Next Gen says Support our Aussie farmers now!

I have been rolling out agriculture awareness and interest generating programs in our primary and secondary schools for over 8 years. I have learnt a lot of things in that time.

Firstly the community does value its farmers they just know very little about them or what it takes to grow the food on their table or the fibre that keeps their families warm and the products they build their houses with for that matter. Secondly there is no-one more powerful to tell agriculture’s story than Gen F aka the next generation of food and fibre producers  

My blog today will show you just how powerful two way conversations with the people who buy the food and fibre our farmers produce can be. In particular students in schools, our next generation of consumers, decision and policy makers and maybe even the next Gen F.

This blog will share with you part of a speech given this week by Sophia Wakeling who has participated in the Archibull Prize for the last two years as part of her school team.

Sophia gave this speech as part of the Australia Day Speaking Contest where students are asked to pick a topic that is relevant to Australian society.  

Sophia’s mum Julia shared her speech with Young Farming Champion Kylie Stretton who popped into Sophia’s school recently. She said Sophia was inspired to write her speech as through her involvement with the Archibull project the students have met with some amazing young farmers and that she knew the issues she shared with the audience are very real for farmers and Australia.

I spoke with Sophia’s mum today who said she sent the speech to Kylie because she wanted to thank all the Young Farming Champions for teaching our youth to respect those that work so hard on the land to feed and clothe us! Julia said because Sophia is sharing her Archibull journey with their family they now all think about what they buy and how it affects Australian farmers. They always now buy brands and have even gone so far as to sign up with Farmers Direct so they can avoid the big supermarkets. I must admit I had a smile on my face when she told me they don’t support Woolworths anymore because they noticed the Woolworths logo was no longer on our list of supporting partners.     

Australian Agriculture- Valuing our Famers by Sophia Wakeling

Whilst you listen to my speech today, I hope and encourage you to think about this quote  from a young beef farmer from Queensland named Kylie Stretton who visited our school as part of the Archibull Prize. What Kylie had to say has really changed the way I thought about where my food comes from and my farmers. By sharing this with you I hope it has the same impact and if not I’m sure that by the end of my speech you will look at it in an entirely different way.

“Australia is very lucky that lots of us have never known extremely hard times or poverty, so we really take our food for granted. I think that supermarkets selling fresh food at cheap prices makes people value it less. And if they value our beautiful fresh food less and take it for granted, then they take for granted the people that produce it.”

Until last year, my 12 years of existence had never included stopping to consider where my food came from, or how it was produced. According to what the media had told me I believed that farmers rode around on tractors all day and lived on dry dusty land. Unfortunately, I also believed agriculture was an awful industry to work in or be involved with for a career.

But this all changed at a school assembly last year a new project called The Archibull Prize was introduced to my school. At first, I didn’t give it a second thought. At the time I thought I was too busy to help out with a farming project. But when my art teacher approached me and asked me to join the project, I reluctantly agreed. The Archibull Prize is a project developed by farmers and supported by industry. The project aims to debunk the stereotypes and change students (and teachers) opinions about the agriculture sector and encourages students to think about sustainability and where their food comes from.

Before we started the project we were required to fill out a survey that tested our knowledge of the agriculture industry. It was then that I realised how little I knew about where the food that I was eating (and buying) on a daily basis came from. Shockingly, I realised that what I thought I knew about the agricultural industry was very wrong. Embarrassingly, I also learnt that more than 40 % of students in year 10 thought cotton came from an animal and more than a quarter of younger students believed yoghurt and scrambled eggs came from plants.

As we progressed further and further into the project I began to realise just how valuable farmers and agriculture are not only to me, but to the entire world. I have learned that farmers are truly the backbone of Australia. Without farmers we would not be able to survive. Without farmers other industries would struggle to survive as many jobs depend on the agriculture industry.

An example of this is the fashion industry. Without cotton and wool farmers, clothes with natural fibres would no longer be able to be processed or made into new designs. This same scenario is reflected in almost every industry in every country in the world. Without farmers we would not have jobs, homes, food or clean water.

I think what farmers have done for us is incredible and they deserve an enormous amount of respect and gratitude for what they have done. So now that we have established the fact that YES farmers are important and that we need to value them and their products, I would like to share with you one way that you can start supporting our Aussie farmers.

There is a common saying that “farmers are price takers and not price makers”. This means that farmers don’t have a lot of control over what price is offered to them for the products they produce.

One of the major reasons that farmers are offered so little for their great products is because they are often pushed out of the market in favour of cheaper, lower quality products such as home brand. A great example of this is home-brand milk being sold for $1 a litre. While this may seem like a great, cheap deal to most consumers, milk being sold for so little is causing great harm to our farmers.

Because of the milk price wars many Australian farmers are only receiving 11 cents per litre for their milk. If this injustice continues to happen, Australia will not have any dairy farmers left. We will be forced to import milk from overseas.

I don’t want the future of Australia to be like this so please! I strongly urge you to support our farmers. If we do not stand up for our farmers and our country I am afraid that in the years to come we will lose what our ancestors fought so hard for: a clean, safe environment and good, healthy food. I believe that as the next generation, we the youth of Australia need to get up and start the change.

Change how you think about Aussie farmers.

Tell your friends and spread the word, and most importantly buy our Australian farmers products and support them.

Always remember every single one of us can make a difference so please do your little bit for our Australian farmers.

I hope that you have been inspired by my speech today.

I want to make a difference and I want you to help start the change with me, support our farmers not our our supermarket’s profits.

Be a-part of this change and see Australia transform.

Support our Aussie farmers now! 


Sophia (centre) interviews Wool Young Farming Champion Sammi Townsend

Wow your speech certainly makes my heart sing Sophia thank you so much.

BTW a great example wouldn’t you say that you don’t have to make agriculture compulsory in schools to share its story. See previous blog post here. All we need is for more industries and supporting partners to invest in Art4Agriculture which uses art and multimedia to ensure learning about agriculture is exciting and fun   

Archies Getting a big welcome in NSW schools

All 20 NSW schools involved in this year’s Archibull Prize have welcomed their Archies with a fanfare

Archie Registers

Archie registers for classes at Shoalhaven High School

Wyong High School  (2)

Archie gets a tour of the school at Wyong High School

Abbottsleigh  (1)

Archie meets the chooks at Abbotsleigh College

As part of the program this year students will be investigate a number of factors contributing to hunger worldwide. They will have the opportunity  to manipulate and make sense of data about feeding 9 billion people worldwide.
In this way:
• Students will understand how hunger is quantified and how hunger, poverty, and the ability to afford food are intertwined.
• Students will learn about one country’s approach to reducing hunger and evaluate the usefulness of that model for other countries.
• Students will use data to develop hypotheses and evaluate alternatives.

Cant wait to see what next gen bright minds come up with to help solve the world’s wicked problems can you?

Expressions of Interest open for Archibull Prize 2012

The Archibull Prize for 2012 is up and away. If your school would like to participate Expression of Interest forms can be found here

This year the students will investigate the theme “What does it take to sustainably feed and clothe my community for a day”  and the industries they will study are Cattle and Sheep, Wool, Dairy and Cotton

We have been lucky enough to enlist the expertise of Sophie Davidson from Cotton Australia Education Coordinator to help us tweak  the 2012 curriculum and what a little treasure she is.

Here is a bit of background on the gorgeous Sophie ……..    

Combining a love of teaching with her love of the land, Sophie says ramping up the education activities of the cotton industry – an industry which is overwhelmingly innovative, technologically advanced and driven from within to be sustainable is an opportunity to combine her skills and interests to achieve something genuinely worthwhile and important.


Sophie with Cotton Young Farming Champions Tamsin Quirk and Katie Broughton

Sophie says after working in the Media and Communications a field which is all about taking charge of how an organisation or industry is represented, she moved into primary school teaching from there following her dream to do something more altruistic.

She says coming from a family farming background, has given her an awareness of  sustainable farming practices.

“I guess I have always been in agriculture without classifying it as such. My family have farmed for over four generations and it is a bit of a pilgrimage going back to the ancestral property in Scotland.”

“Growing up we had a small sheep property on the Lachlan River which we farmed with my extended family. We would also occasionally head up to my Grandfather’s property in Narrabri. When he bought it, it was partly grazing country but he gradually set it up for cropping, moving more into irrigated cotton as time went by.”

“My parents now own a grazing property near Woodstock and are keen on natural sequence farming.”

Sophie says since joining Cotton Australia her favourite experience has been the willingness of people to share their knowledge, experience and ideas and work collaboratively to get results.

“Broadly my role is to engage teachers, students and learning institutions in cotton and agriculture and promote a positive the positive story about agriculture to the next generation.”

“I’m looking forward to helping create more school-industry partnerships that improve teacher and student perceptions of the industry and encourage more students into agribusiness.  I also excited about developing curriculum resources that are credible, objective and well used by teachers that raise students awareness of sustainable cotton production.”

Yes and ditto to that and we are very much enjoying working with Sophie

This blog post is an excerpt from a COTTON AUSTRALIA STAFF PROFILE on SOPHIE DAVIDSON Wednesday, 25th July 2012

Sydney Show Champions

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.

CDE Trophy

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.

CentralDistrict (2)

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 

Archibull Prize Central District Exhibit Display 2010

Wendy also had the honour of designing the display for the Australian Year of the Farmer launch last November

AYOF launch



Welcome to Sydney Royal Easter Show 2012

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

You can read all about the Red Meat industry in Australia here

Then I  spotted the Archies. How fine do they look taking centre stage in the new look Food Farm


Alexander Rafferty’s web page is looking awesome on the big plasma screen


Then there was Moobix and Patti all ready to do their thing at the Meat and Livestock stand


Patti will be showcasing the IBeef app which has been designed to deliver the perfect steak and can be downloaded here

Patti and Ibeef

Whilst I was there I ran into Kirsty who is also working with Aussie Apples

Kirsty and Aussie Apples

Make sure you take the Aussie Apples challenge when you visit the Food Farm

Aussie Apples Challenge

Make sure you get your passport stamp on the Animal Walk in the Food Farm here

Passport station

Then it was off to have a quick look at the District Exhibits and boy was it a hive of activity

District Exhibits

A lot of people will be working hard into the night on this.

And then finally the Junior District Exhibits which I get to judge in the morning and I was impressed.


Its not going to be easy



See what I mean!!!

Behind the Canvas

When artwork judge Wendy Taylor and I began our four day journey to visit each of the schools participating in the 2011 Archibull Prize to judge the artwork category  I made a commitment to write a blog about each school and their bovine canvas.  I didn’t quite finish and it is now time I delivered on the promise to showcase all the schools masterpieces. To help me artwork judge Wendy Taylor has written an artwork analysis for each of the schools based on what the students shared with her about their vision for their “Archies”


Terra Sancta Beef (2)

Next gen is so clever don’t you think? 

Macarthur Anglican Primary School – Cotton industry

Macarthur Anglican  (28)

“Gossie” (derived from the botanical name for cotton) is a bright and colourful exploration of the cotton industry from nose to tail. Most of the school was involved in some form or another in her development – from the design, to the actual work on the cow and across the many research projects and science experiments about the properties of cotton which the school undertook.


Overlaid over a colourful and tactile patchwork of cotton samples, the rear side of “Gossie” tells the story of the process of cotton – from the planting and the growing of the cotton itself, to the picking and harvesting of the bolls and then to the manufacturing of the cotton into the forms that we recognise. On the front, again overlaid on the tactile cotton patchwork, are some of the many cotton products available in our society today. The story is also told from the tail to the nose of “Gossie”, with growing cotton bolls depicted around the rear legs, the process and products on the two sides, the front legs in actual cotton socks, and the cotton industry logo on the head representing the finished products and the importance of the industry in Australia- the complete circle.

She is finished with the eartag necessary for identification of cattle, which has turned into a coathanger with the Macarthur Anglican School blazer on it (of course it is made from cotton too.)

Caroline Chisholm College – Beef industry

Caroline Chisholm College

“Moobix Cube” was designed and created by five different classes (around 100 students) from Caroline Chisholm College. Using the easily recognisable form of a “rubik’s cube” as the base, they create an effective way to showcase the many differing facets of the beef industry. Whilst a traditional rubik’s cube rotates, this one is composed of a series of smaller cubes on either side of the main cube, which can be pulled out, turned around to a new side and then slotted back into position. Once all of the smaller cubes have been turned around to a new side and replaced, a new picture is then formed.

A total of eleven components of the beef industry as well as “how we can feed Sydney for a day” are represented on this interactive cube. Each section of the cube tells a different side of the beef and food story – from the genetics and selective breeding of beef cattle, to beef products including their medical uses, to the environment (touching on both water security and ideal conditions), to facts and figures, as well as the differing personal experiences that the school has had with the beef industry. All combined onto the one cow.

Cranebrook High School – Sheep industry

“Daisy” and “Ben” represent the two quite different but still interconnected, faces of the sheep industry in Australia as seen by the students of Cranebrook High School. The two calves were designed and created by eight agriculture and art classes ranging from Year 8 to Year 10 students. One calf shows the wool components of the industry, whilst the other depicts the meat components.

“Daisy” is the face of the meat component of the sheep industry. She takes the idea of ‘paddock to plate’ to a very sculptural conclusion. The rear side of “Daisy” shows a three-dimensional tableau of scenic pastoral land, dotted with animals on the ‘tablecloth’ of grass. The front side of “Daisy” shows the final product. It depicts a three-dimensional table, complete with its own chequered tablecloth and food.

“Ben” is the face of the wool component of the sheep industry. He is colourful, tactile and informative. The base layer is a colourful patchwork of woollen squares stitched together and then overlaid with imagery of the implements, the processes and the products used in the wool industry in Australia. Wrapped intricately around and over all of this is the woollen cord which ties it all together.

Richmond High School – Beef industry

“Pattie” was designed and created primarily by a group of Year 11 Art students from Richmond High School and was designed to be able to be shown both indoors and outdoors. She is a colourful and tactile homage to the beef industry in Australia and depicts a remarkably unique interpretation of this industry. She was designed to have a high level of simplicity and clarity.

With a detailed and intricately realistic painted head, she then progresses down the neck to a very flat and colourful base layer of bright red. This ‘stripped down’ base layer, without being graphic or losing the intrinsic simplicity which is “Pattie”, echoes the primary function of the beef industry, which is to provide meat. This flat, bright red colour also contrasts, and in turn highlights, the overlaid patches of tactile green grass which depict the primary meat cuts commonly found on a cow. The grass patches also form a quirky intellectual play as it is the grass which is eaten by the cow which forms the meat itself.

Colo High School – Cotton industry

“Threads” showcases two facets of the cotton industry in two very unique ways, all wrapped up and depicted in a manner which is familiar to us all – washing hanging on the clothes line. The two facets are the growing and manufacturing of the cotton itself as well as some of the final products commonly found in homes throughout Australia. “Threads” was designed and created by a wide range of classes at Colo High School, including a combination of art, agriculture and sustainability classes.

Colo High School

On the outside, “Threads” is simply a cow which has crashed though a washing line, becoming entangled in the washing itself. This washing represents a portion of the variety of cotton products available today to the wider Australian public -Cotton in the recognisable form that we know it. However, “Threads” has an inner, hidden story as well.


Colo High School  (2)

The interior of the cow literally opens up to depict imagery of a very different scale and style. It highlights the growing and manufacture of cotton, the divide between the city and the country, as well as the water required by the cotton industry and the people it provides for. Centred on the inside of “Threads” a heart made from cotton is hanging.

Hurlstone Agricultural High School – Cotton industry

“imoo” looks at the cotton industry from a very different viewpoint. The creative group of students from Hurlstone Agricultural High School have chosen not to show the cotton industry through simply pictorial methods. They have chosen to show both cotton and the additional theme of “What it takes to feed and clothe Sydney for a day” through multi media.

Hurlstone Agricultural High School

“imoo” is in fact, different in many ways. Firstly, there is no fibreglass cow underneath its delicate cotton shell -it is simply stiffened layers of cotton. It has a palette of colour which has been limited strictly to white, as well as an intricate, tactile quality. “imoo’s” stiff cotton base has been overlaid with 26 soft patches of hand-sewn embroidery depicting various agricultural products and has also been hand-stitched together into panels positioned primarily according to the sections of an animal that dairy cows are judged on. This tactile, bespoke and quite traditionally-styled pared-back base has then been overlaid by modern technology in the form of 10 ipads. It is these ipads, containing a collection of interactive discussions and interviews about both of the themes, which tell the story. Not only do they tell the initial story, but they can gather both imagery and further stories as time progresses.

Rouse Hill Anglican College – Dairy industry

“Mootilda” is quite simply a tale of two sides. The story told, the imagery depicted, the colour palette and the emotions evoked create a stark contrast between the two sides. Good versus bad. Healthy versus unhealthy. Sustainable versus unsustainable. She was created by nine students from Years 7 to 10, who were primarily Art students.

Rouse Hill Anglican 2

The front side is lush and green. A harmonious balance is created between the idyllic rural areas and the pleasant and contented urban areas. Milk comes straight from the cow to provide for the city. Everyone is smiling.

Rouse Hill Anglican

The reverse side of “Mootilda” shows life in an unbalanced way. The city and suburban areas have taken over and the once lush pastures have given way and become just one of many new, monochromatic suburban subdivisions. The green base is dirty and polluted. A ‘tidal wave’ of milk is required and there are no cows to provide it. No-one is smiling. In fact, there is no-one there at all.

Schofield Primary School – Dairy industry

“Milky Way” is fun, colourful and interesting. She was designed and created by 85 students from Schofield Primary School. Each and every one of them contributed their own little bits to the process and to the final product, while the entire school learnt about the dairy industry along with them, during their library times.

Schofileds Public School

“Milky Way” shows the trail of dairy products and the processes of the dairy industry from ‘paddock to latte’, in three dimensional figures down the centre of her back from head to tail. Each of the components of the process is connected to each other by a series of bridges. This imagery of bridges then connects with the wording depicted on her sides – ‘bridging the rural urban divide’. To highlight these words, the students have used ’bling’ (in their words) to catch your attention and to make you smile. “Milky Way’s” face is completed with beautiful red lips and a big smile.

Terra Sancta College – Beef industry

“Koorina” is aboriginal for “to fly”. The name along with the wings on her back and the signage around her neck, are there to emphasise the students desire to promote the fact that ‘we don’t live on air alone’ – that more is required, a lot more. “Koorina” was designed and created by agriculture classes from Terra Sancta College.

Terra Sancta

The front side of “Koorina” shows the trail of the beef industry from ‘paddock to plate’. The cows are travelling in a herd from country to the city and straight into one of the most recognisable icons of Sydney – the Luna Park face. This also highlights the staggering number of cows it takes to feed Sydney for just one day.

Terra Sancta Beef (5)

The rear side of “Koorina” depicts a number of facts and diagrams relevant to the beef industry in Australia. The two different sides are connected by a road network running from nose to tail, with various highway and distance signs along the way. It is this network that the beef industry relies on extensively. “Koorina’s” eyes each reflect the opposite of each other – one country and the other city.

Quakers Hill High School – Grains industry

“Bessie” was designed, sculpted and painted by Art students from Quakers Hill High School. The initial concept was based around the artistic styling of Reg Mombasa and the Mambo label. The quirky, fun and colourful representation of a toaster complete with toast has an instant recognisability and connection to the grains industry.

Quakers Hill High School  (2)

The imagery cleverly portrayed around the surface of the toaster depicts various facets of the grain industry, all supported on imagery down the legs of “Bessie” of wheat, which is the foundation of the industry. The front side is primarily depicts the processing side of the industry, while the back concentrates on the rural to urban aspects. On the toast popping up from the toaster, there are facts and figures which talk about some of the staggering quantities of products and resources required to feed Sydney.

Quakers Hill

Around the toaster can be found the easily recognisable and distinct features commonly found on all toasters – the control buttons and the power cord (which has become the tail of “Bessie”) all completed in the distinctive ‘Mambo’ style.

Windsor Primary School – Dairy industry

“Winnie” was designed and created by a range of students from Windsor Primary School. Kindergarten students started the coloured base, while students from Year 3 and Year 5 completed her.

Trailing around both sides of “Winnie” is a series of quirky cartoon characters, designed and painted by the Year 5 students, on the lush, green base. These characters represent the process of the dairy industry – from the farmer and the cow waving goodbye to their milk as it leaves the farm and becoming the common dairy products that we know today (yoghurt, cheese, butter and ice cream).

Windsor Public School  (1)

Around the hooves of “Winnie” the signatures of the primary children involved in the process and their teacher can be seen (because all good artist’s sign their own work).

Muirfield High School – Grain industry

“Cowlie Moonogue” has two very different sides to her. One is a simple, sculptural statement of a common product, while the other is a complex pictorial made from the products themselves.

Muirfield HS  (2)

The front side of “Cowlie Moonogue” shows a three dimensional ‘local’ hamburger-with-the-lot. It incorporates annotations for the origins of all of the products and the distances each one may have travelled. This is shown on a background of images associated with social media, as the students felt that that was one way that modern society could start to bridge the gap between rural and urban communities.

Muirfield HS  (1)

The rear side of “Cowlie Moonogue” is a pictorial of Sydney Harbour primarily made from the products themselves. This is representing “what it takes to feed Sydney” – the Opera House has become a serving of Nachos, the ferries on the harbour are rice bowls and the city is bread.

“Cowlie Moonogue” is standing on a piece of highway –a ‘road base’. This represents the journey which products take, from country to city, to feed us all, and is highlighted by her having her own license plate.

Model Farms High School – Dairy industry

“Bessie” is a whimsical, fairytale-inspired depiction of the Dairy industry as designed and created by the clever students of Model Farms High School. She shows strong stylistic links to the artwork of both Reg Mombasa (Mambo) and Keith Haring, while still leaving the viewer in no doubt as to which industry she is showcasing.

Model Farms (2)

The front side of “Bessie” is lush, green and inviting, as well as slightly unusual. It shows subtle, stencilled imagery of cattle collaged into idyllic pastures and surrounded by trees and fencing (unusually depicted as being made from the products of the dairy industry itself – ice creams, cheese etc.) The rear side of “Bessie” shows even more flights of fancy as it concentrates on the industry and the process of milk production itself.

Model Farms (1)

The milk produced is then funnelled through various channels, down the legs and tubing to the waiting, hungry city below, which needs a huge amount of milk just to keep it going.

St Michael’s Primary School – Sheep industry

“Woolly Jumpers” was designed and created by students from Years 3, 4, 5 and 6 from St Michael’s Primary School. They took their research work very seriously and became quite knowledgeable about the sheep industry in Australia, as well as wool itself, its common uses and its scientific properties.

“Woolly Jumpers” is very tactile and very informative and there is no doubt that it belongs to the sheep industry. The front shows the wool industry and the sequence of processes for wool from paddock to the world. It shows many of the countries we export wool to and their relative size and importance to Australia’s wool industry.

The rear side of “Woolly Jumpers” talks about sustainability, about how wool can be used, the properties of wool, as well as numerous images of modern communication items. The latter shows one method which the students (who were previously unaware that the rural sector used these) felt could bridge between rural and urban communities.

Crestwood High School – Sheep industry

“Blossom” was designed and created by around 10 students from Years 8 and 9 from Crestwood High School who requested to be part of the project. She is bright, colourful and informative.

View album

4 sides of Blossom

On the rear side of “Blossom,” the process from farm through shearing and then manufacture and to the product itself is shown with simplicity and clarity. On the front side of “Blossom” an unbalanced society is represented. The number of houses and developments outweighs the minimal numbers of farms in today’s society.


Connecting the two sides (rural to urban) is a bridge. The bridge echoes each side in its styling. On the rural side (the rear), the bridge is timber, clean and traditional. On the front side, the bridge has graffiti and rubbish. Travelling on the bridge there are also trucks transporting the products to the city. On the top of one truck is a subtle dedication to the ABC reporter Paul Lockyer, who died recently and was an advocate for this message.

Castle Hill High School – Dairy Industry

“Charlie” was designed and created by a small but dedicated team of students from Castle Hill High School. One of only two ‘reclining’ cows given to schools in this year’s competition, the students faced unique issues.

“Charlie” has characteristics drawn from a number of areas. The name is inspired by “Charlie and the Chocolate Factory,” “The Mad Hatter’s Tea Party” and also from the imagery of Tim Burton. When connected together with the Dairy industry, they have combined to form a “Mad Hatter’s Milk Party”.

“Charlie” has a base comprised of a brightly coloured, chequered tablecloth overlaid with a collection of patterned teacups, milk bottles and spilt milk. Surrounding this are many facts and figures associated with the dairy industry, as well as a combination of aboriginal imagery, items of modern technology and colourful ‘paint splats’ (following the imagery of the spilt milk).

Northholm Grammar School – Grains industry

“Miss Bits” is a tale of two very different sides, as seen in a number of the entries in this year’s competition. However, “Miss Bits” and the students from Northholm Grammar have taken a very different path.

Northolm Grammar

“Miss Bits” is dressed on her front side in clothes representing the stereotypical imagery of rural communities. The denim overalls and chequered shirt have then been overlaid with the imagery and logos of many of the commonly known and easily recognisable end products of the grains industry in Australia today. This play of showing the beginning of the process and end destination in the grain industry is also replicated on the rear side of “Miss Bits,” though it is shown in reverse. She is dressed on this side in ‘city clothes’ (the ubiquitous black suit) representing the final destination of the products, with imagery overlaid showing the initial growing stages of a number of grain plants.

The two sides of “Miss Bits” are connected through a tactile trail on her head and tail of actual grain seeds, and through a trail down the centre of her back with the names of a number of the common grains used in Australia.

St Ignatius College – Grain industry

“Betsy” was designed and created by a team of around 30 students from St Ignatius College. She shows an intricate and informative look into the grain industry in Australia.

The front side of “Betsy” shows a detailed pictorial from country to city. The intricate patchwork of the landscape is supported on legs covered in wheat, the foundation of the grain industry today. This side also highlights a number of pertinent facts and figures relating to what it takes to feed Sydney for a day.

St Ignatius

The rear side of “Betsy” shows a number of different facets of the grain industry in Australia. It shows the manufacturing process of turning raw grains into useable end products, as well as imagery of the end products themselves. In the centre is a map of Australia showing the primary grain growing areas of Australia as well as the major ports for the export of the grain, as this is a major component of the industry.

The two sides of “Betsy” are connected by a rail network (the primary method in Australia of transporting grains) running straight up her spine from the rural areas at her tail to the city at her head.

Mt Druitt Tutorial Centre – Poultry industry

“Chickcow” was designed and created by Year 8, 9 and 10 students from Mount Druitt Tutorial Centre. However, most of the school was involved in some form or another, particularly through art classes and cooking classes.

Mt Druitt  (1)


“Chickcow” definitely shows off the poultry industry of Australia, with its easily recognisable sculptural head, tail and feet. It has both tactile and painted feathers as well as many little ‘info-feathers’ showing facts about the industry, about what it takes to feed Sydney for a day as well as a strong sustainability message. The best part of this cow however, is hiding underneath. Nestled beneath “Chickcow” is a precious clutch of hatching ‘chickcowlets’. Their shells have broken open to reveal the fluffy and googly-eyed little babies that will become “chickcows” themselves.

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, clip-on egg rings!

Alice Betteridge School – Grains industry

“Betsy” is a very different type of entry into the Archibull Prize than the entry put forward by Alice Betteridge School last year. 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 is fascinating what the children can tell you about the pictures without being able to see them

Alice Betteridge front.

“Betsy” has a collage of pictures at her head, showing a collection of rural images based around grain growing in Australia. At the rear, another collection of pictures shows urban images and a variety of grain based products. In the centre, linking the two collages is a band of water with the iconic Sydney Harbour Bridge connecting the two sides. Overlaid across the Harbour Bridge are images of the manufacturing process of grain -turning grains into the final products we know.

Alice Betteridge back

“Betsy” is highlighted throughout with bands of gold colouring. This echoes the ideas of ‘fields of gold’ being the paddocks growing grain, but also shows the importance of the grain industry to Australia.

Farmers call to arms

Each year the Readers Digest does a poll to determine Australia’s most trusted professions. Last year as you can see farmers came in at number 7.

Top ten most trusted professions in 2011

1. Paramedics

2. Firefighters

3. Pilots

4. Rescue volunteers

5. Nurses

6. Pharmacists

7. Farmers

8. Medical specialists

9. GPs

10. Veterinarians

Four years ago when farmers were at number 9 I showed the list to a group of farmers and posed the question “ why aren’t farmers at the top of the list”. The farmers around the table replied “ the majority of the professions in the top 10 save lives”. My reply was without farmers supplying people with food, their most basic of needs, there would be no life and we need to find away to remind people just how important farmers are.

At that time I received mostly blank looks to my suggestion from the farmers around the table. I thought this was very sad and recognised we also needed to find a way to make farmers realise just how important they are. After all if you don’t believe in yourself how can you expect anyone else too.

So I began a crusade to fix this lack of appreciation of farmer self worth and initiated the Art4Agriculture programs to provide opportunities for farmers to share their stories with the community and in turn get a greater understanding of the community’s expectations of the people who supply them with food and fibre. The aim was to create a two way appreciation between rural and urban communities and an understanding of how much we rely on each other other.

This year is Australian Year of the Farmer. A once in a life time opportunity to remind people (farmers and the community alike) just how important our farmers are.

Australian Year of the Farmer is an opportunity for every primary industry, every rural community and every farmer to invite their urban cousins to join them in a 365 day celebration.

Beyond Art4agriculture’s activities I am having a dinner party once a month for my urban friends. They will receive a copy of an Australian rural showcase like Fiona Lake’s books which my first guests were lucky enough to get.

AYOF dinner

We will celebrate local produce, drink local wine and I will be encouraging them to wake up each morning and say “I thank a farmer today”


There is no shortage of great food on the South Coast.  And just to prove it we recently won the 100 mile challenge


What do you have planned?

Well known Australian author Fleur McDonald– the voice of outback has pledged to get hold of 52 Farmers and post a blog a week from a farmer. From every part of Agriculture; grain, stock, mixed, fishing, dairy, viticulture, communications and so on and so forth!

This week I am very honoured to say I am farmer no 4. You will find my blog on Fleur’s site as well as at the bottom of this post.


This is my challenge to Australian farmers. Farmers are currently number 7 on Australia’s most trusted professions list. How can we work together to make 2012 the year Australia votes to put their farmers at number 1?

I look forward to working with each and everyone of you to make this happen

Fleur McDonald – Australian Year of the Farmer – a farmers story No 4 by Lynne Strong Clover Hill Dairies

Firstly I would like thank Fleur McDonald for giving me this opportunity to share my story and congratulate her for taking the lead in Australian Year of the Farmer by sharing 52 farmers’ stories. For too long food has been about cooking and eating and recipes and restaurants with little attention paid to the origin of the key ingredients. It’s time for everyone in the food value chain to follow Fleur’s lead and put faces to the product and give our customers real farmers they can relate to

1. Summary of your family and farming enterprise

My name is Lynne Strong and I farm at Clover Hill Dairies in partnership with my husband Michael and son Nick in what I refer to as paradise – the beautiful Jamberoo valley on the South Coast of NSW.

Clover Hill Dairies

Jamberoo is the birth place of the Australian dairy industry and the cooperative movement and my family has been farming here for 180 years.

I am actively involved in the day to day running of our two dairy farms where we milk 500 cows that produce milk to supply over 50,000 Australians daily. Lynne and Michael Strong

The highlight of my farming journey to date has been winning the National Landcare Primary Producer Award. This award recognises farmers who have a holistic view of farming and are committed to achieving the delicate balance between sustainable and profitable food production, and the health and wellbeing of people, animals and the planet

Nick Strong

2. Why I farm

· I farm because the people I care about most in the world farm and they are in it for the long haul

· I farm because I believe feeding, clothing and housing the world is the noblest profession

· I farm because I like the mental intensity, the constant review process, the drive to get up each day and do it better. The fulfilling challenge of balancing productivity, people, animals and the planet

· I farm because inspirational people farm. Feeding, clothing and housing the world now and in the next 50 years is going to require an extraordinary effort. This means we need extraordinary people to take up the challenge. When I work with inspirational people, they light my fire, feed my soul and challenge me to continue to strive to make a unique contribution to agriculture and the community.

3. What do you foresee as the biggest short term and long term challenges in farming?

Sadly Australia is complacent about the challenges to food security. There is a lack of appreciation by society in general of the interdependence of environment, agriculture, food and health.

However if we are to progress and fuel the mushrooming food needs of the cities while meeting the community’s expectations for environmental sustainability and animal well-being, then both rural and urban communities must have greater mutual empathy and respect.

This I believe is the real challenge facing farmers in the immediate future -How do we fix it?

As I see it we can do one of two things. We (farmers) can sit back and lament that we are victims or we can actively acknowledge that farmers are business people selling a product and successful businesses recognise marketing is a strategic part of doing business.

Marketing doesn’t mean every farmer needs to have a logo, spend money on advertising, write a marketing plan, write a blog, join Twitter or Facebook – it simply means being customer focused. This means you have to understand your customer and their values and your business has to BE the image you want your customer to see.Then whenever you get a chance, put that image out there. It may be at the farmgate, at a local farmers market, a community meeting, a media interview or whenever you are in contact with consumers.

Every sector of the food system whether they be farmers, manufacturers, branded food companies, supermarkets or restaurants is under ever increasing pressure to demonstrate they are operating in a way that is consistent with stakeholder values and expectations. Farmers cannot expect to be exempted from this scrutiny just because we grow the food.

Businesses are built on relationships. This means we (farmers) have to get out there in our communities and start having two way conversations with our customers

Excitingly I know that once farmers embrace the concept they will discover like me that it can be very rewarding talking to your customers. They are interested and they do care.

There are so many ways farmers can share their stories. To help achieve this I initiated the innovative ‘Art4Agriculture’ programs which started with Picasso Cows and is now the Archibull Prize. The Archibull Prize uses art and multimedia to engage thousands of students in learning about the valuable role farmers play in Australia’s future.

With the Art4Agriculture team I am working on establishing an Australia wide network of ‘young agricultural champions’ who are trained to tell the great story of Australian agriculture to the next generation of consumers – students.

This program connects young people from different food and fibre industries. They get to see their similarities, they find common ground, they realise each has issues that are just as challenging, and they learn how they can help each other.

Art4Agriculture’s Young Farming Champions program for 2012 will train a team of 24 young farmers from regional Australia to actively engage with students in schools around Australia. The students will focus on a particular food or fibre industry, receive a unique insight from their Young Farming Champion and then enter their project work (their Archie) to vie for the ‘Archibull Prize’.

Our Young Farming Champions will also have the opportunity to participate in a comprehensive and diverse array of initiatives offered by our supporting partners. These events will provide a platform from which to develop, build and strengthen the capacity of the Young Farming Champions and allow primary industries to develop key farmer-to-stakeholder and farmer-to-consumer relationships.

Through their involvement in Art4Agriculture school programs our Young Farming Champions will be able to directly market their food or fibre industry and its diverse career pathways to a captive and relevant audience. The legacy of the Young Farming Champions program is to create an Australia wide network of enthusiastic young professionals and build their capacity to promote Australian agriculture as a dynamic, innovative, rewarding and vibrant industry.

We believe this program will not only help build the capability of young rural people to farm with resilience and confidence it will provide a great platform to spark the next generations’ interest in an agricultural career.

4. What is my vision for the future?

My vision for the future isn’t too difficult; it just requires a different way of thinking. I believe a profitable and sustainable healthy future for the farming sector is achievable – the health and welfare of all Australians and many people around the world depends on it.

To drive the process of change requires champions and leaders. But to change grass roots perceptions, we need grass roots action. Farmers care about the country, their livestock and the people they provide with food and fibre. Beyond best farming practices, farmers have to be out in communities, walking the talk – from paddock to plate, from cow to consumer – and building trust between rural and urban communities. I want farming men and women to go out and sell the message that feeding and clothing the world is an awesome responsibility and a noble profession, and that it offers great careers. Just imagine if we could achieve my vision of an Australia-wide network of trained, passionate farmers talking directly with the communities they supply!

5. What do you wish non-farmers / city people & the Australian Government understood about farming?

Australian farmers proudly feed and clothe 60 million people. If they were doctors or nurses or pharmacists or ambulance officers or firemen there would be a moment in most people’s lives when they would be reminded just how important those professions are.
But farmers, at less than 1 per cent of the Australian population, are almost invisible and with food in abundance in this country, there is little opportunity to remind Australians just how important our farmers are.
I am hoping Australian Year of the Farmer starts a very long conversation and a new appreciation for the land that produces our food and the hands that grow it

6. What would I like to see on a billboard?

Billboard – across Sydney Harbour Bridge

“If you want safe, affordable, nutritious food forever love the land that produces it and the hands that grow it.”


You can visit us at the following websites:

Clover Hill Dairies


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Clover Hill Dairies Diary


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