taking the power back. It gives kids hope and an opportunity to be in control and I truly believe young people, who become creative learners through engagement with nature, have the capabilities to lead us to where we need to go,” Aaron concludes.
Action4Agriculture founder Lynne Strong joined Aaron and teacher Mrs Harris at Fairy Meadow Demonstration School to see what a day in the garden looks and feels like for the students
The Living Classroom has been sponsored by BlueScope Steel for 18 years and there are currently 24 schools in the Illawarra region in various stages and sizes with full Living Classrooms at Five Islands Secondary College (year 12 HSC subject in permaculture), Warrawong High School, Cringila Public, Port Kembla Public, Tarrawanna Public, Fairy Meadow Public, St Pats at Port Kembla, Illawarra Sports High and Warrawong Public.
Watch Five Islands secondary College showcased on Gardening Australia here
Permaculture expert and educator Aaron Sorenson shares The Living Classroom design model
“If you believe in your heart that you need to do something, and you know in your heart its right… and especially when you’re in a position to make the change, you can’t back away from it.” Alison Mirams
This is one of the favourite quotes of Action4Agriculture director Lynne Strong who has spent decades championing young people and watching as they shine and make a difference to the world around them. This belief was mirrored recently at the 2022 NSW Sustainability Awards (also known as the Banksia Awards), announced in October, where both Young Farming Champions and students from our school programs were celebrated. Take a look at some of the winners:
Minister’s Young Climate Champion: Winner – Kreative Koalas participant St Brigid’s Primary School; finalist – Kreative Koalas and The Archibull Prize participant Centre of Excellence in Agricultural Education.
NSW Communications for Impact Award: Finalist – Action4Agriculture/Kreative Koalas
NSW Youth as Our Changemakers Award: Joint Winners – Young Farming Champions Anika Molesworth and Josh Gilbert.
What a night! Read more about Lynne’s thoughts on the awards and young people as changemakers here.
The NSW Sustainability Awards prove our YFC and our school programs have impact and 2023 will bring more opportunities to fly the agricultural flag with the launch of two new programs: Action4Youth and Young Environmental Champions. Both programs will allow YFC to engage the next generation in agricultural conversations and agricultural career pathways. Stay tuned!
In the Field
From paddocks (and oceans) in Australia and across the world, to wool-selling centres and city-based jobs providing help for the hungry, our Young Farming Champions prove there is plethora of career opportunities beyond (and behind) the farm gate.
One YFC making the most of his agricultural pathway is Sam O’Rafferty who works with Summit Ag in southern NSW, where rain and flooding have impacted the production area and planting season for cotton. Despite the challenges Sam reports that cotton seedlings are established and the crop is powering along. Thanks for the update, Sam.
Francesca Earp’s agricultural field is in Laos, where she recently returned after a two-year hiatus due to COVID. “I was in Laos for three weeks meeting with organisations working on female empowerment, and planning fieldwork for next year’s PhD data collection. I also attended the wedding of one of my colleagues Bouakeo and his wife Koung.”
Providing food is not just a land-based activity as Bryan Van Wyk, our fishing YFC and operations manager for Austral Fisheries, reports from northern waters:
“We have just finished our 2022 tiger prawn season in the Northern Prawn Fishery. 52 vessels fished waters west of Darwin (NT) through to Weipa (QLD) for the past three months catching a variety of different prawn species. At the top of the list sits tiger prawns which are one of the largest and most sought after wild caught prawns in the world. It has not been an easy year for fishers. We have faced many challenges in tough economic climates, which you can listen more about here in an interview with the ABC (6 mins in).”
As part of her successful career as a wool broker Samantha Wan attended AWI’s Wool Broker Forum held in Sydney recently.
“It was highly informative with insightful guest speakers covering global business intelligence, consumer research, education and more, and also an excellent opportunity to network with others in the same area of the supply chain and have open dialogue on current issues.”
A shout-out to George Lehmann from AWI who has been supporting Sam and other Wool YFC by providing access to a range of guest speakers including Bridget Peachey (sheep health and welfare), Miles Barritt (traceability), Mark Scott (Woolmark certification) and Geoff Linden (genetics and animal welfare.) AWI also runs a wool podcast called The Yarn, which recently featured YFC Katherine Bain. Listen here.
Congratulations to Tayla Field who has started a new job with Foodbank Australia as a national program manager for agriculture.
“Foodbank is a non-for-profit business that sources a range of products including food and non-food items such as personal hygiene products for charities. In my new role I will be looking after the agricultural programs that source fresh food at Foodbank including working with growers, manufacturers, wholesalers and retailers. The role will cover fresh products including meat, dairy, eggs and fresh produce, while also touching on logistics/transport and packaging. I am looking forward to building on my current skills and developing a new network within a range of agricultural industries.”
Out of the Field
Congratulations are in order for Katherine Bain who has channelled her love of sheep and agricultural shows to be named the runner-up in the Victorian Rural Ambassador Awards. As part of the competition Katherine spent three days at the Royal Melbourne Show in September where she not only participated in competition interviews, but gained behind-the-scenes insights into how a royal show is orchestrated. Highlights included the commentator’s box (“very impressive”), presenting ribbons to the finest Burmese Mountain Dogs (“a new but very enjoyable experience”), the show’s ‘Big Brother’ room (“where they keep an eye on everything!”) and participating in the Young Farmer Challenge. Well done, Katherine. I think you have inspired us all to have a shot at the Rural Ambassador Awards!
Staying with shows and Lucy Collingridge was recognised for her commitment to the agricultural show movement when she was awarded life membership of the Cootamundra Show Society at their 2022 Show. Lucy began her agricultural journey on a farm in Condobolin, however it was the Cootamundra Show that expanded her love and education about all things ag; from running the ute competition before she could legally drive herself, to competing in the junior judging events to now overseeing the fleece junior judging Group 9 final, and managing the website and social media for the show society from nine hours away. Lucy has been hands on wherever the Cootamundra Show Society has needed her for many years.
Lucy is pictured with her Mum, Sharon, and the Cootamundra Show President Geoff Larsen.
How can we re-imagine solutions to food security, and support SDG 2: Zero Hunger? This was the question Dylan Male took to high school students across Australia and Indonesia as a guest speaker at Asialink’s ‘Asia Education Foundation’ in early November.
“Eradicating hunger and malnutrition is one of the great challenges shared by our global community. Climate change, an increasing population, increasing farm input costs, land degradation, biodiversity loss and conflict are just some of the key colliding challenges adding pressure to our food systems. Positively, agricultural scientists are working with farmers around the world to optimise food production and support a world of #ZeroHunger,” Dylan says. “It was great to be a part of a program that is supporting young people to develop their own solutions and action orientated ideas, which will help contribute towards a world of Zero Hunger into the future.”
Want to hear Anika talk about electric cars in the Outback? Check out this Central Station podcast.
Jess Fearnley had a lovely surprise during her holidays. Her partner Christopher Pattison proposed to her on the shores of Lake Macquarie and she said yes! Congratulations Jess; we wish you both a lifetime of happiness.
A new program to be delivered by Action4Agriculture (A4A) in 2023 will reimagine the way young people see and access career pathways in agriculture. Supported by the National Careers Institute, ACTION4YOUTH, will engage with youth aged 15-24 years, either identified as disengaged, Indigenous or migrant, to explore a career in agriculture and/or fisheries, connect them to business and industry and, give them opportunities to undertake work experience in agriculture and fisheries.
The project will deliver across three phases:
EXPLORE: A series of careers awareness activities, with supported self-reflection on motivators, barriers, aptitude and interest across three key commodities: dairy, wool and fishing.
CONNECT: Participants connect with businesses and Young Farming Champions, to discuss career opportunities and learn what it is to be part of the agricultural/fisheries workforce.
SUPPORT: Training for job and life skills, and personal growth, will support youth to engage with a farm business/fishing enterprise. Students who complete the program will have the opportunity to undertake work experience to support them to gain practical and life skills for commencing a career in agriculture/fisheries.The initial phase of the project, EXPLORE, will connect young people, including from BackTrack, with career exploration professionals to increase awareness of career pathways within dairy, wool and fisheries. Using a combination of video, apps, workshops, personalised counselling sessions and direct connection to individuals working in the sector, young people will explore their own motivations and interests and look across all aspects of agriculture/fisheries production, including jobs of today and the future.
Even before its official launch ACTION4YOUTH has been gaining the attention of international stakeholders, including from Chris Webb, careers consultant for England’s University of Huddersfield and host of the #WeAreCareers Show, who writes:
“For me, this is a brilliant way to empower young people with career management skills and support them and their parents/carers to navigate an increasingly chaotic world, as well as mitigate the sense of ‘information overload’ that we so often hear as careers professionals.”
ACTION4YOUTH will partner with BECOME Education to deliver 21st century careers advise and pathway creation, and to fill the void where schools do not have careers advisors.
“Research shows that young people have a narrow idea of the world of work. They can hold simplistic or outdated ideas of careers. Agriculture is a prime example of a dynamic, changing and diverse field that is open to students of all backgrounds and interests. Agriculture can offer engaging careers for those with specialty knowledge from engineering to agribusiness, plant and animal systems, logistics, ecology, production processes and technology – to name only a few,” Liv Pennie, CEO and Founder of BECOME Education says.
I hear you’ve been thinkin’ about me and asked for an update… I’ve never had a pen pal before but I’m going to do my best to give you regular updates on what’s going on in my life!
For those of you who don’t remember me, I’m Ngunnawal, the Kreative Koala designed by the passionate environmental warriors (the students) of Bob’s Farm Primary School.
I’m writing to you all today from my home at the Port Stephens Koala Sanctuary. It’s such a great place to live.
I spend my days in the Koala Centre, welcoming all the keen koala lovers who come and visit the Sanctuary. Visitors love to take photos with me and I’ve become really great friends with the humans who work here too! I get to be a product tester, trying on all the new merchandise that is sold in the retail store.
My favourite item is the beanie. But I’m not sure how I should wear the beanie… Should I have one on each ear or just plop one on the middle of my head? I’d love to know what you all think!
I’ll send another update when I’ve got more exciting news to share! In the meantime, if you’re looking for something to do, come visit me, I promise you’ll have a koala-ty time!
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
“As one of the most threatened ecosystems on our planet, grasslands face important conservation challenges caused by land-use and climate change and their conservation is crucial if we are to protect biodiversity and global health. I was grateful for the opportunity to present a poster presentation on my PhD research and how it is helping support the vision of Djaara to return the culturally significant grass species Themeda triandra to the landscape in Australia. I would like to acknowledge and thank all involved in organising the conference, and also to the AW Howard Memorial Trust for supporting this experience.”
Dylan’s Spanish sojourn allowed him to network with peers across Europe and to visit “Basque Country’s beautiful Aizkorri-Aratz Natural Park, where we trekked across rocky subalpine grasslands and learnt about the role of livestock grazing in these fragile ecosystems.”
In the field Australian agriculture is thriving, despite the constant climatic challenges presented, which this year comes in the form of over-abundant rain (how many times do we get to say that in this country!).
Sam O’Rafferty, who works alongside Emma Ayliffe at Summit Ag, reports that planting of summer crops is well underway in southern NSW:
“cotton, corn and rice have all been going in the ground for the past 20 days. Consecutive rain events has made planting challenging and will likely reduce the area planted to summer crop this season. Hopefully we will have green rows in some fields in the coming days.”
Staying in the plant world, horticultural researcher at Applied Horticultural Research, Steph Tabone found herself in Manjimup, WA in late September.
“I organised an event that was funded and delivered as part of the Hort Innovation projects ‘Soil Wealth and Integrated Crop Protection’ project and the ‘PotatoLink’ project. The event was focused on cover cropping, strip-tillage and biofumigation and how growers can incorporate the practices into their farming operations to improve soil and crop health.”
60 people attended Steph’s event – a combination of growers, researchers, suppliers, advisors and other industry members.
Moving on to livestock, Katie Barnett, who works as an assistant manager at “Taylors Run” at Kentucky, NSW, is enjoying busy spring days.
“We have almost finished lambing and calving and we will begin marking soon. We are also in the middle of a 50ha radiata pine harvest. I am lucky enough to be sharing feeding two poddy lambs and one poddy calf!”
Meanwhile Katherine Charles is finishing up life at university and exploring options for her career in agriculture.
“I recently completed an 8-week work placement with SheepMetriX, a sheep genetic consulting business based in Young, NSW. At first, I was hesitant to attend placement with a sheep company because most of my experience has been working with cattle, an industry that I am very passionate about. However, I kept an open mind and went into my placement with minimal knowledge about sheep, but a keen willingness to learn. I enjoyed attending seminars, assisting with fleece weighing and lamb DNA sampling, as well as a range of other activities. Working with Sally Martin and her team was a great experience and one that I am very grateful for. I am glad that I took the opportunity to expand my horizons and learn from an innovative leader in the Australian wool industry. This placement has strengthened my love for livestock, and I will definitely consider a career in the wool industry in the future.”
Still on sheep, Wollongong University student and friend of the YFC Hannah Brien has been back on her family Bella Lana Poll Merino Stud at Dripstone, NSW, which has been part of the Merino Lifetime Productivity project.
“Our stud was among 25 and was involved with the extensive data collection and analysis of the progeny of merino stud sires from across Australia. MerinoLink hosted a field day and dinner to celebrate the closing of this project, which investigated genetic linkages between the performance averages of merino ewes across their lifetime and has facilitated the formation of a new index which represents the methane output of each ewe.”
Hannah’s university colleague Thomas Allman is following in Dylan’s footsteps as he enjoys an agricultural career located in Kyoto, Japan as a 2022 New Colombo Plan scholar.
“The Kamogawa River is a beautiful place and symbolises a bit of peace at the end of often busy Japanese working days. This slice of nature offers views of local wildlife and reminds people to enjoy life off their phones and living simply.”
Out of the Field
Out of the field, agricultural shows are dominating the spring headlines.
Lucy Collingridge sat down with Neil Butler from the Regional 250 podcast recently to discuss all things Armidale NSW and volunteering. Lucy is, perhaps, our biggest agricultural show advocate and has been particularly busy as events ramp up after a two-year hiatus due to COVID. After attending the Narromine show in September Lucy travelled to the Condobolin Show (where she got her first taste of agriculture over 15 years ago) and then to Adelaide Royal.
“Adelaide was a fantastic opportunity to see how youth events are run in other states and to hear how they are continuing to engage youth and show excellence in agriculture through the show movement.”
Congratulations Lucy – your tremendous support of agricultural shows across the years does not go unnoticed.
Earlier this year Katie Barnett was named the 2022 Kempsey Show Young Woman of the Year.
“While in this role I wanted to do something meaningful that would lead to positive change and further education. I decided that I would hold a few fundraisers to support Ability Agriculture, a charity started by local Kempsey woman Josie Clarke. Ability Agriculture is an online platform and community group that shares the stories of those with disabilities in agriculture. Supporting Ability Agriculture means a lot to me as I had an Aunt who lived on farm with a disability and I now have a younger cousin who is wheelchair bound after an accident in 2021.”
Also getting into the show spirit were Kate Webster, Jo Newton, Jaz Green (nee Nixon) and Emily May. Kate coordinated the Wagga Wagga Show Young Woman of the Year Competition.
“I had the pleasure of meeting some wonderful and incredibly passionate young women and to learn what parts of agriculture drive them to get involved in the industry.”
Jo caught up with Jaz (and son Arthur) at the Melbourne Show where Jaz and husband Hayden’s Summit Livestock Limousin Stud was very successful, taking out Supreme Exhibit and Senior Champion Bull (Summit Patriot R53), Senior Champion Female (Summit Cauliflower R56), Reserve Junior Bull (Summit Big Star S46) and Breeders Group and Pair of Junior Bulls.
“One of their cows, Summit Krystal L35 also set a new Australian Limousin female record price of $55,000 at auction, at the Spring Selection Sale IV this week,” Jo reports.
At Griffith Emily saw the lighter side of an agricultural show.
“I’ve seen many interesting segments showcased at agricultural shows but this by far was one of the strangest – a display of weeds in bloom was a winning entry, clearly an entry selection set for a laugh. This may be the only time an agronomist can get away with propagating weeds.”
Moving away from shows and onto life-long learning and SamWan has recently completed 6 weeks of TEKLAB VIC, a Farmers2Founders “Hatch” initiative supported by Agriculture Victoria and LaunchVIC. The program, for aspiring entrepreneurs and founders, explores agtech solutions for farm and industry.
“We got to see firsthand the operation, performance and passion of various growers and agriculturalists in a practical way that was informative and engaging and the biggest opportunity was to network with each other and the producers, researchers and industry leaders we met along the tour.”
Finally, our YFC are often called upon to share their experiences with others as exampled by Dione Howard who was invited to speak at an event hosted by ANZ Bank in Young, NSW to celebrate International Day of Rural Women.
“I spoke about my career journey, the rural women who inspire me and what it means to me to be a rural woman.”
Jessica Fearnley’s impact on agriculture continues to ripple through a diverse audience, which will only increase with her latest gig:
“I have been given an exciting opportunity to write opinion pieces for The Land each month. I am looking forward to using this to talk about opportunities and the exciting things that happen in day-to-day agriculture.”
Well done Jess – we look forward to reading.
Congratulations to YFC Alumni Bessie Thomas and husband Shannon who welcomed Phoebe Clara to the world on 19.9.22. Weighing 3.6kg and measuring 51cm in length, Phoebe is a sister to Airlie and Lachie.
Also enjoying family time this month was Danielle Fordham who returned to her family’s West Wyalong property.
“It was wonderful to reunite with the family and be reconnected with the land again after spending two years in the “big smoke” around Newcastle. It was great to help out on the farm by assisting with lamb marking and it was adorable to see the little lambs and unleash my farming skills that I rarely get to use anymore – I was proud that I still had it in me! In the upcoming university holidays, I hope to spend more time out in the countryside and capture more of these heartfelt moments, and appreciate the little things.”
When Steph Tabone takes time out from her work as a horticultural researcher you can find her on the netball court.
“After a great season, finishing as minor premiers, my team made it to the grand final. In the end, we lost by one point in 40 seconds of extra time! A huge congratulations to our competitors who played a fantastic game and to my teammates for their efforts.”
Ending the October Muster is Sam Wan showing us her egg-scellent sense of humour:
“Jo Newton and I were outside our usual agri-industry hen-semble when we flocked to the Kyneton and District Poultry Club Auction during October. It was an egg-ceptional experience but we did have to wing it learning how to bid as we went. It was no peck-nic with buyers milling the aisles busily. Two hens are now chicken out their new home!”
The students of Tarrawanna Public School tackled SDG 2: Zero Hunger as they created Mr T B Kind, a koala that brought together the whole school across multiple Key Learning Areas, with the theme of feeding the community.
Mr T B Kind is a mosaic koala inspired by the school environment using broken tiles, which were found as garden beds were prepared, to represent native animals such as cockatoos, bees and dragonflies. Mr T B Kind has a realistic mottled grey body and will be a striking and welcoming mascot to open classroom exhibitions.
“Our Koala created connections between our students, community and collaborators. The biggest and most exciting outcome was not only did the Kreative Koala initiative inspire Zero Hunger for community, but it has triggered special interest projects on sustainability across K-6 which we will be showcasing to community members.”
At Turvey Public School, near Wagga Wagga, students took a look at SDG 12: Sustainable Consumption and Production as they created Billy Barrandhang, a vibrant and detailed koala. Involving all classes across art, science and geography, Billy aimed to show:
“we all belong to one earth and we are all responsible for protecting its beauty”
Billy was created using ideas the students derived from Australia’s magnificent landscapes and natural features and is a celebration of a place to call home.
“Billy discretely embeds our entire school community and culture through the symbols painted on the koala. The flags in the ears of the koala represent each student and staff member to show our whole school approach towards sustainability and equality. The koala has our school core values written on the feet; resilience, responsibility and respect all which are integral to growing a healthy world. The crow wings are holding up the heart shape Earth on our koala making it unique because it symbolises our school totem and how the world’s future is in our hands.”
Warrawee Public School took Kreative Koalas literally and launched a campaign to Save The Koalas, naming their creation “Eila”.
“Children chose to call our art koala Eila after one of our sponsored koalas. Elia is a heroic koala who survived the Mambo wetlands fire in Port Stephens in December 2018 with a baby on her back and pregnant with another. The children see her as resilient and a hero for being able to escape the fires and then survive the treatment in Port Stephens hospital as she had badly burnt paws from climbing a burning tree.”
Students realised bushfires effect flora as well as fauna and as a result Eila is adorned with gum leaves, waratahs, kangaroo paw and wattle alongside native animals fleeing the smoke of the fire, which curls across Eila’s back. Indigenous designs illustrate a connection to Country and green represents renewal.
“The green of the gum represents the regeneration of the Australian bush and though it takes time the children felt this was important as life starts again and gives us hope for the plight of the koalas.”
Congratulations to all schools and students participating in the 2022 Kreative Koalas. Collectively students have explored a total of nine Sustainable Development Goals:
Agility Agriculture founder Josie Clarke (pictured with father Glen) and Katie Barnett are working together to raise funds for the causes they care about
Many of our Young Farming Champions develop their love of agriculture through the show rings and continue the association throughout their careers. YFC Katie Barnett, who works as a farm manager on “Taylors Run” at Kentucky in NSW, is one such young person and earlier this year she was named the 2022 Kempsey Show Young Woman of the Year.
2022 Kempsey Show Young Woman of the Year Competition Winners L to R Senior: Katie Barnett, Junior: Lilly Rosten, Teen: India Dowling
The Young Woman of the Year competition is held at agricultural shows across NSW and aims to find a young female ambassador to represent rural areas and the show movement. The program is designed to develop regional young women, their local show societies and their communities. During the competition participants are given the opportunity to be interviewed, public speak, present and network. Local winners, like Katie, will compete in a zone final and if successful go on to the Sydney Royal Easter Show, where they vie to be named The Land Sydney Royal AgShows NSW Young Woman of the Year.
“Whilst in this role I really wanted to do something meaningful that would lead to positive change and further education. I decided that I would like to hold fundraisers to support Ability Agriculture, a project started by local Kempsey woman and 2022 NSW Rural Woman of the Year Josie Clarke,” Katie says.
Ability Agriculture is an online platform and community group that shares the stories of those with disabilities working within agriculture; raising awareness and dispelling the myth that agriculture is only a career for the able-bodied.
“I started Agility Agriculture in 2021 as a bit of a passion project. When I was 5 my Dad had a truck accident and is now is a wheelchair and I am therefore aware of things like accessibility issues for him. I wanted to share stories of people with disabilities in agriculture to challenge traditional views, raise awareness, create opportunity and provide a supportive community,” Josie says.
“Supporting Ability Agriculture means a lot to me as I had an Aunt who lived on farm with a disability and I now have a younger cousin who is wheelchair bound after an accident in 2021.”
A portion of the money raised by Katie will assist Agility Agriculture establish a not-for-profit charity, which will include a job site, scholarships to university, leadership courses and funding for families. Katie has kicked off her fundraising with a Bake Sale at the Kempsey Saleyards, which raised over $700. A raffle and a 100s club are currently running and a trivia night is to be held in late October.
“Katie’s funds will directly help me with a scholarship to send two people to an agricultural conference in Adelaide next year,” Josie says.
Thanks to Katie for bringing Agility Agriculture to our attention and thank you to Josie for making positive changes to show people with a disability can find meaningful careers in agriculture.