Courage and Connectivity – Artwork for Auction

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Students from the Youth Off the Streets program are paying it forward by raising money for drought affected farmers by auctioning a mural they have created as part of The Archibull Prize. The students are from The Lakes College, an alternative high school on the central coast of NSW, and in conjunction with Losty and Mercy College, have chosen to support the rural initiatives of Aussie Farmers Foundation.

“The kids have been really impacted by their learning across all the topics to do with the Archie – healthy communities, climate change, food security etc. – and they’ve started seeing the connections between each of those different areas,” The Lakes College teacher Amy Gill said. “They felt a profound sense of empathy with some of the struggles farmers experience but they also saw the farmers as being really courageous and they wanted to help by acknowledging that courage.”

By working with an artist who uses spray art, or graffiti walls, to help and assist the community rather than harm, the students created a 2.4m high mural depicting an Akubra-clad farmer standing on the red soils of his farm.  The mural is currently up for auction with generous support from allbids.com.au, and bids can be placed here, until 8pm on October 3. Above the farmer is a blank thought bubble, allowing the potential owner to add their own unique stamp to the design. The students have also created a video to accompany the artwork, describing how they feel about farmers and why it is important to support them. The video can be viewed here.

“The kids see a lot in the media about the drought at the moment but being a charity ourselves we realised that sometimes people want to give but they don’t ask us what we need,” Amy said. “Aussie Farmers Foundation supports the community through grants, which means that the community itself has a voice in where the money goes and what programs would best support them. Aussie Farmers supports education and mental health programs and my kids they saw that as something that aligned with our values.”

The Archibull Prize is a project based learning (PBL) competition that uses creative arts and multimedia to engage students and their communities with Australian farmers and agriculture.  This method of teaching has been a resounding success at The Lakes College. “We can do maths and we can do science but at the end of the day it doesn’t have that real-world connection or value that education should,” Amy said.  “A project like this has that real-world and human connection and is an opportunity for the kids to have a voice and an audience; and that’s why I think it has been so meaningful. They’ve never had their work hung on a wall anywhere before and they take such an absolute pride in this.”

 

 

 

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