Young Farming Champions Muster June 2019 Edition 2

This week’s top stories from Young Farming Champions (YFC) around the country (and globe!)

In the Field

Youth Voices Leadership Team  YFC Mentor and all round amazing woman Dione Howard has been busy learn all the ins and outs of social media at the Social Media Gov Summit. As part of the workshop she learnt  about how to delve into the behind the scenes of the common social media apps to learn how to find your most engaged audiences and what is working well on a social media channel. One lessons she shared with the team is “vertical video is king ” as it takes up more screen “real estate”. A great reminder for us all to get a little more intimate with our social media apps…

Young Farming Champion Lucy Collingridge shows she is ahead of the curve filming in vertical mode

Winter cropping is underway but what a difference a few hundred kilometers can make…In the northern part of NSW with Agronomist Casey Onus’ clients dry sowing in anticipation for a break, while at the south end of the state Agronomist and farmer Emma Ayliffe will complete her’s and her clients winter crop sowing this week. Australia is such a vast and varying country and while some farmers have been extremely lucky with the rain, others are still waiting for mother nature to provide some relief from the drought.

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Dryland crops around Moree going in exactly that, dry!

The opposite happens in the south with early crops out of the ground and what is left to be sown going into moisture with a promising start.

Grain Young Farming Champion Marlee Langfield is looking forward to her germinating canola crop getting some rain. Check out this great time lapse video of Canola seeds germinating

Overseas NFF 2030 leaders course Alumni Matt Chapness is in Laos sharing the technology and knowledge that we have on weed management in staple crops. Matt is working with rice growers in Laos sowing rice and introducing the concept of inter-row cultivation for weed control to help them get better crop yields

“They are small holder farmers and are very vulnerable to climatic shifts. It doesn’t take a lot for them to lose a whole year of production. They don’t have a lot of savings … I want to help them as they aren’t as fortunate as we are.

“Obviously it is different to Australia, but there are similar principles applying.”

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Matt working with growers in Laos to improve how they grow rice which is not only a staple crop in their diets it is critical to many farms incomes.

Out of the field

Dione Howard, busy as always, is off to Melbourne next weekend as she wraps up her stint as the Wool Producers Youth Ambassador Role. As part of her trip she is attending the Wool Producers Animal Health and Welfare Advisory Committee and Executive meeting as an observer which has been a key aspect of her involvement as the Youth Ambassador. While there she will also get to find out the next round of “Raising the Baa” recipients as they are announced.

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 Dione Howard 

Young Farming Champion Meg Rice attended the National Press Club Agricultural Leaders Debate

YFC Jasmine Whitten has been way out west has been running education programs in Cobar at the St John’s Parish Primary School. Run in conjunction with the Buckwaroon Landcare and Peak Gold Mine Environmental officers the program showcases how farmers care for one of our most precious resources, soil.

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Jasmine pictured here with the students of St John’s Parish school and the teams from Buckwoon Landcare and Peak Gold Mine

Young Farming Champion Lucy Collingridge used social media to share how she is volunteering her time to support rural and regional communities through the agricultural show movement. Lucy shared her wisdom and experience in this fabulous blog 

Young Farming Champion Alana Black has started her global journey of a lifetime flying out last week to join the Rural Youth Project, based in Scotland. The aim of the project is to  “develop feasible strategies to develop leadership and enterprise skills amongst young people in agricultural and rural communities based on understanding their current situation, aspirations, opportunities and challenges.”

Alana is currently in the Netherlands on an agriculture learning journey and shared her trip highlights on ✔️ vertical and aquaponic farms 🍅 ✔️ community farming initiatives 🚜 ✔️ floating dairy farm 🐮 through our social media pages

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The Netherlands is the most densely populated country in the European Union and with 26% of the landmass under sea the Dutch are looking more and more to urban farming to meet production needs. At STRIJP-S which has become a place for artists, designers, theatre-makers and musicians to showcase their work Alana visited a closed loop aquaponic farm. Located on the 5th floor of an old Phillips manufacturing building. 

Alana Black Striip S At Kipster Farm which is the first farm of the world to produce CO2-neutral eggs and has a viewing facility open 24hrs a day for transparency Alana was very impressed with the farm’s egg cartoons. Made from  potato starch, cellulose fiber and water, the  CO2 footprint of a the Kipster egg box is 90% smaller compared with a standard egg box.

Screen-Shot-2018-05-03-at-14.26.32LIDL.Kipster-1009101534-7615_adftvqKipster Farm

Alana also visited the world’s first floating dairy. The offshore facility is right in the middle of Rotterdam’s Merwehaven harbour and will house 40 cows milked by robots. Eighty percent of the cows’ diet will come from food waste gathered from Rotterdam’s nearby restaurants.

The Floating Farm is 27m2 and has three levels. The lower level, on the floating base, houses the factories and a visitor’s area and shop. The factories process the raw cow milk, rainwater collected from the roof and cow urine and manure. Once processed, the manure will be used as fertiliser to grow feed for the cows.

 

Talking about globetrotters Wool Young Farming Champion Sam Wan is off to Italy. The trip is part of her prize pool of winning Elders Employee of the Year Sam will use the Italian wool study tour to experience the Italian connection of the wool pipeline and learn all she can to benefit her wool growers 🇮🇹

Superstar YFC and climate action activist Anika Molesworth has had the most thrilling experience receiving the Instyle and Audi Future Shapers Women of Style award for the Farmer of Change award! On top of rubbing shoulders with the rich and fabulous she looked stunning and gave an inspiring speech . We couldn’t be prouder (and more jealous) of her truly unreal experience. See her acceptance speech here

Lifetime Highlights

Well honestly who can go past the superstar Anika…congratulations on being so damn fabulous, if you haven’t already go and grab your copy of June InStyle Magazine and see for yourself.

As the sunsets on yet another wrap-up of a fortnight of achievement of young people forging their way in this world we will leave you with this

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“Why fit in when you were born to stand out!” – Dr. Seuss

We also blogged about our lessons learnt

  1. What we have learnt about the world of volunteering 
  2. What we have learnt about using social media to amplify youth voices
  3. What we have learnt about leadership development 

Its been an exciting fortnight for our Young Farming Champions – looking forward to sharing the future with you

#YouthinAg #YouthVocies19 #StrongerTogether

Lessons Learnt Number Four – Using Social Media to Amplify Youth Voices

Social media is all around us. Facebook pops up onto our screens with notifications, we spend hours admiring Instagram images and we check in with the twitter-verse. In the ten years since Picture You in Agriculture (PYiA) was born we’ve used social media to share our stories, create conversations and build relationships over countless interactions. In this edition of our Lesson Learnt series we talk to Young Farming Champions Bessie Thomas and Anika Molesworth to find out how social media can be used to amplify youth voices.

Bessie Thomas uses Facebook as her social media platform of choice to share her life on Burragan Station in western NSW. “I like Facebook for its ability to be short or long form,” she says. “I’m primarily a long-form writer and enjoy Facebook’s ability to allow me to explore my thoughts thoroughly, use language as it pleases me (especially for writing with comedic affect) and then add visuals to suit.”

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Just as Bessie enjoys Facebook for its long-form option Anika prefers the brevity of Twitter. “Twitter demands less wordiness and is relatively easy to use,” she says, “and I can use short sentences and one link or a picture.”

Whatever the choice of platform both girls agree it is connecting to your audience that is most important. “Having a public Facebook page is like creating my own little community,” Bessie says of her audience who come to her to experience real-life on a sheep property. “The one aim of my Facebook page has always been to show the human side of farming, show that I/my husband/our family/farmers in general are real people with the same everyday hopes, dreams, problems, desires, challenges, illnesses, brain-farts, morals, ethics and ideals as everyone else. I want to show that we are individuals who care, not just mass production food factories. We are not perfect; we are just as human as everyone else.”

For Anika using social media is about connecting with people who can spread her environmental and climate change messages. “I think Twitter is well used by farmers, researchers and politicians who are connected to the topics I am talking about,” she says, “and I like you can tag anyone, no matter who they are. For example I sometimes engage in a Twitter conversation with policy makers and where else could I do this?”

Anika Twitter

Using images and video is a trademark of many social media platforms and both Bessie and Anika use these to great effect. Bessie recently created a video after drought-breaking rain fell at Burragan. The video reached over 20,000 people and was picked up by the Sky News Weather Channel. See footnote

Anika has recently compiled short videos to share on Twitter where she talks about such subjects as renewable energy and climate change. “I am really interested in amplifying the voice of rural Australia, so I asked myself, how can I project my story further and raise awareness of topics I believe are important? I decided to make a series of short videos of me on my family’s farm. Walking around my paddocks I try to give observation and insight on my life in Far West NSW around a central theme of climate change – both its impacts and how it can be addressed.”

Anika admits, that although she is familiar and comfortable with Twitter and has built up an engaged audience and has being identified as the most influential agriculturalist on Twitter , there is always more to learn. Bessie too, finds it a continuous learning process but has these tips for creating successful posts:

  • Create authentic content. Don’t use give-aways or ask for likes and don’t post just for the sake of posting. Amplify your voice in a curated way.
  • Respond to comments and private messages and, in doing so, build trusted relationships.
  • Know your purpose, or aim, and stick to it.
  • Create an emotional connection. My best posts are the honest ones where I am celebrating the highs and also admitting vulnerability. Whinging and complaining posts tend not to do so well.
  • Spell-check! See footnote

Picture You in Agriculture provides all Young Farming Champions with training in social media skills during their immersion workshops and encourages them to share their experiences. Young Farming Champion Alana Black has recently contributed to this by creating a social media strategy document, sharing with YFC how to create engaging content. Just like Bessie and Anika, Alana’s believes it is about connecting with an audience to start a conversation and deliver a positive message about agriculture.

Footnote

That moment when Sky News wants to put your video on national TV and your dad rings to remind you of the ” i” before “e” rule except after “c”

A reminder we should all aim for progress not perfection

Young Farming Champions Muster March 2019 Second Edition

This week’s top stories from Young Farming Champions across the country.

In the field

lets hang out sheep

This week there is a woolly buzz in classrooms in Sydney and we are thrilled to launch the pilot of our new program Paddock to Plate Pen Pals. Supported by Australian Wool Innovation this new program will see students Google Hanging Out with our Young Farming Champions working in the wool and sheep supply chain.

Skype sessions have been used successfully in the past to take the schoolroom to the field, such as when YFC Emma Ayliffe used the technique with Parramatta Public School for The Archibull Prize. For teacher Esra Smerdon the experience brought a real-world connection to the classroom. “When we skyped with Emma, she was able to show us how they used moisture probes to identify whether or not they needed to water and how they used that data to inform them,” she said. See case study here

Carlingford West Public School Google Hangout with Danila Marini

Monday morning CSIRO Sheep Researcher and YFC Dr Danila Marini beamed into Carlingford West Public School to discuss all things animal wellbeing, virtual fencing and technology and teacher Zoe Stephens says students were fascinated:

On Tuesday morning it was Riverina Local Land Services District Veterinarian and Wool YFC Dione Howard turn

This is what teacher Zoe Stephens had to say ” What a great connection! The students were so engaged and interested. I think you may have inspired some students to become future vets! The medical equipment you showed the students were amazing, especially as they could identify that we use the same equipment for humans! Thanks for your time and enthusiasm!

Carlingford West Public School with Dione Howard 2

Elders Wool broker Sam Wan and sheep musterer Chloe Dutschke will beam into Carlingford West PS later this week. Paddock to Plate Pen Pals will also be supported by blog posts, social media and case-studies.

Alexandria Galea

In the Central Highlands of Queensland, YFC and Secretary of the Central Highlands Cotton Growers and Irrigators Association (CHCGIA) Alexandria Galea and YFC and Cotton Info Extension Officer Sharna Holman worked with a team to deliver a Teach the Teacher Tour to gain hands on experience of agriculture.

Sixty teachers visited an irrigation farm, took a quick agronomy lesson and had a siphon starting competition. The adventure continued to a horticulture farm, to an automotive packing plant for citris and grapes and Fairbairn Dam.  Events like this aim to inform teachers of farming practices and give them a positive and fun experience of agriculture so that they can share this knowledge in the classroom. Great work Alexandria and Sharna.

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The Archibull Prize is celebrating its 10th birthday this year and the team is looking back over what we have learnt throughout our decade long journey of harnessing the best and brightest young ag minds to take the farm into urban classrooms. Our first Lessons Learnt Blog explores careers in agriculture and offering real world skills to solve real world problems. Elders wool broker and AWI YFC Samantha Wan shines as an example of the calibre of young professionals working with school students to encourage careers in agriculture. Read more HERE

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Out of the field

YFC Dr Danila Marini talks sheep welfare and the fascinating new world of virtual fencing with University of New England:

“Since ancient livestock herders began erecting barriers of brush and stone to contain animals, fencing has been a time-consuming and expensive business for farmers. Imagine, then, the virtual fence: an invisible line on the landscape that animals will not cross, which can be created on a map on a tablet, and moved or erased at a touch. After decades of research trial and error — lots of error — the concept is now a reality, at least for cattle. The rapid minaturisation of technology means that the solution may soon be applied to sheep, and that’s where UNE post-doctoral student Dr Danila Marini steps in.” Read more HERE

Danila Marini

Climate YFC Anika Molesworth is off to Antarctica this year and has co-authored a story in the lead up to her adventure via The Crawford Fund titled “Farming on Thin Ice.”

“Later this year, two young agricultural researchers who are both former Crawford Fund scholars and now RAID Network members, will be setting off to Antarctica. They were selected to take part in an incredible 12-month program with a cohort of 95 women in STEMM (science, technology, engineering, mathematics and medicine) from around the globe. The Homeward Bound programme is a global leadership initiative to equip women in STEMM with strategic and communication capabilities in order to influence policy and decision-making regarding the sustainability of our planet.” Read more HERE

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Bianca Das (left) and YFC Anika Molesworth (right) will be setting off to Antarctica later this year.

Friend of Art4Agriculture and consultancy guru Greg Mills caught up with Wool YFC Peta Bradley at Zone Junior Judging in Armidale. Peta was meat sheep judge and Greg was the steward. The winner and runner up  from Armidale will compete at the zone final at Sydney Royal Easter Show next month.

peta and greg

YFC and 2017/18 ADAMA Young Agronomist of the Year Runner-up Emma Ayliffe is fresh off the plane from ADAMA’s Young Agronomist study tour to Israel. Emma and the study tour team had a jam-packed trip and returned with many agricultural insights. Stay tuned for Emma’s recap on the Picture You in Agriculture Facebook page this week!

Emma A

YFC Meg Rice attended a NSW Farmers workshop last week that was aimed at developing practical leadership skills in women.

Meg Rice

YFC and Local Landcare Coordinators (LLC) Erika Heffer and Jasmine Whitten are both off to Sydney this week for the Statewide LLC Gathering. Jasmine checked with the  Picture You in Agriculture Facebook Page from the Dubbo airport this morning on her way to the big smoke. She’ll keep us updated on all the Landcare happenings this week, so keep an eye out!

jasmine whitten

Prime Cuts

Wool YFC Chloe Dutschke is one of six finalists for the this year’s Peter Westblade Scholarship. The Scholarship exists to promote the practical skills associated with the sheep and wool industry and aims to deliver hands on experience and mentoring to young people aspiring to a career in the wool industry. The recipient of the 2019 Peter Westblade Scholarship will be announced at the scholarship dinner on April 4th. Good luck Chloe!

We’re excitedly looking for the next crop of Young Farming Champions to join out team in 2019! Expressions of Interest are now open for University of New England Young Farming Champions. If this is you or someone you know, please share the word! Find our more HERE

 

UNE YFC Flyer

IN 2019 there will be a smorgasbord of opportunities for schools to partner with our Young Farming Champions.   In 2019 we will be rolling out our Primary School program Kreative Koalas – Design a Bright Future Challenge  in Western Sydney and the Hunter.

Kreative Koalas is an innovative STEM project-based learning program that focuses on the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

It empowers teachers to engage young people with a diverse range of academic skills, provides them with teamwork, problem solving and communication skills and a creative vehicle to design real world projects that have real world impact.

Competing for cash prizes and the title of Grand Champion Kreative Koala schools are:

  • Provided with a blank fibreglass koala for students to create an artwork on or to use as the subject of an artwork which focuses on a sustainable development goal.
  • Paired with Community Champions, business and community groups who hold the knowledge, wisdom and experience to assist the students to learn about local projects which are already addressing Australia’s Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) commitment.

Contact Lynne Strong E: headkoala@kreativekoalas.com.au to access an expression of interest brochure

#YouthinAgVoices #YouthVoices #StrongerTogether

Young Farming Champion Alana Black sharing her expertise and creating global connections

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Alana Black making the most of the opportunities available to young people living and working in rural Australia

Art4Agriculture’s Young Farming Champion program envisions a world where the brightest young agricultural minds from across Australian agriculture come together to build a better future.

Similarly the Rural Youth Project, based in Scotland, aims to “develop feasible strategies to develop leadership and enterprise skills amongst young people in agricultural and rural communities based on understanding their current situation, aspirations, opportunities and challenges.”

In 2019 the two programs will share ideas and experiences as YFC Alana Black takes up a role with the Rural Youth Project in Scotland.

Alana grew up in the small town of Rydal in central NSW with extended family on a nearby farm. Once, when driving with her mother, she questioned why relatives were on the farm and not her own family. Thus began a tumble down the rabbit hole of succession. Alana had completed a degree in communications from Charles Sturt University and used the topic of succession in her masters in organisational communication. “Finding out about what happened with my grandfather and his brothers and how succession played out there, and then looking how succession plays out for a lot of families in regional Australia I realised there is a big communications deficit,” Alana says. “People don’t know how to talk to each other about difficult subjects like succession.”

“Being a typical millennial I thought I’d start a website and put all of my findings on there,” she says. Fledgling Farmers was born. Alana was then accepted into the ABC’s Trailblazer program, which gave her new project wide exposure and gave Alana further insight into media and communications. These are skills she has honed with her participation in the 2018 Young Farming Champions program and which, in 2019, she will further employ as a member of the Youth Voices Leadership Team communication committee.

A big part of communication in the modern world is the use of social media and this has led Alana to Scotland. “Again, as a good millennial, I am very active on social media and I came across a Facebook page called the Rural Youth Project,” she says. “They were researching the challenges young people face when they don’t live in a major centre and were doing a survey wanting data from across the world.”

Rural Youth Ideas Festival, Kinross, Scotland, 2nd & 3rd August 2018.

Alana (left) is looking forward to reconnecting with the bright minds she met in Scotland in 2018

Alana completed their survey, followed up with an email asking about succession in their part of the world and was invited to be a video blogger. “Then they said they had an Ideas Festival they were going to run and would I like to come over and speak,” she continues. “How could I say no? I’m actually half Scottish – any excuse to go back is certainly something I’d love.”

Alana went to Scotland for two weeks, did work experience with Jane Craigie Marketing (who initiated and manages the Rural Youth Project) and attended a field day where the ambulance was called for a person suffering heat exhaustion – in 190C.

Alana’s first trip to Scotland was in a volunteer capacity, but this has led to further career opportunities and on 4th June she will fly into a Scottish summer. “I will be working with Jane Craigie Marketing on the Rural Youth Project, which is running over 4 years,” she says.

We look forward to hearing of Alana’s adventures in Scotland with the Rural Youth Project … and to how she copes with the heat of a northern hemisphere summer.

You can read more about Alana here

#YouthVoices19 #YouthinAg #StrongerTogether #ThisisAusAG

Young Farming Champions Muster July 2018 Week 3

This week’s Young Farming Champions stories from around the country

In the Field

Cotton Young Farming Champion Alexander Stephens takes out this year’s award for the most fields visited having covered over 6000km from Dalby, QLD, to Hay, NSW, and up to Kununurra, WA, to pick the world’s strongest and whitest cotton.

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What a way to see Australia, driving very big toys! We can’t wait to hear more about cotton picking on the Ord River, Alexander.

Wool Young Farming Champion Emma Turner spent last week home on the station collecting data for her honours thesis looking at the differences between 6 monthly and 12 monthly shearing. It involved lots of colour:

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Out of the Field

Youth Voices Leadership Team Chair Jo Newton will be hosting our social media pages this week. Head on over to our Picture You in Agriculture Facebook page to follow along and enjoy Jo’s insights from the Dairy Research Foundation Symposium and  Australian Sheep and Wool Show in Bendigo 

YFC Anika Molesworth jetted off to Argentina this morning. By invitation from the Argentine Agriculture Minister, Anika will be visiting farms, running workshops with young farmers and presenting on global agricultural challenges and opportunities.

This program coincides with the G20 meeting in Buenos Aires, and part of her brief is to collaborate with young South American farmers to prepare a report for the Ministers on the vision of strong and resilient farming sectors, enabling young farmers, and promoting future industry leaders. Anika will be working with Australian Minister for Agriculture David Littleproud and visiting farmer groups to discuss collaborative relationships between countries and tackling the industry’s big challenges.

YFC Sam Coggins has just returned from Myanmar where he reviewed three Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR) projects looking at pulses, soil mapping and nitrogen fertiliser efficiency. The three projects aim to improve food security and farmer livelihoods. Read more about what ACIAR is doing in Myanmar here

Sam Coggins in Rice Field

Prime Cuts

We are very excited to announce the Rice industry has joined the Art4Agriculture team and our very first Rice Young Farming Champion is Erika Heffer. Welcome Erika and thank you the Ricegrowers’ Association of Australia. We’re really looking forward to working together. Read the story here

Erika-Heffer3 (002) YFC

Following us on Facebook here and Twitter here

#YouthVoices18 #ArchieAction #YouthinAg

_2017 Supporting partners Capture

 

 

Youth off the streets and onto the farm

Using primary industries to reach and teach disadvantaged students is one benefit of The Archibull Prize.

Each year The Archibull Prize engages with a wide range of amazing students and teachers and this year The Lakes College (TLC) from the NSW Central Coast has partnered with Picture You in Agriculture, the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal and  Young Farming Champion Tim Eyes to study the beef industry.

TLC is a small alternate high school for Years 9 and 10 and is part of Father Chris Riley’s Youth Off The Streets program. The school only opened in 2017, which makes this Archibull journey extra special and with 5 staff members and 24 students everyone is involved.

“We like to view The Lakes College as a strong team who all support each other day to day. We are based in Blue Haven Community Centre. We are first and foremost students, but we also cook our breakfast, recess and lunch at school in our kitchens, make sure the place is clean, tend to our veggie garden and work and play on the brilliant sporting facilities our school so fortunately has around it.” Source TLC blog 

TLC are “Raising the Steaks” as they learn about the beef industry with their Archie and mentoring them is Young Farming Champion Tim Eyes. Tim is an agricultural contractor and co-founder (with his partner Hannah) of the successful Food Farm situated in Wyong Creek less than 10km from TLC. Tim and Hannah raise grass-fed beef, lamb, chicken, eggs and vegetables and regularly invite the public through the farm gate to see their sustainable brand of agriculture.

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Tim and Hannah

On July 2 the students of TLC found themselves amongst the animals of the Food Farm. They dug for potatoes, collected fresh eggs, picked oranges from the tree and milked Joyce the dairy cow. For Tim, who has entertained children both in mainstream schools and at the Sydney Royal Easter Show, hosting the TLC students was an enjoyable and eye-opening experience.

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“It was really refreshing having unfiltered, blunt questions – they were just very honest kids,” Tim says. “They had real questions about red meat and feeding people under the poverty line so we spoke about exploring the secondary cuts such as mince, which is accessible, diverse, and quick and easy to use.”

The potato patch proved particularly popular. “They spent probably half an hour there, digging potatoes and getting their hands dirty and thinking it was the most exhilarating thing, and that was so good to see,” Tim says. Indeed the wonder of the potato patch was commented on in the school’s blog with one student saying: “Potatoes grow in the ground – seeing that blew my socks off!”

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Another aspect of the visit that impressed Tim was some of the kids said they could see a future or a progression into a job with farming. “For them to even consider, for a split second, that maybe a career in agriculture was a good idea was pretty exciting; and it definitely made me think how the agricultural industry could have an effect on the poverty line and how it could employ people who wouldn’t have an opportunity otherwise.”

The Archibull journey of The Lakes College will be one to follow in 2018. “A lot of the students are quite artistic and I think they will be incredibly surprising on what they bring to the Archies,” Tim concludes.

You can read all about The Lakes College’s visit to The Food Farm here on their Archibull blog.

#YouthVoices18 #ArchieAction #YouthinAg

_2017 Supporting partners Capture

Young Farming Champion Sam Coggins is paying it forward on an international scale

In 2017 Young Farming Champion Sam Coggins graduated from university in one of the most prosperous cities in the world, yet his focus is on the millions of farmers in developing countries. He has a passion to help them strengthen their scientific and technological capacity and move towards sustainable patterns of consumption and production.

“In 2014, approximately 805 million people in the world did not have enough food

 to lead a healthy, active life. That’s about one in nine people on Earth.

The vast majority of these people live in developing countries. Poor nutrition

is the underlying cause in nearly half (45%) of all deaths of children under

five years old – 3.1 million children each year. While all people have a

right to safe and nutritious food, this human right is denied to many.

Like other important resources, food is not equally distributed across the world.”

Source World Vision

With a degree in soil science from The University of Sydney Sam now works with The Australian Centre for International Agricultural Research (ACIAR), an organisation that commissions research for the benefit of farmers in developing countries and Australia.

I’m chipping in as graduate in ACIAR’s soils program. I get to work on meaningful

projects alongside highly capable and down-to-earth people.

I’m genuinely loving it.

Sam credits his parents for financially supporting him through university, which allowed him the time and freedom to follow his altruistic dreams for a better world. While at university he:

  • Mentored and tutored indigenous high school students through the AIME program.
  • Created the Food Wastage Fighters Society with the aims to reduce wastage and boost community awareness. The society won the ‘Best New Club’ award and has over 150 members.
  • Studied for a semester in Sri Lanka and interned at the International Rice Research Institute in the Philippines through the New Colombo Plan Scholarship and spoke on behalf of the 100 2016 New Colombo Plan scholars at the awards ceremony.
  • Participated in the Bayer Youth Ag Summit in Belgium as well as the Chicago Council Food Security Symposium in Washington DC.
  • Went through the University of Sydney Genesis startup incubator, which generated projects such as ChemCrush (which won Best Social Innovation) and RiseHarvest.

Sam’s many achievements at university (including participation in AFL, soccer and athletics) culminated in the awarding of the prestigious University of Sydney Convocation Medal in 2018:

“This medal is awarded to one person who, in the previous year, graduated or

completed the requirements for a bachelor’s degree, and who has achieved a

high standard of academic proficiency, contributed to the diverse life of the

University, and may also have contributed to the broader community.”

On winning the Convocation Medal Sam was more rewarded by the joy in his parents’ faces, for personal recognition is not as important to Sam as the work he is doing. His time in Sri Lanka, in particular, was a life-changing event for him and taught him great lessons that will guide his career well into the future:

“I tasted the unfairness of the world during my semester in Sri Lanka. I learned

that achievements in my life will always originate from opportunities I was

lucky to get. This lesson beat the arrogance out of me and made me

commit to a career contributing to a fairer world.”

That career is on a stellar trajectory. Sam, with two friends, is further developing RiseHarvest, a smartphone app designed to help Burmese farmers use nitrogen fertiliser more effectively. This project was selected from 800 teams from 160 countries in the Thought for Food Challenge and will allow Sam and his friends to pitch the idea at the TFF Summit, which takes place in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil in July 2018.

Though the accolades may flow, Sam Coggins will remain committed to his ideals of contributing to that fairer world through agricultural innovation.

Shoutout to our superstar journalist Mandy McKeesick for writing this story

_2017 Supporting partners Capture