Shed Happens – outsourcing agriculture’s story to the experts

Its harder to hurt some-one if you know their story

Picture You in Agriculture has a vision for an empowered national network of 1000 diverse youth voices working together to inspire pride in Australian agriculture. But as Lynne Strong says:

“We know can’t do this alone and so we get a huge buzz when we meet organisations and people doing fabulous stuff we can amplify.”

Such was the case when Lynne attended the Heywire/FRRR Grant Winners  announcements and met Andrew Viney from arts and social change organisation BIG hART. BIG hART began in Burnie, Tasmania 27 years ago and tells the stories of regional areas across Australia.

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“The majority of our work happens in regional and remote communities so we have a natural affinity with communities with strong agricultural connections. Our focus is on increasing the visibility of communities and of the issues which affect them and our model involves long term (3-10 years) projects. Consequently we only have a few projects happening at any given time, such as during the Millennium Drought when we had a project running in the Murray-Darling Basin called Gold.” Andrew says.

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Andrew Vinney (left) at the Heywire/FRRR Grant Winners  announcements 

Another innovative and successful project was the Acoustic Life of Sheds, a music and arts exhibition with a difference – held in five sheds across regional Tasmania and winning the 2018 APRA/AMCOSS AMC Art Music Award for Excellence in a Regional Area.

BIG hART’s latest project is Shed Happens, winner of a Heywire FRRR 2019 Youth Innovation Grant. Shed Happens aims to help people understand what life is really like on Australian farms by engaging directly with farmers on an everyday basis through an online video series. The $9,800 grant will develop digital media and literacy skills through workshops and creation of five films featuring stories of rural youth.
Kassidy Fuller from Bullfinch, WA is part of the Shed Happens Team, along with Alexander Rajagopalan from Bruce Rock, WA, Kurt Richards from Dowerin, WA and Hayden Di Bella from Ingham, QLD.

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“Last year was tough for my family, The wheat crop struggled through drought, but I was grateful the sheep were happy, healthy and worth a lot of money. Talk of a ban on live sheep exports changed that. My family rely on exports for our main source of income. I believe Shed Happens could have given my family a voice in that difficult time.” Kassidy Fuller

By building strong relationships on the ground with farmers Shed Happens envisages giving these farmers a voice to the public and, in turn, the opportunity for the public to ask questions directly to those farmers. It is an engagement that sits well with the visions of Picture You in Agriculture.

“If you want to build enduring relationships you have to be prepared to be in it for the long haul, because respectful, trusting and open relationships take time and committment. That’s why we are so successful with The Archibull Prize . Our Young Farming Champions are on the ground working with students in schools for six months at a time. We’re building interpersonal trust and this is what BIG hART does. They are working side by side with the people on the ground and the people on the ground trust them to tell their stories. They’re doing beautiful things for farmers in innovative ways. That’s why I love Shed Happens.” says Lynne .

Meet Krissy Riley the Flying Governess

Imagine living three hours from a town. Three hours if there is an emergency. Three hours from a pub. Well I live three hours away from all of these things.

My name is Krissy Riley and I live and work on a cattle station in the Kimberley. Three hours from anything.

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Two years ago, I was a swimming teacher in a Queensland mining town, I was paying $500 a week rent and spending a fortune just living. I was always on my phone. I was reliant on technology to get by in everyday life. I would spend $10 on a gossip magazine, which I would read while eating my microwave dinner. Full of protein and toxic goodness. Was this the life I wanted to live?

I needed some direction. I Googled and I Binged. And I stumbled across a website called www.governessaustralia.com I decided to upload my resume, sit back and wait.
I was not prepared for what happened next. Within three days I got over 30 job offers from all over Australia.

But none of the jobs felt right. Until one day I received a phone call that changed my life.
It was from a woman called Helen, from Anna Plains cattle station, three hours from Broome. She was very polite and got straight to the point. I would be teaching two children School of the Air. metimandjo

And then she put the children on the phone.I decided right then that I would take the job.
I had never lived or worked on a cattle station before. Flying across the country, I knew this was going to be a big change. I was so nervous. Words can’t explain how I felt that day.

My job turned out to be amazing. It was so fulfilling. Helping two young children learn was truly satisfying. I got to watch them grow and become young adults. They were picking up on my jokes and my sense of humour.

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The months past at Anna, and I had slowly come to terms that I no longer had mobile reception. I was reading books instead of watching TV. I was listening to triple j instead of mainstream radio. I was enjoying life!
But when animal cruelty in Indonesia’s abattoirs forced the Australian government to shut down live exports, Anna Plains’ employees feared for their jobs.

And while the station, which musters thousands of head of cattle by helicopter, might seem larger than life, last year it was brought to its knees.

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There was a lot of the anxiety on the station during the live export suspension. It was a pretty scary time, you think you’re going to lose your job, your home.

We did stop mustering for about a month, we were going to rallies in Broome, speaking to the members of parliament, trying to really push, say that it wasn’t our fault

It was very difficult to explain to the children who lived on the station what was happening. It is their home, their livelihood basically, being pretty much shunned in front of them.

The station is now back up to normal, although I think many people have been affected. I know a lot of people would have lost their jobs: a lot of jillaroos, jackaroos, ringers, things like that, and it’s obviously going to affect a lot of young people out there.

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Two years on, moving here, three hours from anywhere, I still believe it is best thing I had ever done!

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OPPORTUNITES GALORE FOR YOUNG PEOPLE LIVING IN RURAL REGIONAL AND REMOTE AUSTRALIA

Krissy was one of 33 young Australians who were selected to participate in the 2012 Heywire Regional Youth Summit which takes place over six days each February. Young Heywire winners aged 16 – 22 fly in from all over the country to the Australian Institute of Sport in Canberra for an all-expenses-paid week where they discuss ideas, walk the corridors of power and make life-long friendships.

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Each Heywirer represents a rural or regional pocket of Australia, and was chosen to attend on the strength of their written, video, audio or photographic stories that they shared on this website.

Over the week the Heywirers do heaps of activities, some important and serious, others just plain fun. The week includes a reception at Parliament House, a visit to the Australian War Memorial, optional sporting activities at the AIS, a tour of ABC Canberra (including a chance to sit at the news desk!), and the Heywire No Talent Quest.

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There are plenty of optional sporty activities too, like touring the AIS, visiting the Sportex museum and even using the professional training facilities at the AIS alongside elite athletes.

The Heywire Regional Youth Summit is a chance for the participants to develop outstanding ideas and proposals that will create change in their local communities.

Krissy and her Heywire team of Melody Pedlar, Alyssa Allen and Emma Visser are hoping to create a website that is a one-stop shop for information on rural issues.

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“I’m working with a group I met at the Heywire Summit that’s raising awareness about agricultural communities, what you can do, what jobs are out there and what education is available. For instance, if you’re doing School of the Air and you want to do extra courses, you can go there and click on the education link and check it out and see what’s available.” said Krissy

Their website which will be called “AGregate” would also help show careers in the Agrifood Sector as a viable career option that people might not know about.

Hear the girls present the AGregate team pitch here

Making a difference – everybody has all that is required

“All you need is two eyes, two hands and your heart in the right place to make a difference”

I had the pleasure of attending the Heywire Gala Dinner last night. Art4agriculuture is a proud supporting partner of Heywire and Heywire of us. The relationship is a collaborative partnership that is as simple as cross promoting each others activities.

One of the features of the dinner was a number of inspiring speeches from young people. They included some of this years winners like Alyssa Allen and Melody Pedler, former winner Naomi Gooden and Jack Black look alike Chris Raine the inspiration behind Hello Sunday Morning who said this last night  “All you need is two eyes, two hands and your heart in the right place to make a difference” He is so right. If we really want to we all have the necessary body parts that we can mobilise to make a difference .

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Chris Raine from Hello Sunday Morning – wow doesn’t he look like Jack Black

Art4agriculture exists for young people in agriculture and provides them with the opportunity to make a difference in so many ways and they ARE and they can show you.

Just a couple of examples

Young Farming Champion Alison McIntosh featured here in the wining secondary school video from the 2011 Archibull Prize from Caroline Chisholm College

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Young Farming Champion Stephanie Tarlinton inspiring next gen to be dairy farmers in this primary school winning video entry from Schofields Public School

The dedicated Art4agriculture team and now the 2011 Young Farming Champions alumni wake up each morning committed to providing vehicles and platforms to source funding, open doors and smooth the way to showcase the talented young people in agriculture. Sadly too often in agriculture we make what should be easy, too hard and we burn our young people out

One of our 2011 Young Farming Champions Alumni Emma Visser was lucky enough to be one of the 35 young Heywire winners from regional Australia who travelled to Canberra for the week long Youth Summit .

In their final job for the week, the group presented the big ideas they’ve been working on to their peers, an expert panel from different sectors, stakeholders and senior ABC staff.
After dividing themselves into nine interest groups during the week, each group was required to pitch a concise idea that would benefit the community relating to their specialty.
The groups were focusing on topics like small town survival, immigration and inclusion, the impact of mining on regional communities and Indigenous heritage.
Emma Visser and her team of Alyssa Allen, Krissy Reilly and Melody Pedler after much collaboration decided they would pitch a website called AGregate – a website to collect information about careers, education opportunities and student exchanges in regional areas. You can hear the AGregate pitch here

The Pitch

Emma and her team pitch the “AGregate” website

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The AGregate team like all the Heywire winners were presented with their winners certificates by Senator Joe Ludwig Minister for Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries

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Emma and Senator Ludwig

Borrowing from  website http://www.abc.net.au/heywire/stories/2012/02/3426986.htm 

Emma Visser is a city girl who moved to the Illawarra region of New South Wales, she says it (AGregate) would help show people that you can make the move successfully.
“I have a strong passion for agriculture and I’m not from an agricultural background.
For me it’s important other young people get that opportunity, and Heywire has been a great way for me to show that even if you’re not from a farming background you can still get in to a career in agriculture”.
She says her main objective was to try and bridge the gap between rural and urban communities, and make life easier for someone searching for a potential career in agriculture.
Naomi Gooden a 2002 winner was especially impressed with Emma’s group’s use of a website.
“These are innovative ideas using technology of today that Australians can connect to”.
Naomi went on to say “ Just because you’ve pitched your idea doesn’t mean the idea is done – you don’t have to rely on a government department to take up your idea, you can go home and do it.”
It’s a sentiment that would resonate with fellow audience member Chris Raine, founder and CEO of the website Hello Sunday Morning.
As a hard-living advertiser he chose to give up alcohol and blog about the process.
The popular website is now a go-to portal for people wanting to try a healthy challenge and contribute their stories.
Naomi says there are always people happy to help see ideas become realities.
“You can find mentors and support but if you really believe in your idea, don’t let it stop here, it’s very possible – this is the first step of something really great.”
Emma Visser says the week-long summit has given her skills she’ll be able to use later in life.
“We’ve picked up a lot of things which have built our confidence to get up and put forward something we’re passionate about and do it effectively.
“We were taught how to relax so we’re not as nervous and the importance of storytelling – we found out it’s important to tell a story so you can connect with an audience on a emotional level which makes it more personal.”
Technology is something Emma is passionate about, and just like her AGregate website, she will continue to make informative videos about life on the land, just like her Cows Create Careers video that attracted a whooping 15,000 web hits in 2 years. In fact its gone viral and has been attracting 1000 hits week for the last 4 weeks
“I love multimedia – it’s the most effective way of telling my story”. said Emma
“It’s great when I go in to schools and communicate with them because with my videos they can hear from me and see my job and what I do.
“It’s a great visual aid and I’ve heard people say they want to be like me because of these movies.”

Emma is just one of many young people Art4agriculuture has identified who are using “the two eyes, two hands and their heart to make a difference.”

Never before has it been more important for Australia to invest in our young people in rural regional and remote Australia. They are the lifeblood of our communities

If you are an Australian farmer you can make a difference by lobbying your peak industry body to invest in your next gen farmers.

Back to Emma and her thoughts on the long term outcomes of opportunities like being a Young Farming Champion who are provided with professional development and the skills set to confidentially share their story with urban audiences

Emma sums it up

“I have told my story so many times I don’t need a script. My story comes from the heart, it resonates with the audiences I want to reach. It is inspiring young people to follow my career pathway into farming. It inspires young people to step out of their comfort zone and it inspires young people to see the value in collaboration. I am nineteen years old and I have the skills and confidence to spend next 80 odd years making a difference”

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As a proud Heywire supporting partner we are thrilled to let you know entries are open for the 2012 competition. If you fit the age criteria or know some-one who does tap them on the shoulder and suggest they enter for the opportunity to experience the best week of their life
Also tweeting via @heywire and #heywire
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Meet all of the 2011 Heywire winners and why not enter the 2012 competition NOW.