From Dagwood Dogs and Prize Dahlias, Sheep Shearing and cattle judging the local show movement is still at fever pitch in Crookwell

I have spent most of my time at local shows either showing cows or horses.

The upper Lachlan Catchment Landcare group was a great supporter of the 2014 Archibull Prize and Crookwell being part of this region their local show was a great opportunity to celebrate their local Archibull Prize 2014 entries, tell the great stories of our sheep, cattle, wool and dairy farmers and meet the locals

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So I jumped in the car last Saturday to join the wonderful Mary Bonet and the Upper Landcare Group in their tent at the Show

Mary Bonet Upper Lachlan Landcare

 The delightful Mary Bonet

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Seeing these wonderful books at our stand created for the Cattle and Sheep industry by the Kondinin Group was blast from the past by showgoer Scott Boyle who help collate them whilst working at Kondinin in WA 

Having had quite a walk to get in the gate I was thrilled to meet Dr Rod Hoare who is the Chief Ground Steward and has access to this great little golf cart- the perfect vehicle to tour the show sites for this little black duck

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 Chief Ground Steward Rod Hoare enjoyed the traditional dagwood dog whilst touring the showground in this wonderful little buggy

First up was the local sheep shearing competition an iconic part of livestock agriculture in Australia. Competitors are judged by the quality of their shearing as well as the speed of the shear. Visit True Blue Australia to find out more

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I took this little time lapse video of the intermediate class won by the shearer at Stand 2

Next up was the pavilion. The photos share the kaleidoscope of colour of the arts and crafts and vegies, produce, flowers, cakes and everything that says the finest of rural Australian local show culture

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I caught up with some ladies working and supporting rural mental health through the Rural Adversity Mental Health program and we had our picture taken for the local paper.

Then Mary introduced me to local member for Goulburn the Hon. Pru Goward who was very impressed with the Archibull artworks of the local schools

Prue Goward and Lynne Strong

Pru was keen to see the 2014 Champion Archibull Prize Winner “Ni-Cow’ and I was only too happy to show here but we seemed to be in a Tony Abbott black spot

Then we had a little tour of the cattle sheds and the cattle judging

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Where we met Ernie Stevenson an early and influential member of the Murray Grey society.

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Back at the tent I met local cattle farmer Ken Wheelwright who is part of the KLR Mastermind Group.

Ken and Lynne

More about Rod, Ernie and Ken in my next post on Clover Hill Dairies Diary

Then it was time to catch up with local Young Farming Champions and former Crookwell Show girls Jasmine Nixon and Adele Offley

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Ah the local show so much to see so little time but thanks to Rob and all the wonderful locals I think managed to fit most of it in

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Then the two hour drive home in the fog and the rain but it was all worth it

Grain industry sponsors next crop of Young Farming Champions

We have some exciting news

Australia’s leading grains research organisation, the Grains Research and Development Corporation (GRDC), is joining forces with Art4Agriculture as a sponsor for the 2014 Young Farming Champion program.

This also means schools participating in the Archibull Prize will have the opportunity to understand the interconnectedness of the landscape, their health and the Australian farmers who produce their food and fibre and showcase the grains industry on their artworks and through their blogs   

Our new partnership with GRDC and the next generation of grain growers will propel Wheat quoteAustralia’s grain industry towards a more innovative, rewarding and vibrant future as part of an exciting new partnership announced this week.

GRDC will join Australian Wool Innovation, MLA’s Target 100 campaign and Cotton Australia and Pauls and sponsor rising stars of the grain industry to become Art4Agriculture Young Farming Champions (YFC)

Their YFC will tour schools across Queensland, New South Wales and the Australian Capital Territory, sharing the story of agriculture and sustainable food and fibre production. Grain Young Farming Champions will become respected youth spokespeople for the grain industry, encouraging consumers to be proud of and support Australian farmers.

GRDC Program Manager Capacity Building Kathleen Allan says the GRDC is very pleased to be an industry partner in the Art4 Agriculture program in 2014. “Art4Agriculture is an exciting initiative that provides professional development opportunities for young people in the grains industry and increases awareness amongst school children of the importance of agriculture and the range of career opportunities in the sector,” Ms Allan says.

“The GRDC invests in a range of skills and capacity building activities that are aimed at supporting current and potential future members of the Australian grains industry to improve their capacity to lead, learn, change, innovate and advance the industry,” she says.

At Art4Agriculutre we believe agriculture’s young people are the future. Without them we lose a generation of leaders, innovators and workers who may seek opportunities elsewhere.

We would like to congratulate GRDC on being a leader in engaging, nurturing and building the capacity of young people in the grains industry.

For more information on the Art4Agriculture Young Farming Champion program visit: http://www.art4agriculture.com.au/yfc

Clear as Mud

Today’s guest blog comes from the very talented Bessie Blore city girl and journalist and now wool producer and Australian Wool Innovation Young Farming Champion.
Bessie writes the very popular and often very funny blog  Bessie at Burragan. Bessie recently attended her first YFC workshop

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Whilst Bessie

anticipates many obstacles along the way: rain, muddy roads, missed flights, inflexible bus company policies… But in the immortal words of Unique II “Ain’t nothing gonna break my stride.”  I will take the motorbike cross-country through the mud, if it comes to that to share my farming stories with the world.

 IT IS EASY to feel isolated when you live 110 kilometres from the closest small town – or even if you live in those small towns. It’s true that things like phones and Facebook combat the loneliness, solitude and other mental aspects of isolation. But as one of the 11 percent of Australians who don’t live in “urban areas” – that’s cities and towns of more than 1,000 people, according to ABS – it’s still reality to sometimes feel as if you are out of sight, out of mind, and out of touch.

Of all the various issues surrounding living on a relatively remote sheep station, when Shannan (ST) and I first moved to Burragan I was most constantly anxious about the possibility of being “rained in.” There’s about 35 kilometres, give or take, of dirt road between the Burragan house and a bitumen highway, and although 35km isn’t much in the scheme of things, the thing about dirt is that when it rains it turns to mud. And the thing about mud is that it’s pretty much impenetrable by man… or woman. So when it rains you either get out quick (not always an option), or bunker down at home in preparation for a period of house and shed-bound jobs.

ST always alleviated my fear by telling me that if we ever simply had to get out after rain, we could take the motorbike cross-paddock to the highway. Over time my anxiety eased as I became used to this plan, and when people asked what happened when we were rained in, I simply answered, “We really could get out on the motorbike, across the paddock, if we needed to.”

In my mind this was acceptable. I would never be totally trapped. Obviously I hadn’t given it much further thought. You know, about, like, exactly what happens when we get to the highway and only have a motorbike to travel on and are still 80 kilometres from the closest town? Yeah, that bit… hmmm… interesting you bring that up… I hadn’t really thought about that bit.

So it was part traumatic and part wild adventure last month when we had 50 millimetres (that’s 2 inches for the oldies out there) of rain overnight and I was due to catch a flight out of Broken Hill. Then the true physical issues behind the motorbike-cross-country plan finally became clear… much clearer than mud – yet still with the exact same colour, consistency, and chemical structure. So yeah, pretty much as clear as mud – except actually clear. Are you with me?

I was due to catch this flight to Sydney because of my #3 Super Exciting Amazing News that I’ve been busting to tell you about for months now. I’ve been chosen as a 2013 Young Farming Champion to represent the wool industry as part of theArt4Agriculture and Archibull Prize programs! (Insert claps, cheers and wolf whistles here!!) If you haven’t heard of this, then let me explain…

Art4Agriculture is the brain child of Illawarra based dairy farmer Lynne Strong. At its heart Art4Ag aims to bridge the divides between food and fibre producers and consumers, through awareness and participation. Just one aspect of the program is the Archibull Prize, where participating schools are provided with a life-size fibreglass cow statue to decorate in the theme of a particular primary industry (think cotton, wool, beef, dairy etc). The Archibulls, along with blogs and video projects, are then entered in the annual Archibull Prize competition against all the other schools. Part of the program – and this is where I come in – is to train up young farmers as champions for their industry, and partner each school with its own Young Farming Champion to help inspire their themed Archibull entry, but also to teach students all about how fun, innovating and exciting Australian agriculture is as a whole. Doesn’t it sound great!!??

So, there I was, at home, due to catch this flight to Sydney for my very first meet and greet with this year’s fellow Young Farming Champions (there’s a few of us –check us out HERE) and our initial training workshop. We’d had a little bit of forecast rain the day before and the usual protocol here, when no more rain is forecast for the immediate future, is to hope for some warm and windy weather to dry out the roads. With 24 hours still to go before I was due to leave for my 4pm flight from Broken Hill, we decided to enact this kind of watch and wait plan. And while I went to bed hoping for a windy night to harden up the muddy track to the highway, ST, I’m sure, was secretly hoping for a heavy 5inch downpour to fill our drying dams.

As I lay in bed I heard the rains tumble down. In June.

Fifty-millimetres had fallen by the time we woke. And it wasn’t warm and windy and dry. It was cold and still and wet. ST was delighted. I was anxious… and a little bit peeved. And feeling extremely traitorous for not being delighted.

But everything would be OK, because we could just push out through the paddock on the motorbike, right? Right. Except, then what? Our bikes are only ever used on the property, so they’re not registered for use on main roads. It would be illegal, not to mention highly dangerous given the amount of fuel (and my luggage) we’d need to strap on for the trip, and too slow going anyway, to take the motorbike all the way to Town. And asking a friend for a casual old lift to the airport is just a fraction more than your average favour when the airport is 330km away.

Plan C? ST braved the freezing rain on his motorbike to check the state of all our roads, to see if there was any possible way of me making it out to the highway in the car. Now that is love; having one billion other things to do and dropping everything, to ride 70km through mud and slush, in awful weather, all to make his new wife hap… Hang on a minute – it has just come to me that all this time I thought he was doing something super-sweet, when really maybe that’s just how much he really, really wanted to get rid of me for a few days!? Hmmmm…

Anyway, ST returned two hours later bearing bad news. The road turned to soup closer to the highway and it was more than likely any attempt to escape by car would end with me stuck not only a long way from the airport, but also a long way from the house.

Plan D? Call all the neighbours for a road report on all possible access points through their properties – perhaps I could make it the back way? But as I rang around the neighbours, the time was a-ticking. With at least three and a half hours of travel between Burragan and Broken Hill I was going to have to leave soon, or risk missing the flight altogether. Of course, the neighbours were just was rained in as we were…

Plan E? Helicopter? Ours was still at the mechanic, being serviced. Damn! (Hahaha, I wish!)

Plan F? As it slipped passed midday and I lost my window of opportunity to reach the departure gate in time for take-off, I was left with no other option but to call the Art4Ag crew in Sydney and apologise in advance for missing my flight. I disappointedly began dialling.

Plan G? Plan H? Plan I, Plan J, PlanKPlanLPlanPlanPlanlanananannnnnnnnnaaaarrrggghhh!!! Plan Z?

There was ONE other option ST and I could come up with. Every night a bus stops at the local roadhouse on the highway about 50km away, journeying from Sydney to Broken Hill. If my flight could be changed to the following day, there was a possibility I could somehow catch that bus and make it to Broken Hill, stop over at a friend’s place for the night and be at the airport early the next morning.

It was going to be risky, first relying on the possibility of changing the flight at such late notice, then relying on the availability of seats on the bus, then being able to make it all the way to the highway on the quad bike – with my luggage – without being covered in mud by the end of it, and then the dilemma of making it a further 15km on the highway to the roadhouse, given the aforementioned dangers and illegalities of riding on the road. It would be a battle of determination and strength, a test of will and cross-country quad riding skills, a trial of friendship and mud-proof luggage wrapping abilities, a journey of epic proportions, a story of courage and undying lo… Oh, have I gone too far?

Following the all clear for the flight to be changed with the proof of road closures from the Road Traffic Authority (easy done!), I rang the bus company to see if they could make an exception for me and stop at our turn off on the highway. They said no. I didn’t argue the point. Instead, I calmly hung up and I may, or may not, (but most likely may) have cried at this point. It was beginning to look like the universe was trying to tell me something, and that I was not supposed to make it to Sydney.

But I had one final card up my sleeve, or more accurately, business card stuck to my fridge door. I phoned the owner of the local roadhouse and begged for a favour. If she wasn’t too busy, if it was not too much trouble, only if she had the time, would she please, pretty, pretty please be able to meet me at our turn off at sundown and take me back to the roadhouse in time to catch the bus? I’m fairly certain I heard angels singing in the background as she said yes.

And so ST and I prepared for battle, fuelling up the quad, donning 70 million layers of winter clothes, and wrapping my luggage in plastic bags, before setting off through the paddocks, highway headed.

True to her word, the lovely roadhouse owner ferried me to the warmth of the roadhouse, where she fed me delicious cappuccinos and hot chips as I waited for the bus for two hours.

And then I sat on the bus for three and a half hours while my feet numbed from the cold, arriving in Broken Hill around midnight.And then I sat in the airport for three hours the next morning while my flight was delayed and eventually diverted via a longer route.

Oh Sydney, you tried to avoid me, but ain’t nobody gonn’ stop me! You can attempt to delay me for approximately 24 hours, but you will never evade me completely! I showed you! So I eventually made it to Sydney, and loved my first training weekend alongside a fantastic group of fellow Young Farming Champions. I am really looking forward to my time with them and in schools across the country.

This is an opportunity I am embracing with both hands, not only to excite urban audiences about Australian agriculture, but also to break down the barriers between those who grow our nation’s food and fibre and those who eat and wear it…
To traverse that gulf, between you and I…

And to fade that feeling of isolation, for the 11percent. It can take us a little longer to make it to where the action’s at, but that doesn’t mean we’re not trying hard to get there.
I anticipate many obstacles along the way: rain, muddy roads, missed flights, inflexible bus company policies… But in the immortal words of Unique II (because I think we can all agree the original Matthew Wilder version is just a little too weird), “Ain’t nothing gonna break my stride.” And I warn you, I will take the motorbike cross-country through the mud, if it comes to that.

Are we clear?

Editor’s Note: Yes, I am aware the next line of the song is, “Nobody’s gonna slow me down,” and that that contradicts my previous statements about delays/interruptions/lags/minor hold ups etc… But for the sake of me really needing to end this blog, can we allow some poetic licence and let it slide?

The question engage or educate and why it matters?

If we want our children to know where their food comes from; if we want them to be motivated to care about the lives and livelihoods of farmers; if we want them to take seriously the environmental impacts of their food choices; and if we want them to know more about how their health is affected by the way food is made, perhaps we need to rethink the place of food production

This knowledge has been lost since we all became so reliant on the industrial agriculture system; we should talk to the experts – the farmers – so we can get it back. We don’t just need more urban agricultural initiatives, including food-producing back, front and median-strip gardens, school kitchen gardens, community gardens and city farms. We also need a transfer of knowledge from rural farmers. We need Australia’s farmers to be intimately involved in the development of innovative and efficient urban agricultural practices to assure our future food security.

The Conversation https://theconversation.edu.au/urban-food-knowledge-does-yoghurt-grow-on-trees-in-cities-5777

Art4Agriculture has taken up this challenge through the Archibull Prize. The program uptake this year has been phenomenal with 40 plus schools participating in this fun and engaging initiative that uses art and multimedia to tap into a whole new generation of young people

Art4Agricultre Archibull Prize

Original landscape image by Peter Dalder

Our ability to reach more schools particularly in NSW where the program has been running for 3 years has only been limited by funding.

Queensland has been a little more challenging, but experience tells us word of mouth amongst schools, teachers friends and parents will mean Queensland schools will be queuing up in 2014 at the same rate NSW schools are.

The Archibull Prize is not about ‘educating’ people per se about agriculture. We believe it is the only program in the world allowing young people in the agrifood sector to go into schools and engage with the next generation of consumers and decisions makers to build an understanding of each other’s challenges and constraints

I have created this program for two reasons

1. We ALL have to eat so farmers are important and as farmer I know it’s challenging to produce food and fibre in the current climate

2. Young people are our future and its important we invest in them

Personally I am not particularly worried that 27% of kids think yogurt grows on trees or that cotton grows on sheep.

  • What is important to me is that young people think farmers are committed, professional and caring
  • That the next generation of consumers, decision and policy makers think responsible agriculture is a legitimate user of Australia’s land and water
  • That young people don’t hear agricultural intensification and automatically think “factory farming”
  • That young people have the knowledge to make informed decisions about genetic modification
  • That young people think that farmers like everybody else are entitled to use technology
  • That young people want to work not only on my farm but see the agrifood sector as the place they want to be

And it’s working. We know this because the programs outcomes are measurable. Visibly through the artwork the students generate and the blogs, videos and PowerPoints they create. Quantitatively though program entry and exit surveys

What is exciting is our students are very receptive to putting their thinking hats on not only through the progression of their big ideas for their artwork design and also when we pose blog questions like:

  1. Why is food production so important for us nationally and globally?
  2. Choose one of the challenges faced by farmers and discuss the possible solutions.
  3. Why are regional towns and centres so important to the farming community? How will they be affected if changes to farming practices occur?
  4. Why is it so important for Australia to produce food for people outside of the country? What do you think would happen if we only worried about ourselves?
  5. Why do you think so much food wastage occurs? What actions will you take to help this problem?
  6. What does sustainability mean and how can you contribute to the cause? What different choices may you take as a consumer?
  7. What is natural resource management? Why do you think it is so important to get right? Think about some of the consequences if we don’t manage these resources properly.

For all those people who are concerned about students’ lack of paddock to plate knowledge our beef, wool, cotton and dairy industry resources our industry bodies send them do an amazing job of sharing this story

Just to prove we have got our strategy right the Victorian Depart of Environment and Primary Industries released the results the Victorian Attitudes to Farming survey in 2012

In summary they found

It is clear that among the Victorian public there is widespread support for farmers and sympathy towards them for the difficulties they face, but also a level of unease about some aspects of the industrialisation and corporate control of agriculture, especially among particular segments of the population.

There is substantial public concern about:

  1. Animal welfare
  2. Environmental sustainability
  3. Farmers’ ability to make a living from farming.
  4. Food safety (along with healthy, nutritious and good-tasting food) was viewed by the public as being more important than all other factors.

The research literature shows that concerns about environmental and animal welfare, and about certain other ‘credence attributes’ of foods, have grown among consumers in industrialised countries. In part, this trend stems from the success of industrial agriculture—and of modern distribution systems—in fulfilling western consumers’ basic food needs, by making affordable food abundantly available to most consumers in industrialised nations (though not to the consumers of all countries). Yet the dramatic increases in agricultural productivity achieved during the 20th century have not come without some costs to environmental sustainability, to animal welfare, and to other ‘ethical’ dimensions of food production (even though the severity of these consequences is contested). It appears that, as consumers become more food-secure, wealthier and better educated, many become concerned with addressing these negative consequences.

Our survey indicated that 31% of survey respondents had taken some action—such as protesting or, more often, altering their shopping habits—that could be interpreted as being critical of conventional agriculture (‘critical activism’).

The survey also indicated that 32% of Victorians valued environmental sustainability or animal welfare (or both) highly, and had a relatively low level of trust that farmers would address these issues without coercion.

Most of the individuals surveyed made expressions of unease about some aspects of contemporary agriculture, and such latent concern creates the potential for agriculture to experience periodic controversies or even crises of ‘social authorisation’, as has occurred previously with GM foods, mulesing and (in Europe) Bovine Spongiform Encephalopathy and in Australia Live Export

The paper then asks and answers the questions

  1. How should government interpret and respond to those segments of the population that are critical of current farming practices?
  2. Are these individuals’ uninformed and forcing unnecessary and costly restraints on farming practices, or are they well-informed drivers of much-needed progress?

Where do Art4agriculture and the Archibull Prize come in? It would appear that these researchers strong agree with our philosophy

A number of agricultural stakeholders have aspired over the years to resolve controversies over farming issues by educating and engaging the public. The research in this project indicates that while this can make a contribution to resolving such controversies, it will not be sufficient.

The rationale for solving farm controversies by educating the public is premised on the assumption that farm controversies are waged between an ignorant public which needs to be educated and knowledgeable experts who can do the educating. The findings presented in this report show that individuals’ professed levels of knowledge about farming issues are relatively independent of their viewpoint about the issues.

The published literature indicates that differences in individuals’ views on ‘technical’ issues such as environmental sustainability and animal welfare derive not only from their level of attentiveness to scientific or expert knowledge, but also from partially subjective and social judgements about which sources of expert knowledge to trust, in the face of contested expertise

It also shows that cultural perspectives influence experts as well as the lay public, and that such perspectives can become institutionalised.

This suggests that divisions in public opinion cannot be reconciled without some engagement and conciliation between different experts and stakeholder groups. As well as educating the public, agricultural groups in government and industry will also need to listen and respond to concerns raised by the public and by other stakeholders groups (including lobby groups and other branches of government).

Testimonials from the students and our Young Farming Champions for the Archibull Prize

THE IMPACT ON OUR YOUNG FARMING CHAMPIONS

“At the [school] environmental club, the students were really interested in the environmental impacts and challenges the beef industry faced and their questions reflected this rather well. I found myself answering a lot of questions about the need for feedlots, waste management from processors and feedlots and how we can manage beef systems to ensure they are sustainable. The students were very switched on.”

Steph Fowler, Beef Young Farming Champion, 2012

The students had quite a few questions regarding different areas of cotton production – some science questions, some general farming, and others from the teachers that just wanted to know more. I loved the questions I was asked and they weren’t afraid to fire them at me!”

Tamsin Quirk, Cotton Young Farming Champion, 2012

“The school visits were great! I really enjoyed talking to the students and the teachers. Everyone was so excited about their Archibulls and I loved having the chance to look at what they were doing and listen to things they had discovered about agriculture. I also enjoyed being able to talk about my university course and I hope I was able to encourage some of them to think about a career in agriculture.”

Sammi Townsend, Wool Young Farming Champion, 2012

THE IMPACT OF THE ARCHIBULL PRIZE ON STUDENTS

“I had this idea in my head that genetic modification is this horrible idea and agriculture should just go back to the way it was in the ‘50s and after talking about it with our Young Farming Champion and learning about it I cannot love it more, I think science and technology have a definite future in the industry.”

Laura Bunting Student feedback, 2012

You can see Laura talking her school’s experience here

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We rest our case

Giving next gen a voice at the Sydney Royal Easter Show

One of the major objectives of the Archibull Prize is to give students a voice through their artwork to not only promote the program and its key messages to hundreds of thousands of people, but to showcase the students’ opinions, learnings and values to the community.

Art4Agricultures partnership with the RAS of NSW (through the Sydney Royal Easter Show) and the RNA of Queensland ( through the Ekka ) gives us a wonderful opportunity to do this

This is how the clever team in the Food Farm have achieved this in 2013 at the Sydney Royal Easter Show

Archibull Prize in the Food Farm

James Ruse Agricultural High School and Model Farms High School

De La Salle

De La Salle College

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Shoalhaven High School

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Hills Adventist College and Macarthur Anglican School

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Cranebrook High School

Wyong

Wyong High School and Muirfield High School

Tuggerah Lakes

Tuggerah Lakes Secondary School, Berkeley Vale Campus 

Caroline Chisholm College and Winmalee High School

Caroline Chisholm College and Winmalee High School

Archibull Prize draws new patronage from the arts community

Our special guest of honour at the Archibull Prize Awards and Exhibition Day was Sara Leonardi- McGrath.

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Sara McGrath and Young Farming Champion Richie Quigley announcing  the Archibull Prize 2012 Winner

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and the winner is …. James Ruse Agricultural High School

Sarah had some exciting news for the schools in the audience and we are ecstatic to announce that eight of our 2012 Archibulls will go on exhibition at MCLEMOI GALLERY, Sara Leonardi-McGrath’s contemporary art gallery, in Sydney next month.

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Sara with some of the team from Tuggerah Lakes Secondary School, Berkeley Vale Campus whose cow will be on display her gallery from Jan 15 to 25th 2013

I was first contacted by Sara on twitter just after the launch of the Australian Year of the Farmer. We had coffee and it was clear she was a great admirer of women in the farming sector and was keen to promote Australian farmers in a hands on way.

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Sara is keen to promote Australian farmers using her unique talents and Art4Agriculture couldn’t be happier

It is also highly evident that Sara was passionate about the development and education of next gen and enabling young people to reach their full potential. Excitingly for me and the team, Sara felt Art4Agriculture offered her a unique opportunity to deliver her vision for the promotion of our farmers and development of youth using her area of speciality the arts sector.

At that time Sara was spending every spare moment searching inner city real estate for the prefect place to open her art gallery and in June this year she opened MCLEMOI GALLERY at 45 Chippen Street, Chippendale.

about

MCLEMOI GALLERY – a unique space to exhibit the “Archibulls” 

The gallery is known for representing Australian and international, established and emerging contemporary artists; and it certainly is a unique space to exhibit the “Archibulls.”

Sara has been in contact all year and is a huge supporter of the program and is always interested in our progress and the students’ artworks. We are thrilled she has invited the Archibulls to MCLEMOI.  Sara is a great believer that educating our children is the most important role we have as a society. “While MCLEMOI’s main focus is on exhibiting Australian and international contemporary art, we are also committed to creating a sense of community and learning. We choose to support initiatives that focus on education, specifically in the arts. Providing an opportunity for these students to have their works exhibited in a commercial gallery, introduces them to professional artistic practices and hopefully instils in them a stronger interest and knowledge with art and culture” Sara said  

Sara considers the fact that their artworks explore agricultural concepts builds an even more compelling reason to showcase their works. “Children need to be better informed when choosing what to eat as well as understanding where our food comes from.  This is a vital  first step in making informed choices. If we at MCLEMOI are able to encourage even one child to look further into the arts, if even by exploring other artists we work with; then we believe we have achieved our goal of fostering a generation of people who will also have a love and appreciation for the arts. This may only be achieved through exposure and creating an opportunity to be involved in the arts through galleries, whether it be commercially or not” Sara said  

Hopefully the students will have an opportunity to explore the Museum of Contemporary Art and the White Rabbit, which are only stone throws away from MCLEMOI, while they are in Sydney .

We thank Sara for agreeing to host the Archibulls and invite you to visit them in Sydney.

The Archibulls will be on display at MCLEMOI GALLERY from 15 – 25 January 2013.

The gallery is open from Tuesday – Saturday, between 11am – 6pm at 45 Chippen Street, Chippendale.

Exhibiting schools are:

· Model Farms High School

· Macarthur Anglican School

· James Ruse Agricultural High School

· Cranebrook High School

· Tuggerah Lakes Secondary College, Berkeley Vale Campus

· Winmalee High School

· Hills Adventist College

· De La Salle College Caringbah

Agriculture could learn a lesson or two from the Wyong High School community

Today Art4Agricuture event director Kirsty John and I met with Sophie Davidson and Angela Bradburn in boardroom at Cotton Australia.
On the way in I was very excited to see this awesome display with the centrepiece being Wyong High School’s entry in the 2012 Archibull Prize

Cotton Australia  (3)

 

Sophie is Cotton Australia’s education officer and she is pretty special. She is particularly excited to have the Wyong Archi on display because not only does it give her an opportunity to talk about Cotton OZ’s involvement in the Archibull Prize to everyone who walks in the door, this cow reminds her of the wonderful outcomes you can get when you belong to a school community that has a collaborative and cohesive vision. Sophie was a school teacher in an earlier life and she is extremely proud of the way Wyong High School not only involved the whole school in their entry they bought the community on board as well.

Sophie has read every single cotton school’s blog entries (that’s a lot of blog entries), watched their videos and PowerPoint’s and Prezi’s, talk to all the teachers at the Awards Day, written a full report on the program for Cotton Australia and their farmer stakeholders and shared the students efforts with everybody in cotton world via every multimedia means possible. Wow all this in two weeks

I have visited every school and talked to the students and the teachers and looked at most of the videos and PowerPoints but as yet hadn’t had a chance to read all the blog posts. So my conversation with Sophie today inspired me to come home and read the Wyong story which you can find in the full here.

This school didn’t just write blogs posts, four of their IT student gurus created a website for the program. The below posts I have extracted from the blog are just a sample of how the school pulled off cross curricula and cross year partnerships to deliver  their amazing outcomes. This is very rewarding for me as this is exactly the way we hope all schools will see the program. We have designed the program this way as extensive research has shown that schools who partner with the community and teachers who work with each other deliver the best outcomes for their students. As you can see Wyong High School is certainly delivering in spades.

Extract from http://www.wyongarchi.netii.net/blog.html       

ARCHIBULL COMPETITION OVERVIEW

By Rachael Year 11

A massive amount of work has been put into the Archibull competition by a wide range of Wyong High students. Ranging from years 7 to 12, the students have put a lot of energy into making this competition fun and worthwhile. The activities include creating a blog with a wide variety of posts, making a video and painting a life size fibreglass bull.

The blog posts involved a wide range of students from years 7 to 12. Before even writing the posts, information had to be collected. A group of year 8 students interviewed Malcolm McDonald from Accuprint, while the year 8 Mathematics class, led by Mr Mathew, crunched some numbers to find out how much agricultural produce is required to sustain the Wyong community for a day. Ms Hastings with her year 10 Geography class researched and wrote the sustainability post.

After all the information and research was turned into posts, the awesome-foursome (IT boys from year 10) came to the aid of the year 8 students and designed the blog. After some year 11 students edited the posts, the awesome-foursome loaded the all of the posts.

As well as the blog posts a video was required for the competition. Year 9 students created the Archibull video and some year 11 boys provided the background music.

While all those computer geniuses were working their magic a different type of magic was being worked on the actual Archibull. The art students, directed by Mrs O’Kane, designed and painted the bull since the start. One of the ideas for the bull was to create a clothesline and hang cotton clothing from it. This idea was turned into reality when Mr Stanford’s year 8 Metals class built the Hills Hoist and Ms and Mrs Smith’s textiles class created the clothes. To finish it off the Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander students painted the final dots on Archibull.

While all the creative juices were flowing Ms Connally was cracking the whip to make sure all the deadlines were met.

This is just a small overview of all the hard work the students of Wyong High have put into the Archibull competition.

A few more insights here

SUSTAINABLE FOOD CONSUMPTION: HOW CAN WE BE PART OF THE SOLUTION?

Sustainable production and consumption is the use of goods and services that respond to basic needs and bring a better quality of life, while minimizing the use of natural resources, toxic materials and emissions of waste and pollutants over the life cycle, so as not to jeopardize the needs of future generations.

Sustainable production and consumption involves business, government, communities and households contributing to environmental quality through the efficient production and use of natural resources, the minimization of wastes, and the optimization of products and services.

Year 10 Geography 1 has researched the topic and produced the following mind map.

Wyong High School Mind Map

Information from IISD.

FEED AND CLOTHE WYONG FOR A DAY

What does it take to sustainably feed and clothe my community for a day?

During the last week of term 3 and the first week of term 4, a year 8 Mathematics class at Wyong High School worked on getting information about sustainable food and clothing for Wyong. 8 M2 gathered the population of both Sydney (4.6 million) and Wyong (150,000) and the amount of farming products each community consumes. So what does it actually take to feed and clothe Wyong? It takes roughly:

  • 354 pigs (9904kg)
  • 282,523 pieces of fruit and vegetables (68,178kg)
  • 46,429 hens (42,247 kg)
  • 294 beasts (18,822 kg of Meat and Livestock)
  • 12,722 dairy cows (59,260 kg) to provide milk
  • 1029 loaves of bread (22,603 kg of grain)
  • 28,767,123 bees that produce 411kg of honey
  • 267,123,288 grains of rice (5,346 kg)
  • 17 kg of Aquaculture per person, per year.

Cotton, which is the focus of our Archibull project here at Wyong High School, takes 978 hectares of land to produce 60 bales of cotton (13,724 kg) which clothes the Wyong area for a day. This equates to approximately 200 times the size of Wyong High School or about 1,438 football fields. Our research shows that it takes up to 30 times more farming produce to feed and clothe the population of Sydney. This reminds us that farmers are an invaluable part of the Australian lifestyle. Unfortunately, many people take our farmers for granted. Without them, we would not have food, clothes, dairy products, livestock, or our precious cotton.

For Sydney (population 4.6 million).

Feeding Sydney

Feed Wyong

ZARA

ZARA

Information gathered from: abs.gov.au

YES INDEED AGRICULTURE COULD LEARN A GREAT DEAL FROM WYONG HIGH SCHOOL AS COLLABORATION AND COHESION ARE NOT ONE OF OUR STRONG POINTS

On another important note special thanks from the Art4Ag team and Cotton Australia to Hollie Baillieu for revisiting her 2011 Young Farming Champion’s role to work with Wyong High School