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.
Author: Picture You in Agriculture
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.
“Riverina Local Land Services is very pleased to support this Picture You in Agriculture project. Helping to “build capacity” of current and future primary producers and agricultural ambassadors is a high priority for Local Land Services and this project is an excellent opportunity to facilitate personal development of young people interested in agriculture. Local Land Services will also benefit from the opportunity to provide information to schools on topics of key importance such as: Aboriginal cultural heritage and cultural burns; woodland birds and threatened species found in the Riverina; healthy waterways; and pest animals and biosecurity.” ” general manager Ray Willis said.
Young people, aged between 18 and 35, who are studying or who have completed a agricultural qualification, are invited to apply for the Cultivate – Growing Young Leaders program. Successful applicants will receive an incredible two-year package of support including media training, networking and mentorship opportunities to help them share why their heart is in the Riverina and in agriculture.
In the second year of the program these young leaders will have the opportunity to hone their advocacy skills by engaging with primary and secondary students with PYiA’s in-school programs The Archibull Prize and Kreative Koalas.
Graduates of the program join the Young Farming Champions alumni – a national network of globally connected young thought leaders thriving in business and in life, who are inspiring community pride in Australian agriculture. Young Farming Champions include among their ranks Riverina Local Land Services veterinarian Dione Howard, finalist in the 2019 Leadership category of the NSW Young Achiever Awards ( winner TBA) Emma Ayliffe, 2018 Innovation Farmer of the Year Dan Fox and winner of the Leadership category of the 2018 Victorian Young Achiever Awards, Dr Jo Newton OAM.
Expressions of Interest to be submitted by 5pm 5th October 2020
Did you know the Murray-Darling Basin region produces food for 40 million people (almost double Australia’s total population)?
Or that it is home to 2.6 million people, over 40 Aboriginal nations and 16 internationally recognised wetlands?
Did you know this mighty river-system actually has naturally low volumes of water – so low that the amount of water flowing out of the mouth of the Murray Darling in one year is the same as the Amazon’s flow in one day!
PYiA connects learning to real world issues and our surveys show our young people are particularly interested in learning about how we ensure everyone has access to clean water and the role of our river catchments in delivering this .
One of our aims is to work with supporting partners to introduce these young people to experts and so, in order to deliver on what our young people want, PYiA recently facilitated a series of webinars for schools participating in Kreative Koalas and The Archibull Prize. The webinars were hosted by John Holloway from the education team at the Murray Darling Basin Authority (MDBA).
“We love virtual presentations and often it’s the only way to do them when the Murray-Darling Basin is over a million square kilometres. I love the look of understanding when kids can connect to new knowledge and see something with new eyes. We use water everyday but we rarely stop to think how special it is,” John says.
John tailored his presentations to both primary and secondary students.
“For Years 5 and 6 our key message is knowledge and awareness of the Basin as a special national asset. We all know, and can picture, the Great Barrier Reef, for instance, or Uluru—but despite its vital significance many Australians are oblivious to the Murray-Darling Basin. It’s such a massive and diverse system – really a living thing – and we struggle to get our heads around it. With older students we like to get the message across that water management, like many of our big 21st century challenges, is very complex and often contested. There are no simple answers – but this is something that all Australians are in together,” he says.
Kreative Koala participants Caragabal Public School and St Joseph’s Primary School at Grenfell fall within the catchment for the Murray-Darling Basin and water is always front of mind for these students. Caragabal recently celebrated the coming of the rain in an ABC story, and both schools found particular relevance in the seminar.
Danielle Schneider is a teacher at St Joseph’s and is leading her students through sustainability with a specific focus on water management.
“The highpoints from the webinar included speaking directly with John Holloway who was exceptionally knowledgeable and provided the students with information on the importance of water and sustainable water use and management within the Murray-Darling Basin.
The key messages the students took home were that there is a finite amount of water available on Earth and, therefore, it is essential to look after the water we have, sustain this, and recycle it where possible. Another key message was that the Murray Darling Basin Authority and the Australian States work to control Murray-Darling Basin water and we must all use it wisely and appreciate it. Overall, the webinar educated students about the Murray-Darling Basin. This linked well to our class studies based on sustainability and water use. It provided students with access to valuable input not always easily accessible to us in the past,” she says.
The MBDA seminars were a wonderful way to connect to students participating in The Archibull Prize and Kreative Koalas, and we look forward to facilitating further webinars in the future, guided and informed by what our young people want.
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 meet Francesca Earp who shares with us her
Belief that gender inclusivity is the future of food security.
Young people can contribute to international agriculture
Empowering women benefits everyone
The is Francesca’s story ……
In November of 2018, less than a week after my final exam for my undergraduate degree, I packed my bags and moved to Laos. As my friends prepared for a uni free summer, I purchased a pair of zip-off pants. While my classmates worried about their final exam results, I worried about the waterproofing of my steel-capped boots. When everyone else my age was wondering what they were going to do with their lives, I unbeknownst to myself had already started.
I don’t think it was a surprise to anyone when I decided to enrol in my Bachelor of Animal and Veterinary Bioscience, even though the closest I’d gotten to livestock was milking a cow at the Easter show. Despite my lack of experience, I’d somewhat made a name for myself as the girl who loved adventure and getting her hands dirty. During my degree, I spent my holidays in South Africa at a White Shark research centre or as a farmhand at a Goat farm in Rural NSW
Francesca on a Rural placement on a goat farm in Wellington, NSW.
I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do with my degree, but I did know I was interested in the relationships between communities and their farming culture. I also loved travel and had been hooked since a service trip to Nepal in my high school years
Francesca and girls from the Dream Centre in Kathmandu, Nepal
So, it also came as no surprise when I decided to complete my honours project in Laos, investigating the cost of foot-and-mouth disease control. Just weeks after returning from my trip to Laos, my supervisor asked if I’d be interested in returning to Laos full time. This time as the in-country implementation officer for two agricultural development programs. It was a no brainer.
I flew to Luang Prabang in November of 2018, determined to make a difference. I worked with farmers, government and university staff. It wasn’t until six months into my time in Laos that I realised what I was genuinely passionate about. I noticed that the female farmers sat at the back of the room during training, that they answered on behalf of their husband in surveys and that I was one of the only females in my team. I noticed female farmer exclusion and disempowerment. After that, I knew what I wanted to do. I became dedicated to the inclusion and empowerment of female farmers in a culturally appropriate manner. I designed non-verbal training tools such as board games and activity books to accommodate for the higher rates of illiteracy due to limited schooling
Female farmers in Xayabuli, Laos playing the board game designed by Francesca
I ran female only training sessions. I became a PhD candidate, investigating the impact of socio-cultural factors on the uptake of agricultural development training programs, with a emphasis on the female farmer. My focus and passions go beyond the empowerment of female farmers in Laos. Just as food security is a global problem, so too is the exclusion of the female farming community. Female farmers in Australia still suffer the effects of gendered disempowerment themselves. With Australian women only becoming legally recognised as farmers as late as 1994.
The disempowerment of females results from long-standing and pervasive gendered marginalisation.
The experience of female farmers is a result of the socio-cultural factors of her community.
It is shaped by:
her community and
For that reason, we need to tailor our gender empowerment strategies to our beneficiary groups.
Success comes from:
acknowledging the intersectionality of the female experience
being sensitive to the role of the female farmer in her own community.
learning to ask the right questions.
ensuring that development is custom-made to each community we apply it to.
being vigilant that the empowerment of marginalised groups is self-directed.
putting these women in the position that they can define their own empowerment.
Once we learn to do that, we will be empowering women the world over. Learning to tailor extension programs in Laos can teach us how to empower our own female farming communities here in Australia. Its an answer to a much bigger question.
Back in Australia, after a year and a half of living in Laos, I am still dedicated to the empowerment of the female farmer. I believe that we need to understand and recognise the cultural script of beneficiary communities so that we can tailor agricultural extension programs to these socio-cultural factors. More importantly, I believe in the power of the female farmer. I believe that inclusivity in agricultural extension programs won’t just improve their equality, but also their successes. I believe that gender inclusivity is the future of food security.
Young Farming Champion Dr Anika Molesworth recently interviewed Francesca for our Leadership is Language series. You can watch the interview here
Read Francesca’s blog “Things my father taught me ” here
Update on Francesca’s career journey in agriculture
Communication, connection and collaboration are being enhanced at Innisfail State College, in northern Queensland, through participation in the 2020 Archibull Prize; and along the way the critical thinking skills of the students are improving.
Janet Lane is an agriculture teacher at Innisfail State College and as the school embarks on its Archibull journey Janet is already deriving great joy from their life-size fibreglass cow.
“She is beautiful. She is currently in the school office where she is contributing to the well-being of the office staff and next week she goes on tour, starting at the Elders office, because they have been such wonderful supporters of our agricultural program, and during the holidays she will be at the council chambers. I am really excited about connecting to the community and generating community involvement in the project.” Janet says
Year 9 classes from agriculture and art are focusing on Global Goals 14 and 15 and will collaborate on the Archibull. They have chosen as their Agricultural Area of Investigation “Clean, Healthy, Sustainable Catchments for All” and will do a deep dive into the effect of pollutants entering waterways and the Great Barrier Reef.
“Our biggest industries are sugar-cane and bananas, which are both pretty heavy fertiliser use industries; and we are framed by two rivers. We did a two lesson incursion exercise to model the catchments and to show it is not only farmers who are contributing to pollutants. We saw there was organic nitrogen from the rainforest and that hobby farms, fishers and water-skiers all contributed. It was a powerful exercise to give them a big-picture visual and the students were surprised at how much pollutant goes into catchment and how big the catchment actually is.” Janet says
The students have run with this big-picture idea and taken a critical look at their own school yard – seeing how rubbish from the playground can flow to the agricultural plot, potentially affecting their cows, and from there into waterways and onto the reef.
“We’ve been looking at the systematic and behavioural changes we can make. We approached the council who have provided extra wheelie bins for the school and we have workshopped ideas and solutions using inquiry learning.” Janet says
Students participated in a full day incursion that bought of art and agriculture students together to looking at behaviour change and people’s atttitude to the environment.
The council is also supporting the school by providing links to local industry to showcase the range of local careers available and guest speakers, including an agronomist from Elders, have been giving the students practical insights into these careers.
“I’m really enjoying the whole process and the palette of possibilities The Archibull presents. The resources provided are phenomenal and I am looking forward to giving each section of Sustainability Circle pie pieces and giving a section to each group to study. The Archibull is also building teacher capability; teachers who wouldn’t normally work together are meeting each week and sharing ideas. And I’ve noticed a big difference in the students working in groups – they are starting to be more responsible, allocating tasks to each other and getting their group collaboration together. Most importantly I am seeing these kids develop their critical thinking skills.” Janet says
At Innisfail State College the aim of The Archibull Prize – students taking action on real world problems and working with real world people on issues that matter to them – is being realised and we look forward to following their Archie journey as the year progresses.
The students are sharing with their Archie journey with parents and friends through their school newsletter
Picture You in Agriculture’s (PYiA) overarching aim is to support young people to thrive in business and life. We do this by identifying and developing emerging leaders, teaching them how to multiply their impact and providing them with a smorgasbord of opportunities to apply what they learn.
This is achieved through our cornerstone program Young Farming Champions (YFC) and by engaging with the next generation in primary and secondary schools.
The YFC program identifies and nurtures young agricultural professionals and equips them with the skills to:
Connect and collaborate with the next generation of consumers and
Advocate for, and drive change in, the Australian agricultural sector.
The YFC partner with PYiA to deliver our primary and secondary school programs that empower young people to design and implement sustainability action projects through the lens of agriculture.
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