Walk a Mile in my Shoes – Farming and the Power of Authentic Stories

When I came back to the farm after a 25-year career as a community retail pharmacist I was invited by my local council to sit on their Economic Development Committee. I jumped at the chance to give agriculture an added voice in local government and to see how local government worked.

A bonus came when I found myself invited to government and community events where an agricultural perspective was valued

One of these events was a conference held by our five regional partner councils on Sustainable Food. The guest speaker on Sustainable Agriculture was Rosemary Stanton. I must admit I was flabbergasted. What does a TV “celebrity dietitian”  know about Sustainable Agriculture?

Well as it turned out Rosemary was very entertaining and had some very strong opinions. But had she walked a mile in my farming family’s shoes? Had she been at the coal face through the droughts and flooding rains? Did she feed, clothe and put a roof over her family’s heads from the returns of farming?  And of course, the answer to all of those questions was no.

This inspired me to start an organisation that would provide the agriculture sector with the skills, knowledge and networks to share authentic farming stories told by people at the coal face from the heart.

Today that organisation is called Picture You in Agriculture. With the support of our collaborating partners 80 young people (Young Farming Champions/YFC) in the agriculture sector from a diverse array of careers have attended intensive and extensive communication skills workshops over the last seven years. These young people are going into schools as part of The Archibull Prize

Our YFC know that 90 per cent of human behaviour and decision making is driven by our emotions. They go into schools not to educate but to share their stories, their memories, the triumphs and the challenges and the excitement they feel to have careers in agriculture

Are they kicking goals?

The graphs below show the percentage increase of teachers who STRONGLY AGREED with the question posed before and after participating in The Archibull Prize and a visit from a Young Farming Champion 

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Malabar Public School Teacher Louise Dique shares how Young Farming Champions can establish an easy rapport with students by bringing their stories and families into the school, to excite and motivate the students. 

Stories are about collaboration and connection. They transcend generations, they engage us through emotions, and they connect us to others. Through stories we share passions, sadness, hardships and joys. We share meaning and purpose. Stories are the common ground that allows people to communicate, overcoming our defenses and our differences. Stories allow us to understand ourselves better and to find our commonality with others.

The Young Farming Champions and The Archibull Prize are combining the ancient art of story telling with creative arts and multimedia to reconnect producers and consumers, farmers and communities in a way that frames the life-long perspective of the people they meet. I would say they are kicking goals to the moon and back. What do you think?

#archie10 #art4ag #YFC18 #farming #farmers #agriculture



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

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