Farming – supporting the people who feed and clothe us


Excitingly for the agriculture sector farming in the 21st Century in 1st world countries is attracting people from all walks of life with diverse careers pathways who bring new specialist skills sets and knowledge to the farm family business boardroom table.

2015 Young Australian Farmer of the Year Anika Molesworth family is a very interesting example of the knowledge and skills diversity farming is attracting.

Lindy Anika and Simon Molesworth  (3)

Lindy, Anika and Simon Molesworth 

Anika has worked as an agribusiness banker and spent most of 2015 in Laos researching her Masters in Sustainable Agriculture. As her father Professor Simon Molesworth AO QC will tell you “Anika always had a deep-seated belief that she should help those less fortunate. When she left school she went to Ghana for several months to work with underprivileged children. Ghana and Laos really demonstrate she sees that need and she also understands that if you get the perspective of different challenges in different parts of the world you actually get a more balanced approach to your own country.”

Anika’s parents work in the multiple fields of geology, environment, conservation, heritage and town planning and her brother is a senior adviser to the man who holds the purse strings in this country.  Their farm is located in the very harsh climate at Broken Hill

Anika acknowledges she is very lucky to come from a privileged background and its this background that has opened her yes to the big picture and the realisation that finding the solutions to the world’s problems is a shared responsibility and each and everyone of us can use our compassion and knowledge and skills sets to make a difference

Anika met the president of the Australian Conservation Foundation (ACF)  Geoff Cousins  when she joined him on the panel at the Climate for Change debate at UNSW in November last year. So impressed  was the ACF team Anika they subsequently funded her to attend the Al Gore 2016 Climate Reality Leadership Corps last month in the Philippines

This is Anika’s story through her eyes of her  trip to the Philippines ………

A visit to the Philippines is a powerful reminder that we are dangerously pushing planetary boundaries. Densely populated, widely impoverished and geographically exposed, the Philippines is one of the world’s most vulnerable countries to climate disasters.

Filipinos take no day for granted. Etched into their consciousness is the frailty of life. The country is subject to extreme weather events, risking sea levels, changing temperature and precipitation trends. The magnitude of the changes are already having real consequences on lives, livelihoods, food security and water supplies.

Philipinnes the harsh realities

Filipinos walk a tightrope between paradise and hell on Earth.

Anika Molesworth in the Phlipinnes  (4)

It would take a lifetime to explore all of the 7,100 islands that make up the Philippine Archipelago, and even longer to understand the culture and life that exists here. A week in the Philippines gives one only a mere snapshot of the country – a glimpse I welcomed when the opportunity arose last month.

The 2016 Climate Reality Leadership Corps brought together people from all over the world with the vision and energy to tackle the greatest threat to our planet – climate change. Seven hundred proactive visionaries collaborating to wield the collective energy it takes to make systemic and transformative change. A group united by solidarity, hope and action.

Anika Molesworth in the Phlipinnes  (3)

I was invited to attend by the Australian Conservation Foundation – Australia’s premier organisation concerned with ecological sustainability – which also recognises the importance of farmers being part of the solution to deliver conservation success. Over the course of three days, participants heard from world-class scientists, communicators, organisers, strategists, innovators, and of course, the Climate Reality Chairman and Former US Vice President, Al Gore. The workshop taught the attendees how to share their story, to understand the science, and how to inspire hope for an alternative way of doing things.

This Leadership Corps was truly remarkable due to being the first post Paris COP21 and held in a country considered a moral leader on the climate change issue.

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The enigma and contradiction of the Philippines leaves one floundering to make sense of it all. From the chic and sophisticated Filipinos in Metro Manila drinking cocktails, to the scavengers of Smokey Mountain, Manila’s largest landfill, who are the city’s unsung hero recyclers. I listened in awe to the world’s best scientists at the International Rice Research Centre headquarters – who are tackling challenges that affect food production, such as drought, salinity and submergence. I attended Sunday mass with a thousand Filipinos singing praise to their god.

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I fell in love with the beauty of the forests, the sparkle of the ocean, the welcoming smile and hospitality of the Filipinos. And my heart was broken by the extremity of the poverty, the once pristine ecosystems disappearing forever, the city choking with traffic and pollution in part caused by desperate provincial people migrating to urban centres in hope of a better life.

My eyes were opened in a land of polar extremes. I departed feeling overwhelmed. The challenges this country faces are on a scale beyond comprehension. But with so many brave Filipinos speaking out, taking action, linking arms in defiance – and all the while with warm smiles on their faces – how can these obstacles not be overcome? I was inspired by the number of people dedicating their lives to bettering this country and its people.

The Climate Reality workshop reinforced to me that great people are doing incredible things right across the globe:

Arun George’s startup Avant Garde Innovations aims to introduce innovative, affordable and sustainable solutions – first to India, then the rest of the world – that take renewable energy self-sufficiency and energy empowerment to the next level through a distributed and decentralized approach.

POwering a Billion Unpowered


Rina Teoxon Papio throws special mudballs into dirty rivers and waterways in the Philippines. Her organisation Earthventure Inc uses effective microorganism biotechnology to bring these precious water resources back to life.

Super Mudball

Carrie Cort is passionate about children’s education, and through Sussex Green Living aims to inspire parents, carers, teachers and children to live a greener and more sustainable existence.Sussex Green Living

Sarabeth Brockley may live in New York, but her actions are felt much further afield. A Policy Analyst at the United Nations DESA-Division of Sustainable Development, Sarabeth spends her spare time sending care packages that promote social consciousness.

These are just a few of the people I met who are changing the world everyday for the better.

The Climate Reality Leaders came together connected by a shared apprehension about the state of our planet. They left armed with new knowledge and skills, connected to a network of doers, and motivated to drive the transition to a better future…….


Author: Lynne Strong

I am a 6th generation farmer who loves surrounding myself with optimistic, courageous people who believe in inclusion, diversity and equality and embrace the power of collaboration. I am the founder of Picture You in Agriculture. Our team design and deliver programs that inspire pride in Australian agriculture and support young people to thrive in business and life

One thought on “Farming – supporting the people who feed and clothe us”

  1. Interesting story. It seems to me (and this is probably just a ‘gut’ reaction not an informed one) that the most pressing issue for global ecological sustainability is population. I am not as easily convinced that population will stabilise at 8 or 9 billion, but even then, if we keep moving forward on creating a standard of living for all 9 billion comparable to my own, what then for the planet? And how long before that reaches a breaking point?

    There are lots of things one could discuss about this, but on the topic of climate change, consider the tension between reducing carbon emissions, managing environmental impact, and the demands for food by 9 billion human beings. I wonder what Anika’s views might be on this?

    Regardless of food source, if 9 billion human beings insist on eating beyond their sustenance footprint, how can we do that without enormous impacts? It comes back to one of my favourite hobby-horses – how much longer can our society continue to embrace food as a major part of our entertainments?

    I also am highly suspicious of any claims that we can move away from fossil fuels as long as we continue to grow our footprint. I have also noted before the MLA’s wish to grow demand. Consider the active courting of the Asian market for our livestock and the likelihood that the stinking evil that is Live Export will become a lifeline to struggling farmers – there is no sense there that we are looking at ways to rein in our burgeoning impact on environment and the welfare of other lives.

    You might find my post about renewables vaguely interesting in the context of alternative energy sources.

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