Proud to be a farmer, but tired of having to defend my farming practices.

Its been a very interesting week

Last night the RAS of NSW held an agriculture teacher professional development workshop at which I got the opportunity to showcase the work of Art4Agriculture.

It was great fun and I learnt a lot. I met a crocodile farmer in the US and one in the Northern Territory via video conference technology, sampled crocodile meat for the first time and met a crocodile

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I have also had a very inspiring week travelling north with the 2014 Archibull Prize art judge Wendy Taylor to Queensland to see the students’ bovine masterpieces. And what masterpieces they are. You can see them on Facebook here

The students’ artworks this year reflect on their interpretation of how sustainability and agriculture and the community can partner to help feed the world and reduce food waste

Wendy and her husband Craig are both architects and their firm red blue architecture + design has a particular passion for site specific, environmentally sustainable solutions for new houses

As my regular blog readers are aware I am particularly frustrated by how confused the world is about what the word sustainability actually means and what it takes to achieve it. See previous post here

So I asked Wendy the question ‘Do people in general actually understand what the concept of sustainable housing is?’

Wendy said to me ‘well I can honestly say no-one has ever come to me and asked me to design the smallest house I could to meet their needs’

Let’s be honest with each other – we don’t get it.

To be sustainable we all have to be committed to reducing our footprint on the world and we all have to be committed to doing it together

Which brings me to “What’s making me cranky at this point in time?”

This week its Marie Claire and Sustainable Table et al. See Page 279-280 November 2014 Marie Claire

Those well-meaning but naive almost evangelistic people who believe and promote that you can put farming practices into boxes like artisan, boutique or organic = good for you. Whilst conventional farming = factory farming = not good for animals and the planet and people

If you just happen to be like the majority of family farmers in this country who grow food and fibre for the commodity market so that Australians from all economic backgrounds have the opportunity to afford it you are then perceived by label association to automatically fall into the ‘unsustainable, unhealthy, or unethical’ category.

If we are going to meet the challenges of feeding the world and reducing the abomination that is food waste then this rural idyll mentality has to stop.

The story should be about farmers engaging with consumers and the importance of eating real food, rather than highly processed food. Not about promoting one farming practice over another

Australian farming families are mums, dads, sons and daughters, sisters and brothers, husbands and wives. They’re just as interested in the environment and what they feed their families and animal welfare, as people in cities. They just happen to be farmers, growing some of the world’s best real food and fibre and they are feeding 20 million people here and another 40 million people overseas.

Let them get on with it. Enough I say. Lets not pitch farmer against farmer. Let’s work together to help all farmers be the best possible farmers they can be.

BTW This article is well worth a read – To feed the world in 2050 we have to change course

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