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.
United Nations Sustainable Development Goal (SDG) 2: Zero Hunger is being investigated by students for the first time in 2020 and teacher Martha Atkins is excited to see changes in student thinking already.
“One of our boy’s fathers works with AOG Medowie Foodway and he told us that Foodway supports 1500 families in Port Stephens, which is 10% of our population. This was an eye-opening statistic for students. They thought zero hunger only applied to homeless people. They did not realise there were people and families who had a house and jobs who were experiencing difficult times. It has not been a hard job to get them to engage with this goal – they are excited about doing something to help.” Martha says
Whilst the students initially wanted to create a food bank within their school one of the things the students learnt from participating in KK 2019 was if you want to have community impact it’s important to meet the needs of the community and so began a journey of community consultation. The students created a survey which they shared with their family and friends.
“The feedback from the surveys showed us the community felt a larger priority was teaching our community about growing fruit and vegetables in a sustainable way and that has become our focus,” Martha says.
Complementing Kreative Koalas, Medowie Christian School is simultaneously participating in OzHarvest’s FEAST program, which aims to inspire “kids to eat healthy, waste less and be change-makers in their local community.” The final product of FEAST will be a school cookbook.
“FEAST will tie in really well with Kreative Koalas and zero hunger. We are a K-12 school so we have an agriculture teacher and our own school plot so we grow a lot of our own vegetables and will be using our own resources. We are looking at making our school garden a sustainable garden.” Martha says.
Another surprising outcome from Medowie’s community survey was the number of people who did not know about the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals.
“60% of those surveyed didn’t know of, or couldn’t explain, the SDGs and when the kids saw that they thought ‘oh that’s easy – we can fix that one The students are making a video about SDGs and are enthusiastic about sharing information on their blog. “Although we’ve chosen zero hunger, if we want to see real change, we need to make all the goals famous.” Martha says.
Congratulations Medowie Christian School on your wonderful start to the 2020 Kreative Koalas program – we look forward to watching your journey and your contribution towards Zero Hunger. AND raising awareness of the Sustainable Development Goals and inspiring others to join the movement to achieve them.
TAP and KK are operating under a new model this year, which encourages communities of practice across primary, secondary and tertiary education institutions, business and government. One school taking on the challenge for the first time is St Catherine’s Catholic College at Singleton, under the guidance of agriculture teacher Joanna Towers.
“One good thing about this crisis [coronavirus lockdown] is I have had time to study at home and listen to a range of webinars in my own time. It has opened up a whole new world for me – soil health, regenerative agriculture, carbon in soils. At the moment I am into dung beetles and it’s become my goal to get them back to the school farm.” Joanna says
The 35 hectare school farm has previously had all but 4 hectares leased to a third party but this year the lease will revert in entirety to the school.
“How we will manage that land has given me the impetus to put new learnings into place,” Joanna says.
In a normal year the students of St Catherine’s would have pigs and cattle ready for the Sydney Royal Easter Show and its cancellation brought great disappointment to the school.
“I wanted something different and something the students could look forward to. I had always been aware of The Archibull Prize and always looked at the final products with amazement, but I thought the project was too big. Now we have an art teacher on board to provide creative genius and a new direction for the school farm, and are participating in both The Archies and Kreative Koalas!” Joanna says
St Catherine’s tasted success with PYiA when they joined the Careers Competition in 2019 where one of their students, Hallee Tanzer, won the Years 7 to 10 section. Joanna found this competition, and the resume writing competition that is part of The Archibull Prize , to be a great asset for her students.
“Glencore [mining company] is a major employer in Singleton and recently they advertised 40 positions and got 1800 applicants. The Cultivate your Dream Career Competition will give the students skills in resume writing to make that important first impression. For example, it’s all very well to say to an employer you are a team player but it’s the concrete evidence of those skills that is important. Students may not realise the skills they learn in school are transferable to the workplace and this competition helped them make that connection.” Joanna says
St Catherine’s will be joined on their 2020 Archibull Prize and their Kreative Koalas journey by Young Farming Champion Tim Eyes, himself a promoter of sustainable and ethical agriculture, and we look forward to watching their vision for a new school farm evolve.
In partnership with Corteva Agriscience we invited young people in agriculture to share with us their journey to a career in the agriculture sector. We asked them to show us what they stood for and if they could wave a magic wand what would they change
Today we begin the series with Renae Kretchmer story who is jointly celebrating her 21st birthday and the release of her Heywire video.
Renae shares with us
the strength of country communities, especially in times of need
farmers are some of the most driven, intelligent, innovative and resourceful scientists you will ever meet
showing young people that exciting young people are farming will encourage a younger generation to become involved with agriculture
agriculture is sustainable, regenerative and innovative
For those who don’t know farming, there are things that fill your heart with joy; like springing out of bed on a frosty morning as if it’s Christmas to check for newborn lambs, even when it’s too cold for the motorbike to start. Or, sitting out on the deck after a hard days’ work, looking across the land and knowing you’re truly doing good. It is having the satisfaction when a new species of native bird decides to call the farm home, or the delight in raising chickens totally free-range. It is having the opportunity to put your heart in what you do
As a kid I was asked; ‘what do you want to become?’
It was simple: A farmer.
Do the pictures you see of old bloke with a pitchfork scare our youth away from such a rewarding and fulfilling career in agriculture? Is this stereotype masking the fact that farmers are actually some of the most driven, intelligent, innovative and resourceful scientists you will ever meet?
Despite the perception an A-grade student may not be perceived to ‘want to be a farmer’. I was proud to answer the question?
I wanted to be part of the new generation that you saw when you googled “Farmer”
For me it has always been easy to see; farmers are cultivators of life, they feed the world, are true stewards of the land and perhaps have the most important job out there. But they are constantly combatting this ‘farmer misconception’, and that must be changed. I want all young people like me to have the confidence to say with pride that she wants to be a farmer and to feel they have made a valued choice. For her to have the opportunities to cultivate that spark of interest into something amazing.
Farming is unlimited opportunities to marvel at nature; to experience wholeheartedly the joys each new season brings. To be at the mercy of the weather but still have profound faith. To pray for rain and then dance when it’s bucketing down.
My dream is to be a regenerative, ethical, diverse and pasture-raised farmer and to inspire others to peruse this profound career .
And here is a fact: we need farmers and we need people who support farmers to do what they do.
Too often we are reminded that the average age of a farmer is almost 60. For me I see a whole generation of innovative youth excited to take part in the progression towards a sustainable and regenerative agricultural career.
Watch Renae’s beautiful bitter sweet Heywire story here
Sir Ken Robinson (1950 – 2020) was the most watched speaker in TED’s history, with his 2006 talk ‘Do Schools Kill Creativity?’ being viewed online over 60 million times and seen by an estimated 380 million people in 160 countries.
He was named as one of Time/Fortune/CNN’s ‘Principal Voices’; acclaimed by Fast Company magazine as one of ‘the world’s elite thinkers on creativity and innovation’ and ranked in the Thinkers50 list of the world’s top business thinkers. Source
He was a man who will always inspire. His vision to unlock the creative energy of people and organisations inspires the Picture You in Agriculture team
in this video filmed in May 2020 Sir Ken says
Human beings are like the rest of life on earth, we flourish under certain conditions and we wither in other circumstances.
The other parallel is sustainble agricultural systems based on cultivating the soil, this is also true of our communities in our cities, in our neighborhoods, in our schools. That people flourish when the culture is right. Great teachers, great principals, great school systems understand that you don’t make a successful education system based on driving people through pointless systems of tests and output and data driven hurdles.
The way you get people to flourish, is by recognizing their individuality. The great diversity and depth of people’s talents of children from every age are full of boundless possibilities.
You do that by creating a mixed culture in schools. One that values the sciences, the arts, technology, that values individual talent, the driving force of individual passions. In other words, successful schools don’t focus on output, they focus on culture in the same way the sustainable farmers focus on the soil.
You get the culture right, everything else takes care of itself. That means a culture of compassion, of collaboration, of empathy, and of the value of individuals and the necessity of our social lives thriving through our joint participation.
We agree with Sir Ken. We have found young people love to learn. They have values we can all aspire to, they are deeply curious creatures, highly creative, deeply compassionate, and highly collaborative.
We are showing we can reinvent school, we can revitalize learning, and we can reignite the creative compassion of our communities if we think differently when we try to go back to normal.
COVID19 has been challenging for our funding model and we look forward to coming out on the other side to a joint vision for a bright future. It would be great honour to support Sir Ken Robinson deliver his legacy
Francesa Earp talks to Dr Anika Molesworth about her research work in Laos and why actively listening to your people it the most important tool to understanding them.
Social and cultural factors of a community are important to leadership – understand your people
Learn from people and their situation before trying to change things
Laugh when things don’t go to plan, and understand a sense of humour can help build relationships and connections
Actively listen to people around you, hear what is said, act on it
“…..have proper conversations with farmers about why they’re doing things and what’s influencing those decisions … tailor ag extensions to why farmers are making those decisions.”
Francesca Earp is a researcher for global development, student and New Colombo Plan Scholarship recipient. She completed her honours project (University of Sydney, 2018) on the cost of foot and mouth disease control in the Lao People’s Democratic Republic. In 2019 she returned to Laos to become the In-Country Implementation Officer for two agricultural development programs conducted by Sydney University in collaboration with The Department of Livestock and Fisheries and funded by The Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research. She worked in this role until project completion in April 2020 and also worked as a gender consultant for a Business Partnership Platform Project based in Laos funded by The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade.
Francesca began a PhD in 2019 investigating the inclusion of female farmers in agricultural development programs in Laos but, due to covid travel restrictions, has put that on hold to study a Master of Global Development at James Cook University.
Dr Anika Molesworth is the founder of Climate Wise Agriculture. She lives in the Far West of NSW Australia, where her family raises sheep and goats. It was the decade-long Millennium drought that spurred Anika’s interest in climate change, and how to ensure sustainable and vibrant farming landscapes into the future. Anika is a recognised thought-leader of agro-ecological systems resilience, she is an agricultural science researcher, communicator and works in international agricultural development.
At Picture You in Agriculture we are a customer focused and people orientated organisation. For our in-school programs our customers are young people and we invite them to tells us how our programs can best support them to thrive in business and life.
They are very generous sharing their thoughts and dreams with us. We collect, track, and analyse the data to understand patterns and trends and make forecasts about what young people are thinking, feeling, talking about and want to act on. We measure to detect what is broken and refine interventions. We experiment to learn what works.
The clarion call in the past few years has been the request to help young people be confident they will be ready for the future of work . As you can see from previous surveys of the students we work with they are telling us they need a lot of support
Had a fantastic conversation with a teacher today. She tells me their school (which is participating in both The Archibull Prize and Kreative Koalas) is taking the opportunity to leverage our in school programs to increase their students employability skills and open their eyes to the depth and breadth of careers in agriculture. Yesterday the students had a presentation from a local agronomist, who shared his career journey and what his day in the workplace looked like .
The teacher was so proud of her students. She said the high level questions to the presenter came thick and fast.
One in a series that the agronomist handled beautifully was:
Student: How many clients do you have?
Student: Isn’t that a conflict of interest?
Agronomist: Took a deep dive into a conversation about confidentiality and ethics
We are looking forward to doubling these young people’s confidence in their employability skills
Covid continues to affect how we live and work and our thoughts this month are especially with our Victorian Young Farming Champions once again in lockdown. Yet even under these conditions they continue to shine.
Covid has challenged us to re-think the delivery of The Archibull Prize and Kreative Koalas and in this we took a proactive approach by developing a new model earlier in the year; and how to incorporate our YFC, whose travel restrictions change on a daily basis, was also an area in which we had to adapt.
Picture You in Agriculture is an organisation driven by agile and determined youth and we have been able to use virtual classroom options to expose young people to the diversity of careers in agriculture using our Paddock Pen Pals model. Carlingford West Public School in western Sydney recently participated in a Paddock Pen Pals session where six YFC – Lucy Collingridge, Chloe Dutschke, Danila Marini, Katherine Bain, Samantha Wan and Dione Howard – were thrilled to torpedo the stereotypical expectations of what a farmer looked like. It was a brilliant opportunity to show young people who they can be.
And remember we said Victoria was in lockdown? Well the organisers of PPP thought it might be a good idea to give Melbourne-based wool-broker Sam Wan a rest from school participation. Sam got wind of this and was straight on the phone wanting passionately to be involved.
“I grew up only half an hour from Carlingford West – these students were me – and I had no idea about wool at their age.
I was excited to talk to the next generation of wool consumers about the benefits of wool and wool’s importance in Australia and of the career opportunities available.” Seems you can’t keep a good YFC down!” Sam says
In The Field
In the field our cropping YFCs are revelling in a good season and are in awe of the difference twelve months and a bit of rain can make!
Down at Lake Cargelligo, as she scans her now lush paddocks, agronomist Emma Ayliffe believes she has the best job in the world coming into spring. Emma has also been out-standing in her field (pun intended), talking to ABC Radio about Yacker. She had a yarn with Kia Handley about Covid and how Yacker is getting people talking again.
The canola crops around Cowra in Central West NSW are coming along a treat. Frequent in-crop rainfall and slightly warmer temperatures are bringing in brilliant yellow flowers across Marlee Langfield’s paddocks. “We have been blessed with substantial rain throughout the season, which is saturating our soils and causing our machinery to bog, so we called in the local ag pilot for our recent fungicide spray to get the job done,” Marlee said.
In other Cowra-based news YFC and meat scientist Dr Stephanie Fowler has taken on more responsibility in her role with NSW DPI’s Centre for Sheep and Red Meat Innovation. With the retirement of her “great supervisor, mentor and boss” Dr David Hopkins, Steph will continue his work in collaboration with colleague Dr Benjamin Holman.
Shoutout to Cowra Guardian for the photo
Calum Watt continues with his research to breed better barley for our beer and recently published his latest findings. Read all about “Harnessing Transcription Factors as Potential Tools to Enhance Grain Size Under Stressful Abiotic Conditions in Cereal Crops” here. We love your work Calum!
Out of the Field
Out of the field and into the wider world and it has been podcast central for our YFCs this month as they share their stories across multiple platforms.
The successful YFC conversation series Leadership is Language has continued with YFC filling both the interviewer and interviewee roles.
Hannah Hawker opened the current round of proceedings when she sat down with ARLF’s Graham Smith on July 23, Dr Anika Molesworth spoke with Francesca Earp and got insights into international agriculture on July 30, Dione Howard interviewed Coaching for Leaders podcast creator Dave Stachowiak on August 6 and Mandy McKeesick (writer and keeper of the YFC stories) stepped up to talk to Emma Ayliffe about her new app Yacker on August 13.
Following on from the launch of the Farms Advice podcasts, which last month featured Martin Murray and Emma Ayliffe, woolly YFC Emma Turner joined the party during August to speak about her life as an independent wool broker with the Australian Wool Network. Check out the full conversation here.
Dr Jo Newton also joined the podcast party when she was interviewed by Mark Ferguson from neXtgen Agri. Mark generally focusses on the sheep and beef industries in Australia and New Zealand but spoke with Jo to get her take on the dairy industry and its contrasts to his usual world. Listen to the Head Shepherd podcast “From the City to the Cows” here.
Never one to be left behind Martin Murray has joined the podcast party by creating his very own! Agronomist Martin takes a weekly look at agriculture and farming in Australia and around the world, covering a range of topics including soil health, ag tech, farm innovation, weed management, herbicide usage, livestock management, profitability and sustainability. Join Martin’s party here.
Genetics and feedlot overseer Chloe Dutschke shared her thoughts on farm safety and mental health during a conversation with Alex Thomas and #Plantaseedforsafety. Through this project Alex is empowering women to take a lead role in farm safety: “that’s why I created the #PlantASeedForSafety Project. It’s about celebrating rural women and amplifying industry-driven, practical solutions that inspire rural men to save a life, by listening to their wife. Silence and safety paperwork doesn’t save lives, but rural women who are prepared to #PlantASeedForSafety – do.” Congratulations Chloe for sharing your stories.
In other news several friends of the YFC – Matt Champness, Nicole McDonald, Franny Earp and Aimee Snowden – have been involved in putting together the AgriEducate 2020 Essay Competition. Tertiary students can contribute to overcoming issues in food production and agriculture here in Australia and globally by entering the essay competition in one of four categories: Science (e.g. agriculture, medicine, life sciences, nutrition),Engineering/IT/Maths, Law/Arts/Social Sciences/Extension/Education and Economics/Commerce/Business.
Hot on the heels of being named a doctor after the acceptance of her PhD, Anika Molesworth is penning her first book! “A few months ago, I signed a contract with one of the big international publishing houses and now I have two months left to submit my manuscript! Over the past few weeks I’ve been listening to the stories of amazing people around the world on how climate change is impacting their region, what it means for food security, and how we can fix a broken food system in a climate challenged world. From farmers, scientists, nutritionists, chefs and more, the book will explore how everyone can help tackle climate change through the meal on their plate.”
Anika has made a short video on her book-writing experience – watch it here –and when she is looking for a break you can find her chatting to 2GB’S National Rural News about National Science Week. The girl really is everywhere!
Congratulations to YFC Tom Tourle and his wife Courtney who welcomed a baby girl to the world on July 7. Cute-as-a-button Quinn Emily Tourle arrived at 9.30pm weighing 3.36kg and stretching out to 50cm long.
Congratulations also to Deanna Johnstone who has moved into home ownership with the purchase of this sweet little house in Henty. “Project-time,” she says!
In 2019 when Zoe Stephens, science teacher at Carlingford West Public School, realised she had to teach her students about wool and sustainable fibres, she knew she needed to find an expert who could share real life experiences. So she trawled the internet looking for real-life farmers who may want to connect with her students. After plenty of maybes and half promises she came across Lynne Strong from Picture You in Agriculture and the Young Farming Champions, and Paddock Pen Pals was born.
Paddock Pen Pals beams Young Farming Champions from the paddock directly into classrooms using zoom, and this year six farmers joined the conversation at Carlingford West: Lucy Collingridge, Samantha Wan, Dione Howard, Katherine Bain, Danila Marini and Chloe Dutschke.
“Before we started I sat down with the Year 6 cohort [over 180 students] and asked them what they thought of when they pictured a farmer. You can imagine the comments – someone out in a field sucking on a bit of straw, big hat on and always a male. So then I said ‘next week you’ll actually get to chat with some farmers and they’re all young women’ and their mouths just hung open. It was amazing to have six young women to talk with us, particularly incredible because we are really breaking that stereotype of who is a farmer.” Zoe says.
With 82% of careers in agriculture supporting farmers to produce food and fibre the stereotype is certainly changing.
All Young Farming Champions work in different parts of the wool industry: Chloe is a contract musterer, Lucy a biosecurity officer, Dione a veterinarian, Katherine a business analyst, Sam a wool broker and Danila a researcher, and all were paired with a separate Year 6 class for a half hour presentation.
“All our farmers had something different to offer and this broadened the students’ understanding of the industry beyond sheep growing wool. Our big question was how are our farming industries implementing sustainable practices and having a dedicated Young Farming Champion for each class meant the students got a very one-on-one conversation with these farmers and I think that gave them more connection with who they were talking with.” Zoe says
“The kids were great,” Lucy says. “They had so many exciting questions and we had a great discussion about the sustainability of the wool industry with the kids who all knew about renewable resources and the unsustainable process to make man-made fibres.”
Sam showed the students a range of woollen products.
Dione spoke about animal health
Danila described her research into virtual fences
There were lots of questions for Danila
Chloe amazed them with the size of her property (“She had 18,000 sheep,” was one student’s comment. “I thought there would be only around 20 and they would be kept in a big red barn with a little fence!”)
Katherine “introduced them to my sheepdog Zip and got to show them a video of sheep being moved in the yards which caused a lot of excitement!”
“One of my favourite quotes from the students, which I heard over and over again, was ‘she answered my questions. Afterwards I asked them to reflect and write down what they had learnt and I love the fact not one of them were the same. Everyone has taken away their own understanding from their own perspective.” Zoe says.
The students have now created a wool wall in their classroom
The students will use their new-found perspectives as they create a project around waterway sustainability, and have strengthened their connection with their Young Farming Champions by promising to share with them the final products. Paddock Pen Pals has been an exceptionally effective way of connecting with real-life farmers and diving deep into the Australian wool industry. It will also hold the students in good stead as they tackle the 2020 Kreative Koala challenge.
For the Young Farming Champions, Paddock Pen Pals was another way to give back to the wool industry.
“I grew up only half an hour from Carlingford West – these students were me – and I had no idea about wool at their age,” Sam says. “I was excited to talk to the next generation of wool consumers about the benefits of wool and wool’s importance in Australia and of the career opportunities available. I even got a message from AWTA (the largest wool testing organisation) managing director, Michael Jackson, reminding me he went to Carlingford West, and then had a successful career in the wool industry!”
For Zoe, this was the second year she had participated in Paddock Pen Pals and although she feels she now has a strong understanding of the world of wool,
“there is no comparison between me standing up in front of the students and telling them what I know about wool to having an actual farmer, standing in a field, talk with them.”
For the students, they have had their queries answered by an expert and they now know what a farmer looks like.
Todays Leaderrship is Language offering sees Young Farming Champion Dione Howard interview global leadership guru Dave Stachowiak
Dave is the host and founder of the internationally acclaimed podcast Coaching for Leaders, which has been downloaded 15 million times. Here he sits down with Dione Howard to discuss how to build ally relationships between consumers and farmers.
Identify the big picture; the nobler motive
Find your allies – start from a place of looking to serve the other party and build mutually beneficial relationships. Use these relationships in your “ally fights”.
Find what’s important to a potential ally and where you may have common alignment. Be curious, ask questions, learn where an ally invests time and resources.
For leaders developing an ally relationship – get to know members of your own team and find out what’s important to them to bring them on the journey
When inevitable disagreements arise position the conversation in the context of the nobler motive.
“…..we can come back at look at ourselves and say, “Okay, now that we’ve figured out what’s important, or at least some indicators of what may be important, where do we have some common alignment?” That’s a great starting point then for that relationship.”
Dave Stachowiak has led training programs for top organizations like the Northrop Grumman Corporation, the United States Air Force, the Boeing Company, and the University of California. He has served as Senior Vice President with Dale Carnegie of Southern Los Angeles and in 2011 launched Coaching for Leaders.
His credentials include a doctoral degree in organizational leadership from Pepperdine University, certificated facilitator with Dale Carnegie, and a Coach U graduate. He serves on the board of the Global Center for Women & Justice and co-hosts the Ending Human Trafficking podcast with Sandie Morgan.
Dave helps leaders discover practical wisdom, build meaningful relationships, and create movement for genuine results.
Dione is a District Veterinarian with Riverina Local Land Services based in Wagga Wagga, NSW. She has been an active member of the Youth Voices Leadership Team(YVLT) since its inception in 2018; holding the position of Mentor Leader and Innovation Leader. 2020 has seen Dione step into the role of YVLT Vice Chair.
Dione’s seat on the YVLT Executive and the Picture You in Agriculture Board is enhanced by her completion of the Australian Institute of Company Directors (AICD) Company Directors Course, which she undertook in conjunction with her role as Wool Producer’s Youth Ambassador in 2019.
Leaders aren’t born. They’re made. Coaching for Leaders has attracted 15 million downloads of conversations with bestselling authors, expert researchers, and everyday leaders — and is the #1 search result for coaching on Apple Podcasts.