Our guest blog today comes from Chris Vella and his partner in crime April Browne who are the Science Education and Engagement Coordinators at the Western Sydney University School of Science and Health
Chris Vella (left) and April Browne (right) with the award they won in partnership with Therese McGillion (project officer, School of Science and Health) for nurturing individualised, student-led scholarship, bringing agricultural education to the daily dinner table, and collaborating with genuine joie de vivre towards a better food future.
Chris and April recently paired with MKR contestants Jason and Annie Chesworth ( Mr and Mrs Cheese) to run a dairy engagement activation at the Sydney Royal Easter Show in March
Chris shares with you the team’s motivators and drivers
Food is something that we, at Western Sydney University, believe everyone has opinions on. People think, talk, write, and post about food every day. But, how often does the average consumer have the chance to receive information about where their food comes from, directly from the source? This insight is incredibly valuable for urban-based audiences, and we, as an agricultural education institute, feel that part of our job is to help facilitate these discussions in the community about issues surrounding our food system- plus we just love talking about all things food!
The chance to help people get a bit deep with their food is one reason why we enjoy being a part of the Sydney Royal Easter Show. This year, the Western Sydney University stall was in the Downes Pavilion during the long weekend. With the dairy cattle surrounding and a space across from Dairy Australia, we could think of no better people to partner up with to create our stall than Jason and Annie Chesworth from Hunter Belle Cheese.
Focused on continuing the dairy conversation with eager visitors to the cattle sheds, Jason and Annie designed an incredible, Price is Right-style game called ‘an Udder Day an Udder Dollar’ (the Hunter Belle team get full credit for that pun) that we ran throughout the long weekend. Each session drew a huge, diverse crowd of people, giving them the chance to ask those burning questions they might have about the dairy industry.
In the following video Annie has captured Jason hosting the game. This was an opportunity to bust myths and pass along information about what goes into the dairy products that we all know and love.
“It was great to be able to interact with our consumers in a way they could connect, by taking it back to basics of what they spend weekly at the supermarket on dairy products and then aligning that with the production process. It was heart warming the amount of people that commented about how they didn’t realise this or that, so to think that we made a small difference to how these consumers view the value of the Australian Dairy industry was a very good outcome.”-Jason Chesworth
At Western Sydney University we are passionate about creating a more food literate society through our teaching and research. Our Bachelor of Sustainable Agriculture & Food Security equips graduates with the professional skills to lead a new era of agricultural conversation between producers and consumers. It is our hope that these kinds of activations (as well as the many others we offer in our school programs) can inspire the next generation to pursue a career in agriculture and lead a more sustainable food system.