Young people in agriculture lobby for action on stuff that matters to them


I am a very different person to the person I was when I began my mission ten years ago to have my fellow farmers proud and loud of what they do and the industries they produce food and food and fibre for

I credit that change in the way I think and act to the young people I have met on my journey

I sell hope, they sell hope, together we have started a movement to create a new era of communication and transparency from the agricultural sector between farmers and the community. This allows farmers to raise awareness of the challenges they face to provide Australian families with safe, affordable and healthy food now and in the future.

Our programs and activities open the door for the community to ask questions and receive answers to questions on stuff that matters to them.

We do this because deep down our farmers feel unloved loved and undervalued. Our programs and activities provide matchmaking opportunities – a dating service if you like for farmers to connect with, and partner with the people in the community who love and appreciate them and people in the community who will love and appreciate them when they meet them

We do this by

  • designing and delivering events and activities through partnerships between young people in the agriculture sector and young people in schools using art and technology and two way conversations.
  • building capacity and the confidence of young people in the agriculture sector to share their story and deploy them using innovative vehicles such as The Archibull Prize to deliver agriculture’s key messages in a way that resonates with the audiences they reach with the mantra “People don’t care what you know until they know you care”

Whilst  I am very proud of this legacy, deep down its these young people that light my fire. On their journey they have developed the confidence and courage to share their story and lobby for action on stuff that matters to them

Let me introduce to Anika Molesworth and Kirsty McCormack – two young women in agriculture with a high profile in the media blazing a trail for us all

Farmers believe in climate change, so why don’t the politicians who say they represent them? 

“Anyone sitting in Parliament saying they represent rural and regional Australia should be figuring out how the decisions they make today are going to determine whether our farms are profitable in the years to come.”

“If we want something done about this then we need to do more than whisper across the back fence. It’s time to start shouting, and if our politicians fail to listen and catch up with the times then they risk being left behind.”  Anika Molesworth


Social Media for the future 

“We’re a generation who don’t want to sit down and read facts and figures, we want to hear from individual people, and hear their stories,” Kirsty McCormack


#youthinag #stuffthatmatters #YFC #ArchiullPrize

Pete Evans demonising cow’s milk but happy to sell it and profit from it

Pete Evans is a very interesting man as highlighted in this article Pete Evans is NOT a health professional  – reprinted in part below

For a man who is anti dairy – He suggests osteoporosis can be treated by removing dairy from your diet. I was quite flabbergasted to witness cows milk lined up  5 wide and 3 deep on the counter in the coffee shop inside his restaurant in Brisbane. Yes that’s 15 two litre containers on the counter – not refrigerated and fully exposed to sunlight. When I asked why it wasn’t refrigerated I was told “we sell it so fast”

Mmmh Pete Evans on one hand you demonise cows milk. On the other you are very happy to make a motza out of it and potentially risk people’s health by not storing it properly


EXCITING new health fads pop up each week, peddled by smiling celebrities promising to make our gut smaller, boobs bigger, dick longer, or even claim to cure cancer — but they rarely deliver.

Pete Evans is a good cook with a nice tan and great teeth, but he’s not a health professional.

The recognisable Aussie celebrity sports 1.5 million Facebook followers. Every time we click on his page we give him a voice, and he rewards us by continuing to cook up outlandish health advice.

He’s well spoken, dresses up his opinions with a smile, and people tend to believe him because he repeats his claims with confidence.

He states that sunscreen contains “poisonous chemicals”, but doesn’t list any of these chemicals or provide evidence where sunscreen has poisoned the majority of Australia’s population.

He suggests osteoporosis can be treated by removing dairy from your diet “as calcium from dairy can remove the calcium from your bones”.

His dangerous ideas, scaremongering statements and preposterous claims need to be backed up by solid evidence.

“The reality is that the public love people who give really fiddly, superficially plausible-sounding, very technical, dietary advice,” says medical doctor and academic from the Centre for Evidence-Based Medicine at Oxford University Ben Goldacre.

Dr Goldacre, in Australia on a speaking tour, says someone needs to be held responsible for those who peddle nonsense.

“You’re never going to have a world in which you can stop individuals from doing absurd things or making absurd claims, but you can have higher expectations of the systems,” he said.

A deluge of scientific-sounding health advice on our televisions makes it difficult to sift out fact from fiction, but finding out the truth really comes down to you.

Learning takes time, but it’s the only way to stop being a sucker for bad science. Be inquisitive and curious about your health. Ask questions, think critically and be prepared to change your view, depending on the evidence.

Seek out a qualified professional and don’t just believe the next miracle or quick-fix cure endorsed by a confident, conspiracy theorist celebrity.



The Climatarian diet – the challenges of producing food in a carbon constrained world

I am reprinting this article from Triple J Hack as I found it fascinating on many levels. I was also very pleased that they actually consulted Australia’s leading expert on livestock emissions, Professor Rich Eckard.

Pretty sobering to think that choosing your diet is a privilege for the 1%

The other thing that always makes me smile is the fact that so few people ask the question. “Why does pork,, chicken, eggs and dairy have a lower footprint?” Its simple intensive agriculture will always have a lower carbon footprint and the more intensive the lower the footprint.  So cattle grazing on vast rangelands logically have a larger footprint but they also play a very important role in managing the vast areas of land in Australia we cant grow crops on.

Rich Eckard is a pragmatist and its important that we take a leaf out of his book and look at the whole picture. Yes we should all eat less meat and  more vegies but that is just a small part of of the climate change mitigation toolkit

‘Less Meat, Less Heat’: could your diet save the planet from climate change? by Ange McCormack

Watching ads for Australian lamb – Lee Lin Chin snarling about “vegans” while a SWAT team torches a bunch of kale; the most diverse array of Australiansuniting over “the meat that doesn’t discriminate” – you’d be forgiven for thinking that eating lamb is an essential ingredient of Aussie patriotism. That not eating lamb would be bloody un-Australian.

Mark Pershin, founder and CEO of ‘Less Meat, Less Heat’ – an app which helps users map the carbon footprint of their diet – says Australians need to be more conscious of how their food choices are impacting the environment.

But is cutting down on meat just another act of middle-class back-patting that might not make any difference to the environment…at all?

Before you chalk this discussion up as another dose of unwelcome vegan evangelicalism (insert joke about vegans telling you they’re vegan here) – fear not.

Mark Pershin says his app isn’t aiming for all Australians to become vegans or vegetarians; he doesn’t want to convince devout carnivores that tempeh sausages are better than the real thing.

But he does want more Australians to take up what he’s calling the “Climatarian” diet.

How the Climatarian diet came about

After years of campaigning as a climate change activist, Mark Pershin’s app, the Climatarian Challenge, was released last week.

But let’s get into the origin story first.

Mark first started thinking more seriously about the environment after a near-death experience while holidaying in Malaysia.

“My drink was spiked, and the next thing I remember was waking up in hospital,” Mark told Hack.

“I’d been robbed and left for dead, basically. I’d either fallen or been thrown off a height, from 4 – 6 storeys high. The doctor said from my injuries, I had about a five per cent chance of surviving.

“The rest of the year I was being operated on, recovering, rehabilitating,” Mark says. “It gave me a lot of time to think.”

All of that thinking eventually led to The Climatarian Challenge, which encourages users to understand the carbon footprint of what they eat every day.

“People sign up to the app with a carbon budget of 8000 carbon points. Which is equivalent to 80kg of carbon dioxide emissions,” Mark explains.

“Over time they put in what they eat for breakfast lunch and dinner, the different types of meat and their portion sizes, and then it subtracts their carbon footprint from that meal.

“The goal is to stay within the carbon budget over 30 days.”

Mark says the aim of the app isn’t to shock users into ditching meat altogether. It’s all about moderation.

“Ultimately we’re not advocating for a vegetarian or a vegan diet, we’re advocating for a Climatarian diet. Which at the very minimum involves cutting back beef and lamb consumption to once a week.”

Beef is a massive offender for carbon emissions

According to Professor Richard Eckard, Director of the Primary Industries Climate Challenges Centre at the University of Melbourne, agriculture contributes to about 10 per cent of global gas emissions.

And most of that comes from producing red meat.


According to the UN’s Global Livestock Emissions Assessment model – which Mark uses as modelling for his app – producing beef is by far the worst offender for carbon emissions, compared to other animal products.

“People have been really surprised to learn how big of a carbon footprint beef and lamb have compared to all other types of meat,” Mark says.

“Once people realised we weren’t a vegan or vegetarian organisation, we found people were really open to that idea, and to actually learn about their various food choices.”

Mark says that consumers often feel helpless when thinking about climate change; reducing the amount of red meat is one of the easiest ways to make a tangible difference.

“We say that it’s the smallest change with the biggest impact of anything you can do.”

Choosing your diet is a privilege for the 1%

If you decide to take the Climatarian Challenge and reduce your diet’s carbon footprint – great job! But it means you’re part of a very narrow, very privileged part of the world’s population who can actually choose what they eat – according to Professor Richard Eckard from the University of Melbourne.

“The number of people in the world that have the privilege of choosing their diet is limited to about one per cent of the population,” Professor Eckard told Hack. “They are the affluent few that can actually have a choice over what they eat or don’t eat. The majority of the population just eat what they can get.”

Professor Eckard says that population divide is changing rapidly – and it’s creating more meat eaters, not less.

Ways you can reduce your diet’s carbon footprint, according to the Climatarian diet

  • Eat beef or lamb only once week
  • If you’re craving red meat, try Kangaroo – it produces far less carbon emissions
  • Save good quality meat for special occasions
  • Keep track of how much meat you’re consuming

“There is a rising middle class in the world coming out of those populations. That’s predicted to be about 4.6 billion people by about 2030,” Professor Eckard explains.

When those billions of people are wealthy enough to decide what they eat, they’ll want to include red meat in their diet, Professor Eckard says.

Put simply – the luxury of being able to eat red meat will mean more of the world will be eating it than ever before.

That one per cent of us who can already decide what we want to eat isn’t the problem; what those 4.6 billion people decide to eat is a MUCH bigger one.

And figuring out how to tell billions of people to keep eating rice and veggies – even when they can afford meat – isn’t easy.

So what’s the point of reducing red meat in your diet?

It’s easy to be a cynic. Professor Richard Eckard admits that the “privileged few” of us in the world who can choose to eat less meat aren’t going to solve climate change by ourselves.

But he says initiatives like The Climatarian Challenge are all vital pieces of a bigger picture.

“I think [awareness tools like The Climatarian Challenge] have a real purpose and I support them. And it’s not really because of what they actually end up doing. The more awareness we raise that you can reduce your personal greenhouse gas footprint – the more that message gets around to other people, the better. It’s the message of ‘this is something we need to take seriously’.

“It’s almost a communication tool more than anything else. Because that same person who takes up that app, they might also then say, ‘well I want solar panels on my roof, I want to be more sustainable’.”

  • Author Ange McCormack

The future has been Trumped

I am so devastated by Americans of my generations who have made the decision who should be their 45th president

I find it sacrilegious that  Americans of my generation would make a decision so opposed to the generation that has to live with the consequences

This is how the future said they voted – I rest my case


Kristina Keneally makes some very interesting points in this OP-ED piece in the Guardian “Who’s to blame for America’s first megalomaniac, celebrity president?”



Courage is not the absence of fear, but the triumph over it.

The characteristic I most admire in people is courage.

Last week I attended the Australian Geographic Awards with Josh Gilbert’s family and partner. If ever there was an award’s event that celebrates courage, it’s the Australian Geographic Awards.

Yesterday I was reminded how lucky I am to be surrounded by so many courageous young people

Firstly there was this testimonial for Young Farming Champion Dee George. I know how much this will mean to Dee (you are a true champion Dee)

And there was this entry in The Archibull Prize based on the ethos of the Dr Suess book The Lorax. After 4 weeks on the road with the art judge videoing the students it had got to the stage where I was queen of the bloopers and struggling to turn the record button on and off at the right time.

What does all this have to do with Josh. Well Josh is like The Lorax

I love his sense of right and wrong.

I love that he recognizes the need to speak for those who have no voice.

I love that he sees the beauty of an unspoiled forest.

I love that he’s willing to stand up for what he believes in, even when it is the unpopular opinion.

But most of all, I love that he maintains a hope for the future, even when it seems so dismal.

And I love that he not only believes that one person can change the world, but like all the Young Farming Champions he puts his heart and soul into being part of a movement that empowers them to do so.

I videoed his presentation and his speech. It was a very courageous moment


Geoff Bugden – Professional footballer, Detective and Pecan Farmer – Yes there is a career for everyone in agriculture

I spend my life spruiking there is a career in agriculture for everyone from A to Z no matter what stage of your career you are at. Tonight I found myself sitting at dinner with two ex policemen turned farmers. One growing avocados and the other pecans.

I have done many agriculture career pathway profiles  in my life but nothing comes close to Geoff Bugden  

Geoff who is now a proud pecan farmer began his working life as a boilermaker, then a professional footballer playing first grade with Newtown  followed by 140 first grade games with Parramatta and numerous State of Origin appearances, followed by 12 years as a Detective in the police force  and now a proud farmer

Having never laughed so much in my entire life – he certainly could have had a career as a comedian

“Farming, requires commitment whether there is leaf on the tree or not.” Geoff Bugden Pecan Farmer 


Geoff Bugden- boiler maker, 1st grade rugby league player, Detective, Pecan Farmer and the funniest man you will ever have at your dinner table  

and to top it all up I got to meet the legendary Glenn Morris who recently rode his horse across the harbour bridge in support of Native Vegetation and present with NSW Young Australian of the Year finalist Anika Molesworth


Anika Molesworth Glenn Morris and Lynne Strong 

The world needs us and we can all be heroes

Today I am reblogging this post from Megan Rowlatt’s blog The Conservation Collective  

Yesterday Megan and I attended the Social Good Summit.  It was a TED talk style event featuring some of the most mindblowing people on the planet . People who wake up everyday to help co-design a bright future for us all

Me, I am just doing the best I can one step at time by helping young people like Megan be the best version of themselves they can be.

A quote that stuck in my mind from yesterday was

“if we can all come together to do the best we can we CAN do great things 

We have to because the world needs us

We can all be heroes” 

For further inspiration may I suggest you  watch this wonderful little video We can all be Hummingbirds



In 2005 I was serving schooners in classy pubs in sunny Surfer’s Paradise. It was the best. Not something I’d do forever, but it paid the bills while I was at Uni and I met some darn cool people doing it. I loved it. Until one night the duty manager shoved a microphone in my hand, told me to run the members’ draw in front of over 200 people and went and locked himself in the office. What! I hated public speaking (and clearly he did too). I had no idea what to say. In the past I’d failed miserably, I mean I got 3/20 for my first speech at high school and that experience had scarred me for life.

My hands were shaking and sweaty, my throat was caught up in my throat and I actually felt like vomiting. I hated him, but I couldn’t say no, the whole club was waiting for this draw. I was so worked up in that moment that my attitude going into the gig was that if I screwed it up, that would be on him. So I let go of all my expectations and just did it. And to my surprise, I actually enjoyed it. Because I didn’t care. I said whatever I felt like and people loved it. And I’ve been addicted to the act ever since. From there I ran games and promotions in bars and clubs all up and down the Gold Coast, sometimes in front of hundreds of people. And when I finally landed my dream job in Landcare I was ready to speak. I’ve since gone on to facilitate many workshops and events. I have spoken at state and national conferences, most recently the National Landcare Conference. I’ve been key note speaker at film festivals and sustainability events. I’ve done countless radio interviews and loads of TV interviews and each time it gets easier and more fun!

Jenna and I presenting at the National Landcare Conference

Jenna and Megan presenting at the Landcare Conference

There’s no doubt that night was a pivotal moment in my life, propelling me into the scary world of public speaking, something that I had feared for years. But until a few years ago, I had been winging it, despite having a university degree behind me and a few years of experience up my sleeve, I was making it all up as I went. And then I came across an incredible opportunity which kick-started my personal and professional development journey and took me to a whole new level of leadership.

The Art4Agriculture Young Eco Champions program was a pilot at the time and saw young natural resource management professionals trained up in media and communications skills to tell their story and go into schools to inspire students about our industry. It was an amazing personal and professional development program. I gained skills in designing and rolling out professional presentations, how to speak to my audience properly, how to speak to the media, and how to inspire young people. And I have used these skills every day since. It helped me craft and discover what I was really passionate about and how to communicate this to others. It was the best start I could have hoped for and I am forever grateful.

I next decided that I needed some deeper skills in leadership development and working with other people, sort of next level stuff. So I enrolled in a program called the South East Local Leaders Program. Now this was awesome. I met people from all sorts of backgrounds in Landcare, agriculture and sustainability who wanted a deeper dive into effective leadership. We worked with an organisation called Global Learning and I got a deeper sense of who I was as a leader, particularly in a team environment. It was raw, real and I got some fantastic tools to work with others.

But something was missing. A deep dive into me. Yep, figuring out what was going on in that big ‘ol never shut up, lay awake at night and continuously think about all of the ridiculous mistakes you’ve made in your life, cringe for a while, beat yourself up a little more, and carry that around like a ball and chain despite your continuous success in the real world. And then I met Landmark. Good ‘ol culty Landmark.

Despite the stereotypes and the endless online forums about the 80’s pyramid scheme marketing and ‘you’ve brainwashed my friend and they’ve changed forever and I don’t like them anymore they’ve joined a cult’ rhetoric, this has hands down been the best transformative self discovery and leadership program I have done to date. Let me tell you why. You can do all the skills-based training and courses in the world, but until you get the inside stuff on track, there’s no way you can reach your full potential and have the impact you are out to achieve. Think of it as defragging and rebooting. Yep you get rid of all that crap, all that baggage and start your brain fresh. No more lying awake stressing about the past or fearing the future, I’m content and grateful for now, and everything about now. And that’s what I got. Sometimes it wants to creep back in, but you are now equipped with ninja moves to boot it straight back out again. I also have a better understanding about human behaviour because I am clear in myself and who I am as a human. I am fearless in my communication and no longer feel intimidated by people I used to be in the past. It gave me permission to be me and to be real.

It has also given me the best tools to work with my team at Intrepid Landcare, to be an effective leader for an organisation and mobilise a team of very fast-paced change-makers in our industry. Without fear, without drama, without frustration. We’ve built relationships based on honesty, trust and simply keeping it real. Nothing more, nothing less. And it works. There’s no hard feelings when you get challenged or pulled up on something, it’s about the idea not you, it’s about the team not you, it’s about the organisation not you, and it’s about getting the job done not you. We are all there for each other, and we are all there for the future of the organisation. It’s beautiful, it’s refreshing, and it’s so easy.

My Intrepid Tribe

Intrepid Landcare Tribe

As we were about to embark on building Intrepid Landcare I thought, hang on, I have no business skills, I need skillz man. So I enrolled in a Diploma of Business with an organisation called The Entourage. Now these are not your every day Dip. Business guys. The organisation has been set up to cater to Entrepreneurs, the one percenters in the world who think outside the box, don’t fit into conventional education systems and are true creatives (and a little bit crazy in their ventures) – that’s me! And I have just completed the course. It was fantastic. The framework caters to visual learners like me and text books get thrown out the window. Instead you get access to real life stories and case studies of successful businesses and entrepreneurs, and practical workshops which inspires, educates and motivates you the whole way through the course. Jack Delosa (founder and CEO) is a disruptor of the education system and I like where’s he’s taking the organisation. It no doubt helped build Intrepid Landcare every step of the way and I’m glad I made this investment in myself and the organisation, because it really gave me the structure I needed.

But what has really helped me achieve everything I have in my life, my career and my adventures is having a grounded, self-aware, fun, adventurous and accepting team of people around me who have also invested in themselves. We are all on different paths but we are all about continuing to push the boundaries on being the best versions of ourselves in what we are up to in life. The learning has not stopped at a TAFE course or University degree, we are continuously seeking opportunities to challenge ourselves and grow.

I’m not saying you need to go out and invest in the above programs or seek out these particular courses. Everyone’s journey is different. My point is that no matter where you are in your life, always consider investing in yourself. Enrol in that course you’ve always wanted to do, read that biography or book you’ve been eyeing off to challenge your thinking, go on that adventure you’ve been procrastinating about for years, change your career if you are not happy, and find a tribe to support who you want to be in the world. Find your passion and simply just do it. Start taking steps. Give yourself the tools you need to move forward in whatever you are up to in life. My only regret is that I didn’t do it sooner.

It will be the best gift you ever give yourself, and the best gift you will give those around you.