THIS Tuesday, November 21, Australia will be celebrating the inaugural National Agriculture Day.
And, for many consumers, they may be asking themselves, ‘how does this relate to me?’
In the fast paced world that we live in, with many options available to make our lives more convenient, it has been easy to form a disconnection to where our food and fibre comes from.
Who grows it, who processes it, who value adds to it. Not forgetting, all of the other stages in the supply chain from working in the lab to the retail store that sells that piece of cotton or wool clothing; piece of paper or wood to build a house.
But, even if you’re not involved in any of these areas of the agricultural supply chain, you are still involved as an end consumer and, that’s even more so of a reason to celebrate National Agriculture Day.
As consumers, we are increasingly demanding access to Australia’s clean, green, nutritious and safe food.
And why not? We as a country have the means and ability to provide it. A national day to celebrate primary industries is a fantastic way to open the dialogue about how and where our food is produced; what effort and skill is involved in being able to provide food security in Australia and; what commodities and end products consumers are actually interested in and wanting to purchase.
The lack of conversation that has occurred in Australia can be attributed to the decline of people farming.
For 30 years prior to 2011, the Australian Bureau of Statistics reported that approximately 300 farmers left the land per month. This equates to about 108,000 farmers no longer talking to their cousins or their mates about how they’re producing the commodities that end up on our plate or our back.
Yet, although there has been a decline of people working the land, there has been a seemingly invisible, yet exciting rapid uptake of those involved in supporting industries.
People working in the lab, on robotics or in technology, for example.
John Harvey, Managing Director of Agrifutures remarked in September: “For the past 10 years, there have consistently been many more jobs available in agriculture than there are qualified candidates.”
The need for these skilled folk will only increase as we try to meet the global demands for food security, but along with their job specifications, an equally important one for them, will be to talk to their cousins and mates about what they do and, how they contribute to the agricultural supply chain.
Initiating conversations is one of the main aims of George the Farmer and Ruby Farmer.
Through our picture books, music, free videos, performance, apps and social media we use George as a fun voice to communicate simple messages about food and fibre to kids – but also parents.
Our free curriculum-aligned educator’s guides have also been downloaded thousands of times across the nation, making it easy for teacher’s to educate children about agriculture, while covering students’ learning outcomes of science, english and maths, for example.
Next year, we look forward to releasing three new free guides for Kindergarten to year four which will focus on educating young children about the innovative careers that are currently available in agriculture.
George and Ruby are trying to make ag cool – to help spark those conversations and, to inspire kids to dream about being involved in agriculture in their future.
George the Farmer is the proud National Ag Day Ambassador and on Tuesday, we’ll be celebrating through the release of our new, free and fun paddock to plate video on wheat production.
I encourage you to get out there and celebrate this special day. Whether it’s having a barbecue with your mates, or just having a chat about what you’re eating for lunch.
The 2017 inaugural National Agriculture Day is just the beginning of new conversations being initiated around food and fibre and, just the beginning of a new awareness campaign that every single one of us is involved in the agricultural supply chain.
- Simone Kain is the SA Rural Women’s Award winner, national runner-up in the Rural Women’s Award and one of the creators of George the Farmer.