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Guest Blog by Kirsty John – Art4Agriculture Program and Event Management
As we rapidly approach the end of 2011, we often find ourselves reflecting on our year, what have we achieved, what didn’t we tick of that to do list, who have we met and how have our lives changed. As I took a moment to think about that, I quickly realised that one of the highlights of my year was the working with Lynne Strong and Art4Agriculture. So, I asked Lynne if I could do a guest blog post – little did she know that it would be about her J
In this age of tweeting, Facebooking, four walling, blogging, Youtubing and any other ‘ing’ you can add to that, life begins to move at an incredible speed, where reactions to issues, statements, achievements are immediate and if you don’t react immediately you sometimes feel like the moment is lost. A constant ‘lost moment’ I felt this year, was being able to say to Lynne ‘well done on what you have done for individuals and an industry in 2011!’
We have all seen the traffic and conversations created through the Archibull Prize Program and the Young Farming Champions Program. Some of the great ‘Agvocacy’ success stories have been Emma Visser (Heywire winner), Steph Tarlinton (profiled Young Farming Champion), Melissa Henry (Coloured sheep entrepreneur) and Hollie Baillieu (AYOF Ambassador), just to name a few. These amazing young women in agriculture have something in common – Lynne Strong and the time she has given to each of them to assist them reach their potential. It’s mentoring of the 21st century kind, where their individual talents have been exposed and nurtured and the modern day tools they need, like voice training, how to talk ‘consumer’ and video story telling have been given to them to get the message out there that agriculture is a great industry to be in.
“You give but little when you give of your possessions. It is when you give of yourself that you truly give.” Kahlil Gibran
Lynne is one of those people who gives, and often does not realise the greatness of her giving on a daily basis – it is not a once a year sport, it’s a long and sometimes bloody tiring season, but I have seen the outcomes bring a smile to Lynne’s face and a tear to her eyes.
So as you consider your resolutions for 2012, think about how you can inspire, motivate, mentor, support and be the change that we need to see in the agricultural industry to ensure a strong future. It can be as simple as not losing the moment or the opportunity to congratulate the great work that your fellow farmers, your friends and family do on a daily basis (that’s my resolution!) to being open to sharing your stories and experiences with the current generation, to being not afraid of having a big idea and putting yourself out there with it. That’s exactly what Lynne Strong and Art4Agriculture did and the proof from this giving is definitely in the Christmas pudding!!
This post has been written by the Archibull Prize artwork judge Wendy Taylor who visited Mt Druitt Tutorial and Alice Betteridge School for Deaf and Blind Children on day four of judging by herself whilst I presented at the Careers Advisor Conference in Liverpool.
Wendy’s reflection on her four days visiting the schools
The most remarkable thing that I have found with the Archibull Prize this year is that irrespective of the circumstance of the school, whether they are the most privileged private school, a catholic school, state or selective high school, the impact of the programme was consistent. It was irrelevant whether the children were handpicked from gifted and talented classes or had learning difficulties. Again they all benefited equally and learnt from the programme. It was also irrelevant whether the children were in Kindergarten, Year 11 and 12 students, Agriculture classes or Art classes or a combined effort. All students gained from being included in the programme.
This is a remarkable end result. It shows that whatever field of education you apply it to it will have an impact on the children involved. I think that it is as relevant for inner city areas, rural areas and indigenous communities. The appeal of the programme is that because it is outside the normal curriculum, it breeds enthusiasm among both students and teachers. This manifests itself in increased learning, attendance, school spirit and a cooperative experience between students and teachers.
It is undoubted that the programme increases an understanding, appreciation and knowledge of agriculture and demonstrates to children that a career in agriculture doesn’t necessarily mean you have to sit on a tractor. I am sure that when Art4Agriculture up with the concept of the programme that they didn’t envision a response on so many different levels, from the individual students to the school community as a whole.
Wendy on school visits on Day of judging
Mt Druitt Tutorial Centre– “Chickcow”
On Friday I was abandoned by Lynne and ventured out on my own to visit the final two schools on our mega roadtrip.
The first was Mt Druitt Tutorial Centre. This is a dedicated school for children at risk.
I walked into the classroom expecting a cow depicting one of the commodity groups which I had seen over the last three days. Imagine my surprise when confronted with our very first “Chickcow”!
This cow definitely shows off the poultry industry, with its sculptural head, tail and feet. It has both tactile and painted feathers as well as many ‘info-feathers’ showing facts about the industry. The best bit of this cow is underneath with its precious clutch of hatching ‘chickcowlets’.
The programme was embraced by much of the school, with the art class making the ceramic eggs, the cooking classes focussing on poultry and egg recipes and many other students involved in the work on the cow itself.
This cow was so precious to the school that they couldn’t bring themselves to pierce its ear for the earrings they wanted it to have, so they had to come up with plan B (which you have to admit is great- made from clip-on egg rings!)
From the teacher
Time is up, so I am off to the next school.
Lucky last school for our judging road trip is Alice Betteridge School for the Deaf and Blind run by the Royal Institute for Deaf and Blind Children.
This year, Alice Betteridge is participating for the second time in the Archibull Prize programme. Last year they won the primary school section and this year thought they would try the High School section.
Alice Betteridge students and teachers with their winning entry from 2010
Annie (from Year 7) and Kirsten (from Year 9) were there to tell me about their calf, called “Betsy”.
While last year their entry was very tactile, with differing textures, finishes and built out areas, this year they have completed a very simple and elegant collage of relevant pictures. They found that because the children couldn’t feel the difference in the components, they wanted to know what each picture was and its relevance. They therefore had a much more complete learning experience. It was fascinating what the children could tell me about the pictures without being able to see them.
They have pictures at the head of the calf showing rural images with pictures at the rear showing urban images and products. In the centre, linking the two, there is the Harbour Bridge over water with images of the process from grain to product.
Annie and Kirsten tell you what they have learnt here
As this is the last school (whew!!) I would just like to thank all the schools for their time and dedication to this programme, and for the phenomenal effort they have all put in. The results are beyond expectation and have completely blown us away. Well done to all! Thank you.
Our special guest at the 2011 Archibull Prize was the Minister for Primary Industries, Hon Katrina Hodgkinson who recognised the efforts of budding young artists as part of the agricultural art award, the 2011 Archibull Prize.
The Minister spoke extensively with students from a number of schools as she viewed the finalist artworks which will be on display for six weeks at Woolworths Head Office at Bella Vista.
“The Archibulls provide a unique opportunity for our city kids to learn all about farming, agriculture, and where our food comes from,” Ms Hodgkinson said.
“Using videos, artwork, blogs and multimedia, school kids from Western Sydney this year tackled the theme, what it takes to sustainably feed and clothe Sydney for a day. The students had the opportunity to express their thoughts on agriculture and rural Australia by designing and decorating an iconic life-sized fibreglass cow. As part of the Art4Agriculture awards, each school researched and showcased a key agricultural commodity, including dairy, beef, sheep, wool, cotton, grains and poultry. It was my pleasure to announce the winner of the 2011 Archibull Prize as Caroline Chisholm College of Glenmore Park who turned their blank cow into a Rubik’s Cube to tell the story of beef,” Ms Hodgkinson said.
Ms Hodgkinson said the Art4Agriculture initiative is a great way for students growing up in the city to get a real insight into life on the land.
“Each school was mentored by a Young Farming Champion who worked with the students through the project and shared their experiences of life on the land. By rolling up their sleeves and getting involved, the program is an innovative way of bridging the rural-urban divide and helping tomorrow’s leaders understand the challenges of feeding the world.”
More than 20 urban Sydney schools took part in the Archibull Prize this year.
The Art4Agriculture Archibull Prize was developed with the support of the NSW Department of Primary Industries LandLearn initiative, Department of Agriculture Fisheries and Forestry and Woolworths and RIRDC.
Art4Agriculture team members Lynne Strong, Melissa Henry and Hollie Baillieu all recently presented at the Future Focused Ag Oz forum in Sydney on November 26th/27th on the topic of Leadership
Hollie has kindly agreed to share her presentation with you
Everyone in this room is a leader – the fact that you came here today makes you one. You don’t wake up and think – today is the day I will be a leader. Its gradual, it evolves and sometimes you don’t even know its happened and perhaps it takes you a while to accept that you are one. Its only when you get ownership of something that that sense of pride sets in. When you are in part responsible for the success of something, you are responsible for the direction of a group and you are responsible for people other than yourself – that’s when you realise that hey maybe I do have leadership qualities.
Being the age I am and the age most of you are in this room – I think we are becoming leaders, – we have a long way to go however, we are evolving into those sorts of people that have leadership qualities and those that have influence over others.
I would like you to have a think for me – I would like you to think of someone that you would do anything for, perhaps someone you would trust your life with.
While you are thinking of that person or maybe there are a few people that spring to mind, I would like to put something to you. I mentioned the word influence before. I believe that leadership is about influence, how you influence those around you.
True leadership is there regardless of position within a business, group. They hold a high degree of influence, Those around them choose to serve them. I don’t see someone who uses their position to influence necessarily shows leadership.
Hopefully you have all thought of that person you would do anything for, you would trust your life with. What do they do or what attributes do they have that make them that person.
When I thought of the people that have the highest degree of influence over me I thought of a few things.
They are authentic – they are real, they are genuine, they are not those people that look over your shoulder at a party searching for someone else they would rather talk to.
They are committed to what they have said they will do, They are loyal to a cause and they are loyal to you and your team.
They share a vision and therefore empower the rest of the group.
They are inclusive and understand that when their team feels good and feels needed – it will work more easily as one.
They show integrity – their behaviour serves as a role model for everyone else.
There are many more attributes but you know what makes those people in your life special.
I want you to take a step back and look at yourself, I have no doubt that you all hold some or all of those attributes and I have no doubt that someone holds you in that light, that you have that degree of influence.
So, Greg asked me to talk about some of those things that have helped me in the positions that I now have. The reason I introduced the term leadership so broadly was basically for you to understand how I see that level and degree of influence as a key driver to effective leadership.
The roles I now have as Chair of the NSW Farmers Young Farmer Council, an ambassador for Agrifood Skills Australia and a Young Farming Champion for the Art4Ag schools program – I guess I show some attributes of leadership but as I said before – I believe I am too young and inexperienced to be a fully formed leader although hopefully I am becoming one and continue to evolve into a stronger more effective one.
I have narrowed my thoughts into three key areas, they are basic – nothing too incredible but perhaps the simpler things, again I will use this word, those things that we personally have influence over and perhaps its those little things we forget sometimes.
Things that have helped me along the way
– This first point stems from my mum and she still says it to me all the time but seriously it has helped me. “Talk to anyone, anywhere, anytime” ( ask Hollie to share her airport story)
This phrase – is especially important in the agriculture industry. It is incredible who people know in this industry and I am finding this out more and more each day within my role with Australian Year of the Farmer as they all link in with my other roles in the industry.
– The second point which anyone who knows me will understand and that is to smile and be friendly. This is so simple but people forget to do it. When you smile and are friendly not only you as a person is happier but I will generate that smile around the room or in your group. Remember when you felt anxious and nervous – it is the most awful feeling and I get actually get these feelings quite often. However, when I am doing things with the Young Farmer Council especially – I don’t feel nervous or anxious because its my arena, I know where I am and generally what I am doing ( laughs Bec might disagree). I’m comfortable in this situation. When we have held an event and a new person joins us – you can tell very quickly if they are feeling comfortable or not. I don’t want people to feel anxious or nervous when they are around me or when they are involved with something that I am in part responsible for running. You will all agree with me – that when you see a smiling friendly person – you immediately calm and know that you have a friend.
– Remember this – when your team feels comfortable, when they feel included and at ease – that is when you get the best out of them and in turn the best comes out in you and as a team you are then the most effective you can be.
– Lastly, as I said this is simple stuff and this is perhaps the most simple and something you can change very quickly.
And that is your appearance. The most critical time for this is when we are all just starting off in the world. We are in such a competitive environment – we cant afford to be lacking in those areas that are so easily changed.
Remember appearance isn’t just what you look like – it is the whole package. I want you to literally visualise this – Two people are going for an interview. Someone who has a smile on their face, who looks great, with a strong hand shake and looks people in the eye will always have it over someone who walks into an interview who has a weak hand shake, doesn’t look them in the eye and looks like they have just jumped off the sofa after watching a twilight marathon. That is one thing that you can do so easily, that you directly influence.
These little things are really important. I’m organising the recruiting process for the AYOF Road Show – I have been looking at a lot of CV’s, cover letters and those people who spell my name wrong get an immediate shake of the head. It’s the whole package, the little things matter, you can directly influence those things and I reckon we are forgetting those little things – don’t. The little things have helped me and maybe at some point they will help you to.
Thanks Hollie all of us who know and love you certainly can testify your smile could light the nite sky during a blackout.
Art4Agriculture Young Farming Champion Siannon Parice and partner Tay Plain of Clearcut Productions have joined forces with Art4Agriculutre to create a series of videos to showcase young people doing great things to sustain our landscapes and waterways
Most recently Siannon captured the spirit and passion of Dune Day through the lens of her camera
Dune Day is a community event organised by the Gerringong Gerroa Landcare Liaison network in partnership with Landcare Illawarra and Southern Rivers CMA. The event aims to raise awareness about the importance of Landcare and Bushcare and in particular coastal restoration projects.
Dune Day also aims to engage a range of demographics ranging from children, youth, young adults as well as the rest of the community through a range of interactive activities such as sand sculpting, local young musicians, live street art, photography, information displays, tree planting, and workshops on native flora and fauna.
Dune Day attracted around 100 community members on Saturday the 12th of November who came out to celebrate Landcare volunteers who contribute to environmental restoration projects across the entire Illawarra region.
The event also helped to raise hundreds of dollars in donations which will go back into regional Landcare projects which aim to protect our native flora and fauna.
Another Archie unveiled this time from the clever team at Macarthur
Teacher Helen Glover sent Macarthur Anglican Young Farming
Champion Hollie Baillieu a sneak peak
Hollie was amazed and proud and so she should be. (Let me
tell you the Young Farming Champions are all very competitive. Its X Factor
mindset amongst the YFC mentors)
Here is Hollie’s reply to Helen
This is fantastic – I love Gossy!!! She is absolutely incredible
and her name is perfect. The blog is such fun and it is great to hear
all the comments from the kids. You obviously put on a very fun ‘cotton day’.
It’s great to see that you have put so much emphasis on learning about
cotton and the many elements within the industry.
Please congratulate the school for me
AND HERE IS GOSSY IN ALL HER GLORY
You can find the presentation Hollie gave to the students here
FYI THE BLOG HOLLIE MENTIONS IS ON A SECURE EDUCATION WEBSITE. WE WILL ENDEAVOUR TO MAKE IT AVAILABLE FOR PUBLIC VIEWING
Young Farming Champion Melissa Henry visited Crestwood High School. This is what she had to say when she saw pictures of Blossom and read the students blog http://crestwoodarchibull.blogspot.com/
I am so excited!! I love their Archibull – particularly the wool processing side of the cow. I think they have done a fantastic job and have really understood the elements of wool production and processing for a city market! I can’t wait for the final presentation and awards in December.
I also liked reading their blog on my visit and I’m really pleased that they gained a lot from their time with me, especially increasing their awareness of career opportunities in the agriculture and sheep industry.
In fact Art4Agriculture was so inspired by the success of the Climate Champions program we started the Young Farming Champions program using the Climate Champions “TOGETHER WE CAN CHANGE THE WORLD” ethos and the training components as a model.
The Climate Champions program is a cross industry partnership of farmers across Australia and I love it. It has exposed me to the bright minds from other industries and there is nothing more rewarding for your personal development than surrounding yourself with innovative thinkers you can learn from.
The Climate Champions program is managed by the fabulous team from Econnect who not only deliver the workshops they support each of the 34 farmers 365 days 24/7
Using my involvement as an example Econnect have mentored me, written press releases and help prep me for Big Ideas ABC and numerous conference presentations and radio interviews. I have gained so much confidence
and self-belief since I joined the program in 2010.
The Climate Champions program mentors and supports 33 other farmers across Australia like me. In all 34 Australian farmers who can now confidently get out there in their communities and share their stories and not only inspire other farmers but spread the word that Australian farmers are part of an innovative, dynamic and vibrant industry that has a strong ethical and social conscience
As the debate around long term food availability and affordability intensifies, Art4Agriculture believes it is vital for all organisations involved in the food supply chain to adopt a leadership position and work together side by side with their farmers to help safeguard Australia’s future food security.
Climate Champion program – what is it?
34 Australian farmers have been recruited by the national Climate Champion program to help improve communication between scientists and farmers about managing climate risk.
What do they have in common?
They are all interested in managing risks associated with climate and weather to improve productivity on their farms.
They are keen to share their knowledge with other farmers.
2-way communication with farmers and researchers
The program aims to:
get climate-related research information out to wider farming community – research about new technologies and practices for dealing with climate variability and climate change
feed information from farmers back to researchers about what you need to better manage climate risk on your property
Paint is drying on the bovine masterpieces who will shortly be submitted for consideration for the 2011 Archibull Prize.
This year students in 21 schools in Western Sydney are reflecting on the theme “The Rural – Urban Divide – What does it take to feed Sydney for a day sustainably?”
See the statistics on this web page created by Glenfield High School’s superstar Alexander Rafferty who won our “What can you creATE competition”
Each school has been allocated a food or fibre industry and has been provided with a blank fibreglass cow that students will decorate to highlight what they’ve learned about the challenges of feeding, clothing and housing the world with a declining natural resource base.
Each school was also paired with a Young Farming Champion who visited and supported the schools during the project. The young farmers provided the fresh young face of modern farming which we hope will inspire the students to consider career pathways that will see them be part of what we believe is the noblest profession – farming
Our farming champions created a series of social media tools to share their farming stories with teachers, students and the World Wide Web
See their video stories here
Hollie Baillieu – Cotton Farmer
Naomi Marks – Dairy Farmer
Melissa Henry – Sheep Farmer
Erin Lake – Natural Resource Management
Emma Visser – Dairy Farmer
Siannon Parice – Art4Agriculture Photographer
Art4Agriculture would like to thank Deborah Leake from Meat and Livestock Australia, Brooke Summers from Cotton Australia and Claudia Wythes from Australian Wool Innovation for their support of the Young Farming Champions in school visits. Great team work and great outcomes.
Our 2011 Young Farming Champions have been telling NSW primary and secondary students their stories of involvement in food and fibre production. The students thirst for
knowledge about agriculture has been amazing. The program has become part of
the educational theme in next year’s Australian Year of the Farmer and as Art4Agriculture National Program Director Lynne Strong explains will be rolled
out to over 9,000 schools nationally.
“The Art4Agriculture programs and the Young Farming Champions will go national as
part of the Australian Year of the Farmer activities in 2012 and we are calling
for expressions of interest from young farmers across Australia to get involved
in the Young Farming Champions program. Art4Agriculuture was developed by
farmers and is delivered by farmers and we are keen to work with state farming
organisations to not only help build the capacity of young farmers to tell
agriculture’s story to a fundamental key audience – consumers but also
lead their industries into the future”. She says.
Art4Agriculture Young Farming Champions will also have the opportunity to participate in a comprehensive and diverse program of events during Australian Year of the
Farmer in 2012 (and beyond). These events will provide a platform from which to
develop, build and strengthen the capacity of the Young Farming Champions and
allow industry to develop key farmer-to-stakeholder and farmer-to-consumer
And Art4Agriculture’s Young Farming Champion Alison McIntosh is already living that
In her role as Art4Agriculture Young Farming Champion Alison has been visiting schools across Western Sydney sharing her story.
Alison found the experience highly rewarding. At Caroline Chisholm College she not
only shared her story with the students they also proudly showed Alison their
farm as well as videoing her and putting her under the spotlight with a mock TV
At Terra Sancta College the students said Alison’s visit gave them a whole new insight
into Australian domestic beef industry. Alison also found herself part of a
photo shoot with the school’s Archibull in amusing spots in the school
surrounds including a photo-shoot with the chooks. Alison’s
phobia of birds is well known amongst her friends and when the students
suggested she hold a rooster she was mortified and gracefully (she hoped she
looked graceful and not petrified) declined
At Richmond High School Alison shared her story with the visual arts students who are
painting the Archibull. Alison said it was clear the students were highly
creative and many sketched and wrote down ideas as she spoke.
“Richmond High School agriculture classes show team have always been very active and highly regarded on the show circuit winning many prizes with their beef cattle and I am looking forward to seeing how their partnership with the visual arts students translates onto their cow art” says Alison
This week Alison found herself centre stage at the biggest agriculture A list event on
the calendar. She not only had the great thrill of representing young
farmers but all farmers across the country by giving a speech on their behalf
at the launch of Australian Year of the Farmer in 2012
(Hopefully I can get a better shot of this shortly from the official photographer)
This is part of what Alison had to say
What an honour it is to be standing here today as a representative of all Australian
farmers! I am a 4th generation farmer on my family’s beef cattle farm in southern NSW – and I really couldn’t imagine doing anything else for a living!I have combined my love of
working with people and with animals in the industry I love, and this is very
As a young rural leader I want to enhance the links between urban and rural
Australia, so that all Australian’s have a deeper appreciation for where their
food comes from. The research which Year of the Farmer are releasing today,
highlights some of the challenges which lie ahead for farmers like me in
achieving this – but the coming years activities will go a long way to begin
this important process.
I am excited about 2012; The Australian Year of the Farmer will help bring farmers
like me closer to our customers. Our nation and the world need farmers; The
Australian Year of the Farmer is an important year for ALL Australians. I am
looking forward to spreading the word about our great Australian farming story,
and particularly ensuring that the next generation of young Australians are
well connected to farmers and the farms where their food comes from.
Check out this video to be reminded of how proud all Australian can be of their