As a follow up to my post yesterday on Brand Australia and how Australian farmers must find innovative ways to tell our story. I have some exciting news for you today, Meat and Livestock Australia are doing just that
As you know the Art4Agriculture team pour their heart and soul everyday into promoting our farmers and are successfully rolling out in school programs using art and multimedia to tell agricultures story to the 3.5 million school children in Australian schools ( well with more money we could reach that many)
Today Meat and Livestock Australia (one of Art4Agriculture’s partners) have taken their sheep and cattle farmers stories to the Sydney CBD via their Target 100 initiative to turn Martin Place in Sydney into a virtual farm and how impressive it is
This has been done before overseas but I believe it is a first for Australia. In May 2010 the Young Farmers Union of France transformed the famous avenue in Paris the Champs Elysées, or Elysian Fields into a massive celebration of French farmers .
By bringing in 8,000 plots of earth and 150,000 plants to the city and installing them, amid sheep and cattle, along three-quarters of a mile of the thoroughfare, farmers were attempting to highlight an aspect of French life which they believe is too often overlooked by Paris.
Organisers of the event, which cost private investors €4.2m to stage and ran for 2 days said they hoped to attract up to two million people to the newly bucolic avenue running from the Arc de Triomphe to the Place de la Concorde.
From wheat and mustard to grapevines and Limousin pigs, the avenue’s pavements have been carpeted with lorry-loads of produce from all over France, among it 650 fully grown trees and a vast array of flora intended to symbolise the country’s biodiversity.
Gad Weil, an outdoor events planner coordinating the Nature Capital event with the young farmers’ union, said the spectacle had brought people together in order to showcase Gallic agriculture.
“Lorry drivers, truck drivers, farmers, woodsmen, events planners: these men don’t usually work together, but here everyone is doing so with a smile,” he said during the night-long operation that transformed the Champs Elysées into a long strip of greenery. Visitors were able to buy plants and produce for themselves, as well as tasting regional specialities and took part in a mass barbecue organised by Paris butchers. ( borrowed from http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2010/may/23/french-farmers-champs-elysees)
Australian cattle and sheep farmers last night transformed Sydney’s Martin Place into a cattle and sheep farm complete with live animals, native bushland and farmers beamed in via a giant screen to talk directly to the people of Sydney.
Farmer Stuart Austin in Martin Place
For today and tomorrow only, members of the public will have the unique opportunity to speak directly to cattle and sheep farmers without leaving the city. The giant screen will project them into Aussie farms using virtual technology and by doing so will help bridge the gap between urban and country Australia. Sydneysiders can also enjoy a free lunchtime barbeque and have the chance to win meat trays worth $50.
As shown in a recent research survey*, more than half (58%) of urban dwellers are interested to know about the process undertaken to produce the beef and lamb they consume. The Target 100 Virtual Farm presents an opportunity for open discussion with Australian farmers leading the charge in sustainable farming practices.
“This is a great opportunity for Sydneysiders to meet and talk to real Aussie farmers and gain a better understanding of how beef and lamb get from the paddock to the plate,” said Queensland beef cattle farmer, and Target 100 spokesperson, Kara Knudsen.
Farmers Kara Knudsen and Stuart Austin in Martin Place
“I anticipate people will be surprised to find out what actually goes into managing a farm. It’s not just about mustering cattle or shearing sheep; it’s a full-time job that requires knowledge of botany, hydrology, geology, entomology, zoology and meteorology. We’re excited to give our city friends a sneak peek into what we do,” Knudsen added.
Popular journalist, blogger, qualified health coach and Target 100 ambassador, Sarah Wilson will also be on hand at the Target 100 Virtual Farm, sharing tips on why beef and lamb are an important part of a healthy and sustainable diet.
“I’m keen to encourage people to gain a better understanding of where their beef and lamb comes from. My eating philosophy is one that encourages a diet that’s high in protein, so beef and lamb are often on the menu. The Target 100 Virtual Farm will give us the chance to ask the farmers all we want to know about the practices that go into farming the beef and lamb we love to eat”, said Sarah.
Art4Agriculture event director Kirsty John will be joining the buzz and connecting up with the Target 100 team in Martin Place tomorrow and I am looking forward to hearing all about it