#Strongwomen. "I write about the power of trying, because I want to be okay with failing. I write about generosity because I battle selfishness. I write about joy because I know sorrow. I write about faith because I almost lost mine, and I know what it is to be broken and in need of redemption. I write about gratitude because I am thankful – for all of it." Kristin Armstrong
I have spent the year watching a number of very courageous women tackle a very insidious system and I am reflecting on what it must take to have the resilience to wake up every day and do it again and again until you are confident that change will happen
I look at women like Louise Milligan and Adele Ferguson and I see employers who support them
I see women like Brittany Higgins and Grace Tame and my heart bleeds for them such extraordinary courage and I hope resilience
I see women like Catherine Marriott and wonder why rural and regional Australia and The National Party continues to enable her alleged abuser.
One of my standout Champions of Change is Cathy McGowan. She has become my role model for change. Yesterday she agreed to run a workshop that will support our Young Farming Champions to truly live their values.
When you have a minute listen to two more courageous women truly live their values
Zoe Daniels and Sam Mostyn ask
‘If not us, who? If not now, when?’
In this podcast Independent candidate for Goldstein, Zoe Daniel, and President of Chief Executive Women, Sam Mostyn discuss the shocking revelations uncovered in Kate Jenkin’s independent inquiry into Parliament House culture.
Today I had the opportunity to participate in a briefing of a program agriculture is currently rolling out
What was beautiful was how proud the people who work in the industry are of it
What was scary is the model is exactly what I presented to that industry 12 plus years ago. The model wasn’t my original idea, it was something I adapted for Australia from a successful model from the US
I am shortly catching up with some-one very special in my life. Gaye is a very interesting contrast to my journey. Gaye is the girl who bought the McFlurry to Australia.
The McFlurry isnt her idea, it was something she saw in the US and thought Australians would love it. How right she was
Its a beautiful thing to hear Gaye talk about Charlie Bell who was the CEO of Maccas when she was the CMO. How it made such a difference to her career journey that Charlie believed in her and supported her when she presented big ideas. And when Charlie was in charge there was always a cohort of bright minds – so often he would say lets ask “Numbers” aka Steve Jermyn
The industry body I was part of the briefing for today didn’t believe in my idea 12 plus years ago but there is no shortage of courageous people who did.
What is awesome is Charlie believed in Gaye and Gaye believes in me.
Hoping you have plenty of Charlies and Gayes in your life too
Keri Jacobs post stopped me in my tracks. She could have been writing about my family.
Below is a cut and paste of what Keri wrote
Pioneer’s ad hits a nerve. A deep one. A bittersweet one. I hope my experience about who can be a farmer will help someone else. I am a farm kid. A farmer’s daughter. One of three. My grandpa and grandma were farmers, my great-grandparents were farmers. It’s a history and upbringing I am proud of. For most of my childhood, I imagined I would one day be a farmer’s wife. I would follow my mom’s, grandmas’, aunts’ footsteps and be the behind-the-scenes support: the meal-maker, the bookkeeper, the late-night-field-runs taker, the do-everything-else-that-must-get-done-when-he-is-farming person.
Hey, wait. Maybe I could farm? It took a lot of years for me to figure out that I wanted at least some of my time on this earth to be spent intricately tied to the land–our family’s land–and farming like my dad and grandpa were. It’s in my blood.
But the decisions had been made, even before I was born. There was nothing that anyone could do about it, not really even by the one who COULD have changed it. I will never forget the time I challenged this. There was one person with the ability to make or break my desire to be one of our family’s farmers. I asked if I could one day own some of the family’s land, when it was time to pass it along. I did not expect equal ownership with my male cousins, just a small piece of the land that I grew up on, played on, rode with Dad in the tractor on, walked bean fields on, and where we buried our family pets. The same land that raised my Dad and grandpa. Something to own and farm and carry on. But it was not possible.
Why? Because somewhere along the way, maybe even before my grandparent’s had a say, farming became about a family name. A legacy rooted in our surname, and therefore in gender. It broke my heart when I was told that if I wanted to farm and own land, I should marry a farmer. I was handed a plat book so I could see who owned land in the area. I was told I would have to marry into land.
As a woman who might take another man’s name in marriage, I was a threat to the family’s legacy. I was a threat to what my grandparents and their parents built. Because of my gender.
I hope this is changing. I think it is. I see examples of how it is. And I love this ad for pointing out a really big problem…and a really amazing change and opportunity. Our collective notion and nostalgia about a way of life historically tied more to gender than to things that really matter, like desire, ability, and values is changing.
We cannot take land with us when we die. Who can say for sure, but we also probably cannot enjoy it after we die. If you are a farmer wondering who will continue YOUR legacy of caring for the land, caring for animals, caring for the environment, producing the foods we eat, I hope you will evaluate your successor on the things that made YOU a great farmer. My grandpa was a great farmer. That fact had nothing to do with his gender or last name.
Thank you Keri beautifully expressed and this from Peyton Merriam
We move the peg as a society when we embrace diversity and inclusion as an industry, not just individually. Let’s keep challenging the status quo!
I sit on the Action4Agriculture board and we recently workshopped our values which our graphic artist is currently working his magic on to load on our web page
Our values are
The final wording is from board member Dr Jenni Metcalfe with inspiration for Kindness coming from the work of Brene Brown who says
“Clear is Kind. Unclear is Unkind.”
Brene clarifies her quote this way
We need braver leaders and more courageous cultures.
Why courage? and What’s getting in the way of building more daring cultures? Of the ten behaviors and cultural issues that leaders identified as barriers to courage, there was one issue that leaders ranked as the greatest concern: Avoiding tough conversations, including giving honest, productive feedback. Source
My personal top two values are Courage and Making a Difference. Brene helped me realise I needed to spend more time walking my fear
As a life long avoider of tough conversations I am grateful to Brene, our board and the brave people I truly value who I have stepped up to have tough conversations with recently.
I found some of those people are like me and walk away rather than have them and others have role modelled to me what “Best practice” looks like. I thank them for helping me learn and grow and hopefully change
It was a wonderful moment to go round the room and have each member of the team share their highlights.
“the skills I have learnt being part of this committee have helped me grow as a person. They are equally transferable to my workplace and my other volunteer roles. They have given me the confidence to be a peer to peer mentor and a coach.”
“We believe we are walking examples of Action4Agriculture’s vision to grow tomorrow’s leaders today to cultivate farming systems and practices that are good for farmers, people and the planet”
Friday nights can be tough. They are that time of the week where you reflect on the conversations you have had and the important work you have got done and you decide if you are moving forward or going round in circles.
I can definitely see forward movement from young people in agriculture through the extraordinary applications we are receiving for our Young Farming Champions program
There is also significant international interest in replicating the Action for Agriculture programs overseas and I am working with some very exciting people to create a template of what that could look like
BUT my major frustration remains and that is.
We have a leadership system in agriculture that invites people with big ideas to stand in the arena by themselves until they can beg or borrow enough money to pilot their big idea. Success requires you to attract other volunteers who also have day jobs, who toil and toil and toil pouring their hearts and souls into your big idea ( and adding their ideas) until they are as burnt out as you.
I have been looking for a model that invites people to identify an arena they want to be part of. An arena that cultivates a culture where everyone is working together towards a common goal and everyone can actively see every Friday night that their collaboration is having IMPACT.
Two models I am witnessing that are potentially achieving this are Farmers for Climate Action and the Voices for Movement both of which have attracted significant philanthropic funding
There is hope on the horizon for a new model through conversations I have been having with other people running leadership programs. These bright minds might just have come up with a model that will deliver significant rewards for the personal well being of the people in the arena and the agriculture sector.
The next step in this process happens on Monday. Fingers crossed my journal reflections next Friday are less focused on our abhorrent political system and more focused on grass roots empowerment
“No Australian political party is doing serious thinking about how to knit together food, farming and environmental policies to continue feeding the population while mitigating climate change and biodiversity loss.”
In 2016 the United Nations announced the 17 Sustainable Development Goals that give every business including agriculture a global blueprint to guide our country’s activities towards a global collaborative achievement of sustainable development. The SDGs provide a ‘common language’ through which our rural industries can communicate domestically and globally, in alignment with world leaders on the SDG index as well as Australia’s major trading partners.
They also provide an extraordinary opportunity to develop a leadership capability framework to support the National Farmers Federation 2030 roadmap.
Leading change for a sustainable economy and planet has a huge focus in Europe yet big business in Australia is much slower to move into this space.
“The systemic pressures the world faces today mean that leadership simply cannot be the preserve of a ‘heroic’ few. Delivering the future we want will require organisations to cultivate leadership at all levels, and to embrace diverse and complementary strengths and approaches. The focus will be on developing collective leadership capacity, with individuals supported and inspired to deliver against their potential, and to contribute effectively within their personal strengths and role.”
Whilst progress on building the knowledge, thinking and practice around the new normal is very slow at government level our teachers are grasping the Sustainability Leadership mantle firmly ensuring our young people are going to be ready for the jobs of the future.
By mapping our future leadership needs and deploying our people for good, we have a significant opportunity to shape the food production agenda and deliver an equitable system for all.
There is also icing on the cake with a number of economic benefits from SDG reporting globally to be realised through enhancements to the natural environment.
FOOD WASTE: Potential to lower global costs of food waste for saving AUD $240 to $600B per year (20-30 per cent of food globally is wasted through post-harvest losses that are easy to prevent)
FOREST ECOSYSTEM SERVICES: Potential to lower Global costs of deforestation and forest degradation: AUD $200B to $550B per year (Deforestation and forest degradation which currently account for 17 per cent of global emissions
RENEWABLE ENERGY: Increase renewables’ share of energy generation worldwide could increase to 45 per cent by 2030 (from 23 per cent in 2014) (IRENA, 2014) Potential to lower global costs of non-renewable energy: AUD $250B to $900B
Thanks to Jo Eady from Rural Scope and Mark Paterson from Currie Communication for inspiration for this post
With no power for more that 48 hours I was mega grateful I had purchased these two power pack to walk Larapinta a number of years ago. They kept all the devices I needed to keep me safe and warm with no electricity
What was even more rewarding was despite 130km plus winds, rain and no power the dairy was still operating 24/7 milking the cows
On a dairy farm there is nothing more important than your cows and your team and a generator that will run the dairy using the tractor in a blackout is a MUST have on every dairy farm.