Make it Real – Time for Action

Young Farming Champion’s Josh Gilbert  and Anika Molesworth are blogging from ParisCOP21 and they are ‘learning by doing’  These are Josh’s reflections from  Day 3…………

Josh and Anika say thank you for your support

Paris Day 3 of the COY11 conference has reinforced a number of things for Anika and me

Front and centre our agricultural sector has what it takes to be highly competitive but despite huge potential and the rapidly growing demand for our products, agriculture overall has been losing market share to international competitors. It’s widely acknowledged within agriculture that it is being held back by a lack of strong leadership.

Young people in agriculture like Anika and I  know that if Australian agriculture is to reach its true potential then it’s going to need a generation of passionate and energetic future influencers with a different set of skills beyond agricultural expertise, who can recognise new business opportunities and make them happen.

To help develop these vital skill sets Anika and I applied and were accepted into the Young Farming Champions program.

We joined the program because we are excited about the future of agriculture and its opportunities .We joined the program because we are aware of the challenges and we wanted to join the conversation on the solutions. We joined the program because we wanted to get involved and take action. We joined the program because we  know it provides access to some of the brightest minds in the country committed to exceptional talent development and importantly we knew we would be nurtured  and able to hone our skills in a safe environment.

An integral component of the Young Farming Champions program is “learning by doing” and this is why  we decided to crowd fund our way to Paris. We see Paris as a perfect opportunity to meet lateral thinkers from around the world who are passionate about the same things we are

Bringing the stories of passionate young Australian agriculturalists to Paris could not have come at a better time. Its is the perfect opportunity to work with others across the globe to determine our future by acting on climate change

Like us every single one of the 3000 young people attending the Conference of Youth (COY11) know that whilst

Climate change creates elevated levels of uncertainty about our future and amid this uncertainty, one thing is certain. We will leave the Earth to our children, young people and future generations.

When Anika and I arrived at Parc des Expositions Conference Centre at 8 o’clock this morning, we were greeted by 8 security guards and 6 soldiers holding machine guns.

This environment was sobering but it was overwhelmingly inspiring to see so many young people determined to make a unified statement and say together that Paris has to achieve much more than emissions targets and  a transition to a green economy, it also a time to stand up for social justice

The COY11 event has been set up as an open space. We have a choice of attending sessions on issues that like-minded people feel particularly strongly about. To help encourage further communication and innovation we can workshop our ideas in private or in public. It’s really free flowing and entirely dependent on the individual as to what they want to get out.

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With such a diverse group of people the language barrier can be a bit confusing at times. There are translators in each room and headsets available for the bigger sessions. The innovation stream is good for this and we have a full time translator as a facilitator for our group.

I was fortunate to be selected as one of 200 young people from around the world for a Make it Real Innovation Lab stream

Naturally I joined the agriculture group where young farmers from Kenya and South Africa, shared with us that climate change is a significant threat to the welfare of millions of the rural poor and opened my eyes to the need for a worldwide rethink on the way we produce food and the way we farm.  It’s pretty scary when you think that 30% of the fertile land in the world has vanished in the past 30 years.


Like us climate change is emerging as a major challenge to agricultural development in their countries. The increasingly unpredictable and erratic nature of weather systems on the African continent have placed an extra burden on food security and rural livelihoods. On top of this there is poor infrastructure and governance and extreme poverty

World Bank forecasts show that Sub Saharan Africa will surpass Asia as the most food insecure region inhabiting 40-50% of undernourished people globally in 2080 compared with 24% today.

Unlike us these young people come from farming communities with no opportunity to share agricultural knowledge and little or no access to training on sustainable farming systems methods. They live in hope that they can continue feeding their communities, but uncertainty as to who will farm in the future and where they will get the knowledge.

Anika has spent the last 12 month in Laos forging an agricultural career spanning continents and cultural divides and the last 3 days has driven home to me just how important the work she is going is.

It has become even clearer to me that the need for action on Climate Change is NOW  because when the era of cheap food ends, the world will face the daunting challenges of food production and providing immediate relief for the poor affected by drought, natural disasters and conflict.

You can follow their journey on their #Paris COP21 blog here

Supporting our future influencers

Young people today value transparency, flexibility and the opportunity to make a difference to society—and they want to work in an environment that shares these values. If agriculture is committed to finding answers to the most pressing challenges of our time we can do this only if we are able to attract, engage, and retain and support the brightest minds and the young talent of today.

Young Farming Champions Josh Gilbert and Anika Molesworth are part of team seeking a world view and looking for the solutions that are responsive to the challenges of Australia’s farming communities

These young people want to move from aspiration to action. To do this Josh and Anika  have gone to Paris and COP21 on a fact-finding mission and bringing back what they find to share with young farmers like themselves and anyone else who cares to listen.

What is so exciting here is that they care enough, and others care enough to support them, to go and learn whatever COP21 has to offer?

The support from government and the community has been phenomenal

Josh and Anika recently had an audience with both the NSW Minister for the Environment and the Minister for Primary Industries who reiterated the important role agriculture plays in NSW

Minister Blair also recently met with Josh and Anika and 15 of their peers.

He feels strongly that investment in the new generation of agricultural leaders can do so much more than securing the production of food.

It can provide jobs, grow wealth and create vibrant and resilient rural and regional communities.

And the perfect way to create world class leaders is to create the right environment and give them the skills to thrive

To quote part of the Minister’s speech in Hansard

‘These Young Farmers are some of agriculture’s youngest advocates, representing all different aspects of primary industries and providing a link between life on the farm and the classroom. I was delighted to meet with this year’s champions who have now joined alumni of 50 members. These young farmers are the future of our primary industries—they are passionate and engaged, and will be the driving force to our industries by being innovative, progressive and pushing the envelope to ensure this State’s sector is the envy of every other State.” The Hon Niall Blair NSW Minister for Primary Industries Land and Water

2015 Archibull Prize Awards  (111)

Minister Blair meets with the Young Farming Champions 

And Paris is a great opportunity to help them develop those skills and knowledge. And excitingly bring that knowledge back and help Australian farmers drive the transition to clean energy technologies

Farming communities have a great opportunity to champion renewable energy

As Anika so eloquently says “We are blessed with open skies and vast horizons, we have boundless solar and wind resources”

“Importantly farm-supplied green energy has the potential to provide Australian farmers with a new and steady income stream. This will help reduce the physical, emotional and financial stress on our farmers and help ensure we have resilient and prosperous rural and remote communities.”

They and many young farmers like them are committed to Australians having the bright future that we all deserve

Tomorrow Josh and Anika will attend the Conference of Youth where Josh will be 1 of 200 young people participating in the Make it Real workshops

These young people from diverse demographics across the world a looking for a ” different story on how to make our model of society sustainable and desirable?”

They will team up and tackle the big  question of how we change the world. During 3 days, Josh and Anika will build the networks that hold a “unique vision and are committed to building tomorrow’s world, altogether.”

We look forward to people who share our values joining our team


Follow Josh and Anika’s trip to Paris on their blog here and on Facebook here 



Impact 25 – Vote for Young Farming Champion Josh Gilbert

The accolades keep coming for Young Farming Champion Josh Gilbert

Currently on the journey of a lifetime to ParisCOP21 Josh has just been named in the top 200 people in the running for the Pro Bono Australia Impact 25 list

From CEOs of some of Australia’s largest charities and the Prime Minister, to one-person teams, the Not for Profit sector has spoken and nominated a wide range of people for the second Pro Bono Australia Impact 25.

Almost 200 people from across Australia and almost every aspect of the for-good sector have been recognised for being the most influential.

You can vote for Josh here and excitingly another legend in agriculture has also made the list.  Make Alexandra Gartmann one of your three votes

It is the second time Pro Bono Australia has called on those within the sector to nominate its champions.

After two weeks of voting, the top 25 influencers will be unveiled, acknowledging them for being leaders in a sector that accounts for 4.3 per cent of Australia’s GDP and employs over one million people.

With hundreds of people taking part in the nomination process, CEOs dominate the list of nominees, with 63 being chosen.

There were also former and current prime ministers, 2015’s Australian of the Year, and an author.

A large number of nominees also came from the executive level of Not for Profit organisations.

Last year’s Impact 25 was made up of a wide selection of household names, including World Vision CEO, Tim Costello, and domestic violence campaigner, Rosie Batty, both of whom have been nominated again this year.

Voting is now open and will close on Thursday 3 December.

Everyone who votes can go into the draw to win one of two free tickets to the Fundraising Institute of Australia’s 2016 conference valued at $1,750.

Click here to see the full list of nominees and to vote for Impact 25.

– See more at:


Ag in the classroom can do so much more than share the paddock to plate story

It was so rewarding for me to be invited to attend the official launch of the Matraville Sports High School training ground initiative for student teachers that exposes them to ‘real issues’  which sees the school partner with the University of NSW in a world first

Now Matraville has more teachers to give the students the attention they need, and the UNSW is giving its student teachers much more classroom experience than they would normally receive.

Up to 60 student teachers will now be on the Matraville campus at any one time.

“For too long teacher education has been stuck in an ivory tower with occasional excursions out into the real world .This is the first time that a secondary campus has been established for a university teacher education facility in Australia.

“The kids can get their hands dirty — student teachers need to see what it’s like to actually deal with an extended school community. It is exposure to real schools, with real issues far beyond standard teacher education”. Professor Chris Davison head of the School of Education at the University of New South Wales (UNSW).

You can only imagine how thrilled and honoured I was to see the showcase video that shows how The Archibull Prize is viewed as an integral part of this groundbreaking initiative that includes drama and gifted education programs, particularly focusing on the arts and science, as well as literacy and numeracy initiatives for those students needing additional support.

Watch the showcase video here 

Since its inception The Archibull Prize has been funded by industry and supporters of Ag in the Classroom. This means our annual reports have always focused on the benefits to agriculture. Yet when the art judge Wendy Taylor and I visit all the schools we know the benefits of The Archibull Prize experience to the schools, the students and their wider communities are so much more than this and sadly we have yet had the opportunity to tell the whole story

Thank you so much Matraville Sports High School and UNSW for sharing the holistic importance of the Young Farming Champions and The Archibull Prize programs. Kudos to you

Reblogged from here 

Pick the winner of The Archibull Prize 2015


It is with great excitement that we announce the finalists in The Archibull Prize 2015 .

The judges decision is in and now it’s your turn to decide the People’s Choice.


Click on the photo to see a larger version and vote for your favourite Archie.

We know these photos don’t do the entries justice so if you would like to see more elements and both sides of all these masterpieces and meet the students who created them you will find them in our Flickr Album here 

2015 Archibull Prize Sponsors

Tayla Field’s journey from city girl to hooked on the bush and a career in agriculture

Today’s guest blog comes from Tayla Field who often gets asked “How does a girl from Sydney find herself here?”

This is Tayla’s journey from city girl to hooked on the bush and a career in agriculture

Bug Checking Cotton

Born and raised in Inner West Sydney, my family connections spread from Rockhampton to the South Coast of New South Wales, with no clear rural connections. Similar to most young children I went through all the phases of potential career choices while growing up, with being a teacher, vet and policewoman crossing my mind.

Tayla Field

However during school I gained an interest in environmental issues locally, where I saw the opportunity to work in areas of sustainability and environmental management when looking into potential university courses.

Commencing study at the University of Sydney in a Bachelor of Environmental Systems, I had the opportunity to mix and converse with students from an Agricultural background, along with teachers, farmers and industry professionals.

Tayla Field 2

The idea of an established, changing and exciting food and fibre industry career was put forward  and now realised a career in Australian Agriculture and Horticultural industries was now an exciting and very real option for me

As I was so very excited to start my second year in Agricultural Science, the end of my first year at uni saw me hassling some very helpful members of the faculty to facilitate a course transfer,  Since transferring I have not looked back and have somehow had the the environment comes first knocked out of me by fellow students, leading to a dual interest in sustainable food an fibre production systems working side by side with getting the best outcomes for our planet.

My experience so far has been a diverse tasting plate of livestock, cropping and agronomy, all of which have interesting areas but come with their own challenges.

Walking Heifer

Working in cattle and sheep yards and leading a heifer for the first time are all experiences with livestock that have been challenging for me, but with the experience comes confidence, control and respect for the animals that you are working with.

I enjoy the livestock side of things, however I am majoring in agronomy in the coming year and have gained a lot from spending some time, with mainly cotton agronomists in the Riverina. I have visited the area at different times of the season and have gained a strong interest in the management of cotton, while recently spending time looking at some wheat and barley production in the winter. I can’t wait to get back out there in late November.

Garlic Trials

These are all first time experiences that have only taken place since beginning the course in 2013, and I can only think of how great it would have been to learn this when I was younger or have more contact with agriculture.I see an exciting future for me ahead in an industry where every day is a new learning experience

“How did you end up here?”

The answer is

” I have discovered agriculture is an exciting forward thinking career  and I am Hooked!”.

I am hooked on the innovation and technology, the wonderful people I meet and a career in an industry that underpins a bright and sustainable future for Australia .


After all would you agree an office like this – could it get any better

Young farmers changing the way farmers are perceived

I recently attended an event where this statement was made

Agriculture doesn’t change the world, Agriculture prevents it changing

Visit here for some comment on this

Well I can assure you there is a new generation of farmers who are turning the way agriculture thinks, talks and acts on its head and they leading the change that agriculture must have

A great example of this is  Young Farmer of the Year and Young Farming Champion Anika Molesworth who was unable to attend the Farmer of the Year awards ceremony in Australia this week as she was presenting at the INTO conference in Cambridge in England

Anika Molesworth

Anika reports from Cambridge

“I am having an extremely exciting month! It was a thrill to win the Young Farmer of the Year award. Although I couldn’t attend the ceremony in Sydney, I was lucky enough to have my own awards night here- in a 17th century grain store on a fantastic country estate in Cambridge where they preserve heritage lines of sheep and cattle.

Speeches were made about the award with the 300 INTO delegates in attendance.
Climate change, agriculture and land use have been a real theme of this conference, and it’s been great to meet people from all over the world to hear their stories and feel the momentum growing in this discussion”

Wow are young farmers like Anika changing the way farmers are being perceived in the world – not only are our farmers on the front foot of climate change action and adaptation and mitigation strategies  we are now helping drive the conversations on the legacy our generation leaves for the future