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.
One of the major objectives of the Archibull Prize is to give students a voice through their artwork to not only promote the program and its key messages to hundreds of thousands of people, but to showcase the students’ opinions, learnings and values to the community.
Art4Agricultures partnership with the RAS of NSW (through the Sydney Royal Easter Show) and the RNA of Queensland ( through the Ekka ) gives us a wonderful opportunity to do this
This is how the clever team in the Food Farm have achieved this in 2013 at the Sydney Royal Easter Show
James Ruse Agricultural High School and Model Farms High School
De La Salle College
Shoalhaven High School
Hills Adventist College and Macarthur Anglican School
It is often said that young people are the leaders of tomorrow but like our guest blogger today and so many of our Young Farming Champions have shown young people are also the leaders of today. If you give them half a chance they will astound you with their energy and idealism. More importantly, they will impress you with their maturity and willingness to engage constructively in the process of improving our local communities and the future for agriculture.
Our guest blogger today in Martin Murray who also pens his own very impressive blog the The Farming Game.
Martin is another superb example of the new generation of talented young people from across our agricultural industries working together to help address the negative image and perceptions about agriculture in the wider community.
This is Martin’s story……………………
G’day my name is Martin Murray and I know that agriculture is essential to Australia and its future. I’m a blogger. I’ve worked on a cattle station in the Northern Territory and currently work on a cotton farm outside of Moree. This year I am about to start a Rural Science course at the University Of New England.
I was born in Griffith in the Riverina; our family had rice and sheep property called Kulki on the Sturt highway between Darlington Point and Hay, it was here where I developed my passion for agriculture and farming.
Kulki from the air
My two younger brothers and I used to have be up a six and ride down the 1km driveway to the bus stop for the two hour bus trip to school in Coleambally.
The Murray brothers
Other great memories include taking the late lunch down to my dad who was driving the tractor at 5pm in the afternoon, the crop dusters flying low across the water seeding the rice paddies and swimming in the channels.
My bothers and I singing in the rain
Unfortunately there were big gaps between the wet and the dry seasons and drought eventually forced us to sell up and move to Moree in northern NSW.
For a while after that I wasn’t that heavily involved in agriculture but I still always thought that it would be in my future. My dad started working in town and we had a small a hobby farm of just 27 acres with about six head of cattle from time to time. I went to boarding school in Sydney were I soon learned the many misconceptions and lack of understanding about agriculture outside of rural areas, but I’ll get to that later. While at school I studied agriculture and started working on a cotton farm outside of Moree during the school holidays mainly irrigating the cotton and also driving tractors.
Humbert River is located 5 hours from the nearest town of Katherine. It is a relatively small station of only about 1500 square kilometres running 13000 head of Brahman cattle and turning off around 3000 head of cattle a year.
Working on Humbert was a very unique experience not just because of size, location and isolation but because of the size of its crew. Unlike previous years where they had a crew of six stockmen in 2012 they were trialling the use of contractors for stock work so there was only the manager and his family, me and a cook/jillaroo that left half way through the year. This made my time on Humbert River different to the majority of other people’s experiences working on stations as instead of primarily doing stock work I mainly did other tasks such as fencing, bore runs, loader work and putting out cattle lick blocks
Due to the unique nature of Humbert River Station I also had a lot of spare time on my hands so I started writing my blog, The Farming Game. The aim of my blog is to show my daily life and what we do and why we do it. Around the time I started writing Four Corners aired “Another Bloody Business” about the slaughter of Australian sheep in Pakistan. Like the the forerunner program “A Bloody Business” this program used highly emotive images to portray Australian agriculture in a negative light.
These images are only increasing consumer wariness of modern farming practices and it concerns me greatly that agriculture is constantly being portrayed in the media as having bad environmental practices as well as the negativity around genetically modified crops and excessive water use. I have since found issues like these have been around for a long time and the day before writing this article I heard a song by Slim Dusty “To Whom It May Concern” which was released in 1978 that highlights that the rural urban divide was an issue even back then. I hope my blog The Farming Game will help people rethink and see agriculture more positively.
Whilst I was at school I heard some pretty amusing things from my fellow students who have never crossed the Great Dividing Range and had the opportunity to discover all the exciting things rural and regional Australian has to offer. The most amusing one I came across was from a city class mate who believed that Dubbo was just a one street town with a population of no more than 100. Although I found this hilarious at the time it really highlights the problem of the divide and the need to change perceptions of, and promote rural Australia and it’s importance to the national economy and society as well as all the opportunities in rural cities.
Underpinning my strategy to bridge the divide is to make our country shows more interactive and to bring more farmers to events in the cities where people can hear the farming stories and see the faces behind the produce they buy.
Social media such as twitter and the many blogs written by farmers are also having a great effect on bridging the divide. Bringing the farm to schools and introducing students to young farmers like the Art4Agriculture programs is a great way to get the message across to children. Programs like this not only help build awareness of, and interest in agriculture, they help create a new generation of agricultural-savvy Australians. Some may even choose agricultural careers whilst many others will know more about where their food comes from and appreciate the care and commitment that goes into growing the shirt on their back or putting the steak on their dinner plate. Hopefully Art4Agriculture will be able to spread their programs to all states in Australian and reach more Australian children.
As for my future my biggest challenge starts this year studying Rural Science at the University of New England while hopefully being able to continue writing my blog as well as working on my other two websites Farming Photo’s and Cotton Careers. My major goal in life is to own and run my own mixed cattle and cropping property, while continuing to promote agriculture and bridging the rural urban divide.
Congratulations Martin, Art4Agriculture look forward to following your journey. Maybe you might even find the time to join the team for 2013
Sara McGrath and Young Farming Champion Richie Quigley announcing the Archibull Prize 2012 Winner
and the winner is …. James Ruse Agricultural High School
Sarah had some exciting news for the schools in the audience and we are ecstatic to announce that eight of our 2012 Archibulls will go on exhibition at MCLEMOI GALLERY, Sara Leonardi-McGrath’s contemporary art gallery, in Sydney next month.
Sara with some of the team from Tuggerah Lakes Secondary School, Berkeley Vale Campus whose cow will be on display her gallery from Jan 15 to 25th 2013
I was first contacted by Sara on twitter just after the launch of the Australian Year of the Farmer. We had coffee and it was clear she was a great admirer of women in the farming sector and was keen to promote Australian farmers in a hands on way.
Sara is keen to promote Australian farmers using her unique talents and Art4Agriculture couldn’t be happier
It is also highly evident that Sara was passionate about the development and education of next gen and enabling young people to reach their full potential. Excitingly for me and the team, Sara felt Art4Agriculture offered her a unique opportunity to deliver her vision for the promotion of our farmers and development of youth using her area of speciality the arts sector.
At that time Sara was spending every spare moment searching inner city real estate for the prefect place to open her art gallery and in June this year she opened MCLEMOI GALLERY at 45 Chippen Street, Chippendale.
MCLEMOI GALLERY – a unique space to exhibit the “Archibulls”
The gallery is known for representing Australian and international, established and emerging contemporary artists; and it certainly is a unique space to exhibit the “Archibulls.”
Sara has been in contact all year and is a huge supporter of the program and is always interested in our progress and the students’ artworks. We are thrilled she has invited the Archibulls to MCLEMOI. Sara is a great believer that educating our children is the most important role we have as a society. “While MCLEMOI’s main focus is on exhibiting Australian and international contemporary art, we are also committed to creating a sense of community and learning. We choose to support initiatives that focus on education, specifically in the arts. Providing an opportunity for these students to have their works exhibited in a commercial gallery, introduces them to professional artistic practices and hopefully instils in them a stronger interest and knowledge with art and culture” Sara said
Sara considers the fact that their artworks explore agricultural concepts builds an even more compelling reason to showcase their works. “Children need to be better informed when choosing what to eat as well as understanding where our food comes from. This is a vital first step in making informed choices. If we at MCLEMOI are able to encourage even one child to look further into the arts, if even by exploring other artists we work with; then we believe we have achieved our goal of fostering a generation of people who will also have a love and appreciation for the arts. This may only be achieved through exposure and creating an opportunity to be involved in the arts through galleries, whether it be commercially or not” Sara said
Hopefully the students will have an opportunity to explore the Museum of Contemporary Art and the White Rabbit, which are only stone throws away from MCLEMOI, while they are in Sydney .
We thank Sara for agreeing to host the Archibulls and invite you to visit them in Sydney.
The Archibulls will be on display at MCLEMOI GALLERY from 15 – 25 January 2013.
The gallery is open from Tuesday – Saturday, between 11am – 6pm at 45 Chippen Street, Chippendale.
We chose Brisbane as the venue to coincide with the Ekka. All the moons were aligned including our superstar videographer Tay Plain being in the country and able to join us for the full three days.
I will do a blog post on the workshop component shortly but first I would like to share our Ekka big day out with you
Tay and Ann set up at the Ekka
It started with breakfast at Southbank…….
We did the smart thing and picked the restaurant with most patrons ( well done Kirsty) and we weren’t disappointed with what Denim dished up for us. Those large lattes in the soup bowls were to die for.
As we had Tay our videographer whizz and and our producer, script writer extraordinaire Ann Burbrook both with us at the same time we were determined to share as much of the Ekka agriculture story as we could.
Tom and Jess at the Dairy Youth Challenge
Using our 2012 Young Farming Champions as both “talent, producers and interviewers” we spent the day learning from each other, other exhibitors and the punters.
Sammi gets up close and personal with the Woolley Jumpers
Lauren, Hayden, Ann and Tay set up the sheep shearing story
Steph inspired Next Gen F at the Junior District Exhibits
We even met the famous @auscottongirl Bess Gairns with her new pride and joy
Megan talked a lot of bull
and the bulls did a little dance
This was a very interesting concept. No lambs were born whilst we were there so we didn’t get to gauge audience reaction!!!
It was a great day but sadly every now and then, thankfully in the very small minority there was an industry naysayer determined to ruin the day. There was the whinging beef stud breeder who just couldn’t understand why his animals had to share the showground with non stud breeders. Yes that’s right the general public. Yes you heard right. The most important people in the food supply chain. Yes he was lucky enough to have that once a year opportunity to talk to and share his story with the people who buy what he produces and he them found quite irritating.
Then there was the guy in the dairy shed I just wanted to hit over the head when I found out later he told the YFC’s they were wasting their time talking to non farmer audiences.
But nothing dampened the spirit of the YFC’s. Today they are back on farm or at uni organising school visits and media interviews doing whatever it takes to continue the journey and spread the great story of agriculture across all the bridges.
Art4agriculture’s vision is for business and industry to work alongside education authorities, schools and students to support the learning and development of young people and enable all young Australians to reach their potential. We have a whole of industry vision and collaborate and cross-promote widely through our diverse and extensive communications network.
Today’s guest post comes from Arwen Cross from the Australian Centre for Plant Functional Genomics and one of the team behind Fascination in Plants Day
Arwen’s favourite plant is the Antarctic Beech.
She likes their gnarly trunks, but these trees are her special favourite because they have Antarctic in their name. When Arwen was 12 she decided she was going to be a scientist in Antarctica. But when she grew up and became a biochemist she discovered there were no pretty icebergs in her lab. So she decided talking about science would be more fun than doing it, and became a science communicator. She is still waiting to find a job that features icebergs, but in the meantime working with plants at ACPFG is pretty fascinating.
Here is what Arwen has to say about her obsession for all things from the Viridiplantae family ….
From peppery smell of eucalyptus on a hot summer’s day, to getting wet feet watering my silverbeet before work – I love plants. That’s why I’m so excited about helping organise Fascination of Plants Day in Australia.
My name’s Arwen, and I’m a science communicator. I work at the Australian Centre for Plant Functional Genomics in Adelaide. The scientists here are working hard to make better varieties of wheat and barley for Australian farmers. They’re particularly interested in helping plants tolerate drought and salinity.
Girls in the glasshouse. Monica Ogierman, Alison Hay and Arwen Cross are fascinated by plants.Read some more about Monica and Alison below
My job, as a science communicator, is to help the scientists explain their plant science to other people. But we want to hear what other people think about plants and plant science too! That’s why we’re organising the Fascination of Plants Day video competition.
Australian secondary students have a chance to win $1000 by filming videos about plants or plant science. The videos should be up to 3 minutes in length. If you want more information, or if you’re ready to enter your video, go to www.acpfg.com.au/videocomp
I had fun making a video about the students and scientists here at the Australian Centre for Plant Functional Genomics. Do you like plants for the same reasons as they do?
Want some inspiration
More about Arwen’s team
I first heard about DNA in grade 10 – I thought it was the coolest thing: a molecule that encodes LIFE! I said to myself “When I grow up, I want to be a molecular biologist and help people”. After many years of study at The University of Adelaide, I become one, and researched bugs (bacteria) that make people sick. Really sick. I worked at the Women’s and Children’s Hospital and a lab in Germany as a research scientist. Now, I’ve ‘seen the light’ and work in the field of plants (get it…field!). I communicate with the community about research ACPFG does on wheat on barley, because these plants are important for our food supply. I also have the privilege of working with our postgraduate students, who will become world-class plant scientists when they grow up. Not a bad way to earn to a living!
Alison fell in love with a horticulturist when she was 19 and since then she’s been surrounded by plants! She studied Botany at uni and could be found surveying native plants just about anywhere in South Australia, from the arid North to the wetlands of the South East. She also found out weird things about plants – like they have hormones! She ended up marrying the horticulturist and whenever they travel they try to visit as many national parks as possible. Alison’s favourite tree is the giant sequoia. There’s a forest of them in California and some of them are around 3,000 years old! She also loves tiny little mosses, like the ones that grow in New Zealand. When she’s not looking at plants in different countries she works as a Research Officer trying to find out how wheat and barley grow in soil when the nutrients are not always in the right proportions!
Our very own Wendy Taylor and her husband Craig well and truly found themselves in the spotlight at this year’s Sydney Royal Easter Show winning the design award for Central District exhibit as well as being nominated as Show Champions for which they were recognised in the ‘Parade of Champions’ on Excellence in Agriculture day at this years Sydney Royal Easter Show.
The District Exhibit Displays are an iconic element of the Sydney Royal Easter Show . They are indeed spectacular constructions of vegetables, fruit and other produce elements. They are a cooperative work by primary producers that proudly reflect the diversity and excellence of their regional produce. Each display consists of over 10,000 pieces of fresh produce from five agricultural districts throughout New South Wales and South East Queensland. Wendy and Craig have been the big ideas team and designers of the Central District Exhibit for 23 years
This year the display represented farming, farmers and their achievements. The aim of the display was to demonstrate the average farmer produced each day and balance that against the rising world population. The important message of 1 FARMER… needed to be conveyed using a method that would catch the viewer and hold them. Wendy and Craig used data projectors to display an animation that works in concert with the facts and figures of this progressive industry, providing discussion points and enlightening the public.
1 FARMER… is symbolic of the industry – male, female, old, young, individual or collective. There is nothing to dilute. The display itself was a profusion of fresh, vibrant Australian produce, representative of the achievements of the industry.
The 2011 display highlights the vast quantity of food it takes to feed Sydney in one single day ( statistics can be found here) The quantities are staggering and they only hint at the full story. It’s staggering enough to discover you need 90,000 cows to produce 1.3 million litres of milk that Sydney consumes every day, but then how much land do you need for those cows? How many people to run the farm? How much feed for the stock? These are only a handful of questions and they are only for one area of agriculture. The drive behind this display was to start a conversation. “The drive behind this display was to start a discussion. If we can get people talking, thinking and appreciating their reliance on the rural sector, then the display has done its job” said Wendy.
Wendy is also been a mentor for, and a judge of our Art4Agriculture highly successful high school educational program, the ‘Archibull Prize’ assisting teachers and students to understand how art and design can educate and inform the wider community and turn the light on about all the processes of production, marketing, consumption, sustainable use of resources and waste recycling associated with modern agriculture today. For the past 3 years the Central District exhibit has been the vehicle to launch our theme for the Archibull Prize beginning in 2010 with this spectacular design which one both the Design Award and the People’s Choice Award
Wendy also had the honour of designing the display for the Australian Year of the Farmer launch last November
The Food Farm at the 2012 Sydney Royal Easter Show has a great new look this year and Food Farm coordinator Jenny Hughes and her team are discovering some bizarre food facts myth-conceptions as they talk to the children they are meeting and working with. One being it appears cows may lay eggs
Before we get into that Art4agriculture is particularly proud that a large number of the 2012 Archibull Prize cows are taking centre stage in the Food Farm. Check them out is this very brief video I whizzed up with some Wiggles music ( thx Wiggles)
Now back to problem of food and where it does and doesn’t come from.
The Food Farm is “the key education pavilion at the Sydney Royal Easter Show, which tells the story of where food comes from and the importance of farmers to everyday life. Created for pre and primary school children, their families and showgoers in general, there is something for everyone to learn in the Food Farm. Children can grab a spade and dig in the garden to discover what vegetables grow underground or put on a blindfold and guess the variety of apple you are eating. You may go to the Grain Shed to mill your own grain and deliver it to the Bakery before putting on your apron and rolling-out some pastry for a pie. Inside the Egg Dome, children will learn about egg production and some of the amazing ways to cook with eggs or take a stroll through the virtual chicken farm to discover where our chicken meat comes from. Junior Farm Hands will love listening to the animal carers talk about how to care for farm animals in Livestock in the Round and allows children and their families to ask their own questions or pat large animals that are a feature of the Sydney Royal Easter Show.”
As I mentioned the Archies take pride of place at the Food Farm entrances as does a very big orange tractor that kids can sit it in and heaven forbid blow the horn which they do quite a bit as you can imagine.The signage is magnificent
and there are lots of great education tools to help the community learn more about where there food comes from including the Egg Dome
You will note this board does not ask the question. What animal lays eggs? It is interesting the board does ask if roosters lay eggs. I remember having a discussion at a party where not one adult (who wasn’t a farmer) had heard of the word hen. Every adult at the party thought an adult chicken was called a chicken and hence all chickens laid eggs. Now I have chickens I know that isn’t true, but not everyone is as lucky as me to have the hands on experiences and this is leading to some bizarre knowledge gaps in the community
These displays are pretty impressive stuff aren’t they?
Lots of info on safety and storage
and eggs and culture and there is more. The last thing I thought when I looked at these impressive displays was that Jenny and her team would discover that kids are very confused about where eggs actually come from
Jenny said it appeared the kids go this impression that eggs and dairy products came from the same animals from learning about the Food Pyramid and eggs and dairy are on the same line. Mmh am I missing something here?
I did a little Google research and apparently this is quite a common misconception amongst adults as well. Apparently some supermarkets aren’t helping by selling them with dairy items because they tend to group foods together by both storage and usage. In this case, both eggs and dairy must be stored under similar conditions, and are most often used with one another in recipes, so it’s apparently logical to locate them in the same part of the store for customers to find.
Another source says” eggs are often confused as both a form of dairy and of meat, but in reality, they are neither. Because eggs are an animal by-product, just like milk, many people categorize eggs as dairy. However, dairy is very specifically designated as the by-product of the mammary glands of mammals like cows or goats. Essentially dairy is any milk or milk-made product, such as butter or ice-cream. However, eggs are not meat either. Eggs are the foetal form of a mature animal, and are considered their own entity in and of themselves, than meat. Eggs are eggs and meat is meat.” But eggs are not a food group are they? They are protein, the food group with meat in it.
All I can say is its time to get back to the basics and give our kids some real hands on experiences and well done to the RAS team behind the new look Food Farm for giving next gen the opportunity to have fun and engaging true to life experiences. The research shows shows there is an 85% uptake rate when both theory and practice are combined compared with just the theory alone at 5%. ((Joyce and Showers 1995) 1. Wow!
But lets not stop there – Come on government lets get agriculture embedded in the curriculum from K to 12. Lets make sure we have engaged, knowledgeable and science literate students making wise decisions for the planet going forward because there is going to be a lot more more people to house,feed and clothe with less land, water and energy and its a tough ask to expect the dairy cows to produce not just milk but eggs too
BTW – Finding the Food Farm at the Sydney Royal Easter Show
By the way if you came to this page for information on who lays eggs.
The term chicken is used to refer to the bird itself. The female chicken is called a “hen” and the male chicken is called a “rooster” . Therefore hens lay eggs which if fertilized by a rooster will hatch to become chicks.
1. Joyce, B., & Showers, B. (1995). Student achievement through staff development:
Fundamentals of school renewal (2nd ed.). White Plains, New York: Longman.
Art4agriculture has arrived at the Sydney Royal Easter Show twelves hours before show time and wow is there movement at the station
Here are some highlights from my quick visit to check on the Archies to see if they were well fed and watered
Firstly I passed through the beef cattle pavilion with my eyes wide open for the Camden Haven High team. I ran into Annie who proudly showed off their heifer and steer and I look forward to meeting the rest of the team tomorrow. Good luck guys
Then I made my way through the rest of the beef cattle sheds. I read somewhere there are over 900 recognised breeds of cattle in the world. Well there are plenty of them at the show I can assure you.
Including these cuties
And my favourites the Belted Galloways
and some Red Poll Herefords and some Charolais and Lowlines
Hi my name is Paige and I attend Camden Haven High School. I love my school and I want to tell you what makes it special. Agriculture that’s what!!!!.
Agriculture is compulsory for years seven and eight. I think this is a great idea as it gives students who do not live rurally or who do not have the opportunity to live with animals and have agricultural knowledge the chance to experience and enjoy what agriculture has to offer young people of today.
Our agricultural department focuses on a ‘paddock to plate’ experience giving the students in years nine and ten the option of electing two courses unique to Camden Haven High School; Vet studies and Agrifoods. From year nine to twelve, agriculture is also available for students to elect for study . In years eleven and twelve we have the opportunity to do both primary industries and senior agriculture, along with a new horticulture course.
The agricultural department not only has strong links with local farmers but also supports local businesses by buying their produce. The Camden Haven High School Agricultural Department has also formed a sub branch of the Camden Haven Show Society and we are are actively involved in preparing, organising, giving ideas and helping out with local events.
Agriculture has become so popular at our school the number of students who attend the agricultural plot before school, at recess and at lunch times has tripled in as many years. We have a very diverse range of animals that we care for including chickens, sheep, ducks, rabbits, turkeys, budgies, guinea-fowl, pigs, donkeys, cattle (including three breeding heifers), a water buffalo, guinea-pigs and two national park certified brumbies.
What is particularly special about the ‘ag plot’ is it is also a safe place for students who do not fit in with the rest of the school or are having a rough time or just enjoy the peace and quiet as there is always a great student/teacher support network to found in the agriculture department
I am personally involved with the school cattle team. Being the leader/captain has helped with my personal development and taught me many life and team work skills.
It has improved my ability to speak publicly, organisational skills, give directions confidently and have learned that it is important to make the wisest decisions even if they are not the most popular.
Currently there are forty students actively involved in preparing and showing the school cattle for the Sydney Royal Easter Show. I must admit directing such a large team gives me a positive sense of satisfaction and confidence.
The animals we are showing come from our agricultural teacher Mr Hickson, he grows Limousin and Limousin cross steers and heifers. They are also donated to our school by our long-time supporter Robert Rule.
We selected these animals as they both have the muscle development and fat coverage for their weight classes; they are also wide through the top line from the shoulders through to the rump. They are the pick of the animals from this year’s show team as they display the best attributes.
Students in the Sydney Show team this year are mainly year 10 students who have been constantly involved in showing cattle from year 7 onwards and they make up the bulk of the senior students in the team and basically run it.
We have been preparing our animals since October 2011, when they were first brought in to be broken in. This involves daily walking, brushing, leading and feeding our animals.
They are also tied up daily to get used to long periods of being in one place; we also wash and blow-dry our animals to prepare them for cleaning at the show.
This is our first royal and it will be a new experience and all the students are so excited and highly appreciative of having this great opportunity.
and to top it all off one of their students is a finalist in Cream of the Crop Competition with the winners presented with their prizes on April 14th at the Show in the RM Williams Stables
How timely these photos came through late last night of Olympic Park preparations for the Royal Easter Show from an excited George Davey AM General Manager, Agriculture at Sydney Royal