Agriculture to sell hope not despair

When given the choice between hope and despair, it is a fact that hope is the attitude most likely to support, encourage, and even create a positive outcome. Despair energizes only the things we fear.

When I was looking for a graphic to help tell this story I came across this very compelling image and I am still in two minds as to whether it’s too confronting (will ruminate on this)

garden_of_hope_and_despair_by_virgard-d30cadx

Garden of Hope and Despair by Virgard 

From an early age growing up on the farm I learnt that too often agriculture sells despair in preference to hope and as I grew older and more committed to giving back to the landscape that feeds and clothes us I found myself gravitating towards people in the natural resource management sector who always sell hope.

Agriculture is changing the way it portrays itself and that change is being driven by our many bright minds coming up through the ranks in Gen X&Y agrifood and fibre

Rural and social entrepreneur Josh Gilbert who is also Chair of NSW Young Farmers is a great example of a young person in our sector who is selling hope and raking in the rewards for both himself and the sector at large

Josh is now looking for agriculture’s rockstars to join him in spreading the great stories of agriculture that inspire while fostering innovation and breaking down the existing silo’s within agriculture via his newest venture Tractor Talks.

Tractor Talks

Tractor Talks is a really great opportunity to showcase people who have new and exciting ideas and are leading the way and can inspire others. We need a huge shift away from the negative culture stereotypical stories that hinder progression, new thinking and self-pride.

It’s a great platform to listen to on the go and I really hope it serves as an incubator for agricultural innovation. I want a beef farmer to hear what an oyster grower is doing and think- we could apply something similar in our industry. I want a young farmer to hear that there is a light at the end of the tunnel and that people have succeeded from similar backgrounds. And what I really want most is for the podcast to help draw people together, as one united industry right around the world…… says Josh

To kick-start his journey and give him added confidence that others believe in his ideas Josh has been announced as a 2015 Young Social Pioneers (YSP) scholarship awardee for Tractor Talks. You can listen to the first episode HERE

Via this article in The Land

Passionate youth agriculture advocate Josh says  “Tractor Talks is designed to tell agriculture’s exciting stories and encourage other farmers with innovative ideas and great stories to get involved and be stars of their own success stories,” Josh said.

Now on  iTunes the Tractor Talks podcast will feature interviews with successful and inspiring agricultural professionals, exploring their motivations, industry visions and practical tips for farmers across a broad range of business and farming topics.

Josh’s YSP scholarship, sponsored by Optus, will see him take part in three residential touchpoints in Sydney. Alongside 49 other Pioneers he’ll connect with experts who provide support to amplify Tractor Talks, build networks of support and develop business skills and capabilities to drive a successful, purpose-driven venture.

The program is an initiative of The Foundation for Young Australians and supports Australia’s best and brightest emerging young change-makers: social innovators, thought leaders and entrepreneurs.

Josh said the networking, mentoring and the chance to take home $10,000 in seed funding make the scholarship a once in a lifetime opportunity.

“There is also the opportunity to get nationwide publicity, which is essential in sharing great agricultural stories with our consumers and the world,” he said.

Josh is looking forward to being inspired at the touchpoint sessions.

“I think it’s going to be a great way to ensure that Tractor Talks remains relatable to the general public, while also keeping the agricultural messages and tips at the podcast’s core,” he said.

“Connecting with 49 great minds from across the country is more than I could have ever wished for. This makes the whole course a great experience, along with the opportunity to change aspects of Australian life and be a part of the exciting Australian start-up scene.”

The first Tractor Talks podcast will showcase Liverpool Plains farmers and founders of ‘The Conscious Farmer’ beef brand Derek and Kirrily Blomfield.

Josh is a role model to all generations in agriculture, his passion, commitment and motivation is something we can all aspire to. He recognises the importance of and grabs every opportunity to cultivate influential community partnerships for the best outcomes for youth in agriculture.

Josh is selling hope and the world is buying .

CALL TO ACTION: If you know one of agriculture’s rockstars whose story will inspire others by featuring on Tractor Talks Josh wants to talk to you

Contact Josh Gilbert

Email: contact@gilbertjoshuam.com

Mobile: 0432 260 024.

Twitter:    #agrockstars

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/TractorTalks/

#Meantweets. Farmers unite and celebrate – don’t give the bullies oxygen

Twitter can be great fun and yesterday I was enjoying some great cheeky banter between our dairy farmer tweeps and their networks when some-one send me a twitter feed with the comment “I see the bullies are at it again”.  It appears there was a side conversation happening.

Twitter can also be sad. Because of these side conversations there are a lot of wonderful people who are small farmers or farmer supporters who don’t feel welcome or feel they will be attacked in these side conversations. These disenfranchised people become twitter watchers rather than active participants so everyone else on twitter misses out on the wealth of knowledge they could share with us

Some-one else who saw the side conversation sent me this wonderful post Am I a Farmer.

I am reblogging it today as my tribute to all of those wonderful people who support farmers. The bullies will never go away. They live in their own little world where they self justify but please be assured the rest of us salute our passionate supporters

Everyone who loves the land and advocates for a a fair return on investment for the people who feed,clothe and put a roof over our heads has skin in the game. Today Savvy Farm girl helps celebrate your selfless contributions

Savvy Farm Girl blogs here and below is a reprint of her post Am I a farmer

This question, or a variation of it, has been posed to me multiple times over the past month, and it seems like a day hasn’t gone by I haven’t thought about it: “Do you consider yourself a farmer?”

At the Women in Science and Engineering (WISE) Conference in Toronto last month I was asked the question by a young woman in the audience. I responded, “yes, for the most part I do,” then continued to elaborate as to why I felt this way.

In many of the circles I frequent day-to-day, whether it be at work or with friends, I am as much a farmer as my parents, brothers, and my farming friends (real and online). In fact, I may be the only “farmer” they know. Many farmers likely have friends like this. My friends don’t know so much about the specifics of farming, but they know I do and if they want to know about dairy or grain farming, I’m the person they ask. They definitely don’t care that my income is not derived from the farm. Some have visited our farm after knowing how much I care about it, and they saw the same passion in my family. For them, knowledge and passion might be enough to justify why I fit the term.

Yet, for farmers it seems to be different. It feels like there are those among us that believe unless you earn your living from the land directly, you don’t “deserve” to call yourself a farmer. It leads to an “impostor syndrome” of its own. Even if I work with farmers in my job, if my family is all farming, I spend most weekends there, helping in the barn or field, I read almost exclusively about the agriculture industry and think of nearly nothing else; I am not a farmer in the eyes of other farmers.

Why do we do this to each other? Is it because we think you must have “skin in the game” to truly understand or care about the industry? Or are we just scared? Scared those who have time to commit to an industry may indeed make an impact and cause it to change? Status quo is so comfortable and farmers are often so busy with the day-to-day, there is little time to challenge it.

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This is exactly why my family has empowered me to speak on their behalf. I’m not on the farm everyday and if I was, I couldn’t do what I do or it would be exceptionally harder. For more reasons than just having the time too; physically, our farm is located further from the “hub” of Ontario agriculture than many others are and rural broadband can be unreliable. My parents also taught us to do what we love and for me, it’s all about talking – public speaking, networking, socializing, debating. I love them all. I’m not sure our cows nor my brothers would care for me to be at the farm everyday. Usually, they’re done listening to me after a weekend.

At the end of the day, “farmer” is still a label. It’s more than an occupation, because it also encompasses a lifestyle and a connection to the land many of us will never shake, but it is still a label. For me, it’s more important I uphold the values which were instilled in me growing up on a farm and do work which betters the lives of farmers I grew up with and the community I grew up in. This betterment could take many forms, but if my talents are used to their fullest by telling my farm story and speaking up for other farmers in pursuit of common goals, isn’t that what’s more important anyway? The income stream is just a means to achieve a goal and should not define who we are

Who is Savvy Farm Girl – you can read all about the wonderful and gutsy Jen Christie here

Who is Savvy Farmgirl?

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My name is Jen Christie. Thank you for checking out Savvy Farmgirl!

I grew up on a dairy and grain farm outside a small, rural Ontario town. As a kid, before I could head off to swimming lessons or the movies, the barn chores had to be done, the rocks picked or the hay unloaded. The work wasn’t easy but at the end of the day, it was rewarding to know you had accomplished something and we saw the fruits of our labour daily on the dinner table. Today, our 6th generation family farm is a busy spot, and I enjoy spending my free time there in the barn with the cows or in the tractor cab in the field.

So, that’s the farm girl. What about the savvy part?

I love marketing. I love networking. I love social media. I love challenging the status quo.

In my undergrad, I lived the mantra; “don’t let your schoolwork get in the way of your education.” I didn’t get it all right, but when other students went to the Agri-Marketing Conference competition in the U.S. to compete and party, I went to meet industry marketing leaders and be enlightened by the speakers. I learned about social media at one of those events before Twitter probably even existed.

These events gave me a deeper appreciation for marketing and cultured my fascination with branding. Working for one of the most widely known brands in the world, let alone, agriculture, allows me to see brand power at work everyday.

For me, social media’s power is amplifying brand promises. Hiding behind an avatar online is even more difficult than it is to hide behind a glossy advertisement. Those who aren’t leveraging social media are being passed in the marketplace by those who are connecting with customers who want to do business with them. Understanding that it’s no longer possible to be perceived as the best, brands literally have to be the best at what they do in the eyes of those who love them is creating a great opportunity in every industry today. Including agriculture.

For me, this means constantly challenging the status quo in agriculture. We can always be better and there is literally nothing that can’t be improved in our industry. When I decided to go back to school for my EMBA and my father asked why, my response was; “If I’m not going forward, I’m going backward.”

This mindset has created an insatiable curiosity about the definition of sustainable agriculture and the social licence with which farmers operate. It perplexes me the world has as many obese people with too much to eat as it does hungry people, dying from not enough to eat. Agriculture plays a role in changing this dynamic, and I believe it’s all of our issue to own and address individually, in our home and on our farms.

I love the lifestyle farming has and continues to offer our family. I seek to promote this everyday in my career, my community through speaking opportunities and online. If you’ve followed my blog or think this sounds like something you’d like me to work with your organization on, let’s chat. I’d love to see how we can work together

Mr Eastwood you have not made my day

According to the Australian JBS Australia boss Brent Eastwood remarked on a panel at the Global Food Forum this week that it was hard to get good talent on the land and that ‘many had good faces for radio”

I have been giving this a lot of serious thought beyond the amusement that Mike Logan’s follow up comment generated. See footnote at bottom of post

I grew up in a large regional town which at that time was underpinned financially by the agricultural dollar. The farmers came to town well dressed and to me as a person growing up in that town were highly respected. If some-one had asked me whilst I was growing up which industry demographic had the best faces for TV I would have said without a doubt  agriculture.

Ben Egan

There is no shortage of young talented and ‘beautiful’ people in agriculture just like cotton farmer Ben Egan 

I remember when I first started going out with Michael ( now 5th generation farmer) my girlfriends gave him a heart throb rating of 9.5/10.  I causally asked him ( as young girls do) ‘Do you think I am pretty.? To which in all seriousness after looking me up and down he replied  ‘You are average”  Whilst I would have preferred he said that I made Cindy Crawford pale into insignificance when I walked into the room  as no-one had ever remarked otherwise I took his comment at face value not overly perturbed as I had no desire to enter a career where looks define you.

Please tell me Mr Eastwood has been misquoted. Do looks and talent go hand in hand. Does agriculture only attract people with faces for radio.?

I must admit I get pretty cheesed off when agriculture continues to apparently delight in growing the myth that we cant attract the best and the brightest young people despite Australia’s leading agricultural demographer Neil Barr showing us this is absolute rubbish.

Time to get our act together agriculture and talk about the facts, not perpetuate the myths and find the dollars to invest in and up skill the people we have so we can retain them

As an aside – Mr Eastwood and I must socialise in different circles because there are plenty of ‘beautiful’ people in my agricultural crowd  but then beauty is in the eye of the beholderaudrey-quote

Footnote

The Australian April 17th 2015 in Andrew Mann’s  MARGIN CALL column

Dirty, smelly, ‘sexy’
The twitterati were out in force at the GFF but it was a clear no contest
as to who produced the tweet of the day.
In a panel of the nation’s top food processors lamenting about how hard it was to get quality talent on to the land, JBS Australia boss Brent Eastwood remarked how many in
agriculture had “good faces for radio’’, to which Dairy Connect chief executive Mike Logan added by way of explanation that “It’s dirty, it’s smelly, it’s hot”.
It prompted this tweet from the Camm Agricultural Group’s young dynamo Bryce Camm: “Are we talking about the porn industry or Ag sector? Sounds pretty sexy to me!’’

Should humans eat animals? Warning reality check ahead

This excellent post Communicating Matters of Life and Death by Judy Kennedy resonated with me this morningreality-check

Image source 

I grew up on a cropping, sheep and cattle farm in Central NSW. I raised every motherless lamb I found. My father too was a home butcher but I couldn’t go anywhere near our ‘home abattoir”.  As I get older the death of animals in my care affects me more and more emotionally. I cried for a week when the fox killed my chooks. Such a waste of life he only took 3 of the 30 he killed.

I know I over sensitised my son to death. He was even discouraged from keeping lizards as pets as I didn’t believe we had the necessary expertise to ensure their well being.

On the dairy farm I have seen both Michael and Nick shed tears when an animal they were attached to died.  We got the vet in to euthanize animals that we could not save and ensured that everyone who was hired knew that a respect for our cows and animal wellbeing was their first priority.

Running the Young Farming Champions program where agriculture’s wonderful young ambassadors who are excited about sharing their journey with people who aren’t lucky enough to have been surrounded by agriculture growing also too find sharing the farm cycle of life story with non-farmers daunting and are very committed to doing it well Our champions take their stories into the community and take the community on the journey of modern and innovative farming practices and show that we too have strong emotional values that underpin the way we do business. These relationships create accessibility to an agricultural industry that is open, transparent and available to consumers.

Pivotally our Young Champions are lucky enough to have access to the brilliant technical specialists Ann Burbrook and Greg Mills who can smooth the path for them and give them the skills to do this in a way they are comfortable with. NIDA trained actor/director.

Ann is a vegetarian and provides a great insight into why she made this choice. Ann like all of us is a consumer and understands that 99% of the cow is used by humans in some form of another and she respects that. She wears leather shoes and carries a leather handbag She has no problem with people who choose to eat meat. It’s just her personal choice not to.

I admit I am far too oversensitive to death and empathise with some animal liberationists and like Milk Maid Marian I am a proud animal activist myself. But it  is very important to put humane human consumption of animals as an energy source into perspective. Whilst I do my very best to block out the fact that something else died so I could live I am comfortable that it is the cycle of life and its common sense. Ecosystem

It’s at the heart of a balanced ecosystem. Less than 6% of this wonderful country is suitable for growing crops and our sheep and cattle are stewards of the landscape not covered by native vegetation. I respect people’s right to have access to nutritious affordable and safe food whether they choose to eat animals or not.

But let’s not kid ourselves if we all became vegetarians, humans will compete for the same food animals do and animals will be smart enough to know when its a matter of life and death they will be eating us

dog_eat_dog Image source 

When farmers are their own worst enemy

The Sydney Royal Easter Show has been running for the last 10 days. The show attracts close to one million people every year

It is a phenomenal opportunity for farmers to engage with “showgoers” aka general public aka consumers. Those all important people who buy what we produce.

Sydney Royal Easter Show - the audience

Our audience – Opportunity gained? Opportunity lost? Source  

I have been exhibiting at the show since I was eight years old and been involved in various community engagement activities at the Show for the past 10 years.

2008 Dairy activities in Cattle Pavilion

Farm to Fridge Painting Wall

Farm to Fridge Activities

As a farmer in reality I should see exhibiting as a community engagement activity – shouldn’t I?

For example if I was a dairy cattle exhibitor impacted by $1/litre milk sales

  • I would be signing up to be at the show on the most popular days at the show for the general public.
  • I would be doing everything in my power to have conversations with everyone who walked past to show them that I am one of those people that supply their families with nutritious, affordable and safe milk.
  • I would do everything I could to show them that I care for my animals.
  • I would be doing everything I could to show them that I am passionate about the scarce natural resources that my cows graze on.
  • I would do everything I could to ensure those people who walk past me and my cows at the show go home with an emotional bond that makes them think twice what milk they select when they walk into the supermarket.

Last night I had a call from some-one I know well in marketing. It was a very blunt phone call.

He said ‘Has your industry ever thought about the fact that your dairy farmer stud cattle exhibitors at the Sydney Royal Easter Show are doing it more harm than good?”

I said “What do you mean?”

He said “I wandered around the stud dairy cattle pavilion for 45 mins watching how the dairy farmers engaged with the general public. Whilst some do generally engage when they are spoken to, the rest give off this elite aura and some are just plain rude”

I did jump to their defence and said meekly “well they have put in a great deal time, money and effort to get their cows there and they are all pretty much focused on the blue ribbon and tend to find the general public a distraction”

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Sadly he is not the first person to say this. So what does our industry do to engage with the public?

Well our industry doesn’t do anything but the RAS of NSW certainly does and the face of both of these very impressive activities are young people very passionate about the dairy industry who aren’t farmers.

There is the Dairy Farmers Milking Barn promoted as

an interactive and fun experience for the whole family. With demonstrations throughout the day, showgoers can learn about how farmers care for cattle, what the animals eat to stay healthy, milking hygiene and how dairy technology has advanced over the past 200 years.

Showgoers will also have the opportunity to hand-milk some of the gentle, good-natured cows and interact with the farmers.

I have stood and watched as Luke and his team entertain and inform the crowd and it’s outstanding

Also on offer for showgoers and equally popular is the Dairy Farmers Working Dairy promoted as an opportunity to see the on farm technology that is second step in the process of getting milk, butter and cheese from the grassy meadow paddock to the breakfast table?

In an amazing display of modern agricultural technology in action, The Dairy Farmers Working Dairy offers a behind-the-barn-door look at the workings of a modern dairy.

Showgoers will see state-of-the-art machinery in operation, watch as cows are milked and see how today’s dairy farmers monitor their herd for maximum performance.

Visit The Dairy Farmers Working Dairy and the nearby The Dairy Farmers Milking Barn for a look at the incredible changes that modern technology has brought to the business of agriculture.

At the Dairy Farmers Working Dairy the showgoers get to see the exhibitors cows milked.

The face of the Dairy Farmers Milking Barn is a young veterinarian and multi-media megastar Cassie MacDonald

Cassie MacDonald working dairy

– again like Luke and his team she gives a world class stellar performance.

But do these exhibitions leave a long lasting emotional bond that translates into branded milk sales? After all they are pitched as the opportunity to see the technology?

Technology is a thing. Extensive social research tells us people relate to people

Are the dairy cattle stud exhibitors doing themselves more harm than good?

Well that’s a question for industry and ultimately those farmers themselves to decide and do something about.

Milk Bottles

Milk is milk no matter how it is branded or is it?

BTW Other industries are doing some amazing “showgoer’ engagement activities at the show. I will blog about those shortly

Footnote

This post has had 50 Facebook shares in 15 minutes of it being posted. Many of these comments are very concerning. Are showgoers idiots? I don’t think so. How many stupid questions would farmers ask if they went to their workplaces. Why cant we see that the difference between farmers and everyone else it we were lucky enough to grow up surrounded by agriculture . Its time to show some respect and thank the people who buy what we produce and stop wasting massive opportunities like this one Facebook Commentsand this Facebook posting from Robin says it all don’t you think?- if you are going to turn up make the most of it

Robin on Facebook

Agriculture – an endangered species

MPP-hand-threat-spec-web620Just like this little cutie agriculture in this country is under threat and this can potentially have huge ramifications for access to safe, affordable, nutritious food for Australian families  

If we are going to ensure food security in this country agriculture has to be a partnership between farmers and the community

So lets investigate the Australian communities relationship with food ( please assume when I write the word food, I am referring to the two f’s-  food and fibre)

Nobody likes to be put into a box and labelled. However sometimes it’s very useful to help you make a point so please forgive me for putting Australian consumers of food  into 4 boxes.

In one box you have the million people in Australia who are labelled Food Insecure and that means 1 million people in Australia go to bed hungry every night. Yes you read that right.  5% of the people in our wonderful country go to bed hungry every night. Please take the time to read about it here

Then there is the extremely larger box that holds the people who buy their food in the main based on Cost, Convenience and Quality (CC&Q) with a huge focus on cost and convenience

Then there is a small but growing box that I am going to label the people who ‘care’. I am going to call them this because they are the group that will potentially make purchases and are prepared to pay a premium for food grown in a way that meets their values. This group of consumers are interested in the ‘how and why’ of growing food and fibre, and also environmental values, sustainability, appropriate animal care, safety, nutrition, affordability and so on.

Values are an emotion. They in the main are not measurable and everyone of us has different values and how they prioritise them so the descriptors of the word “care’ can be very diverse.

At the other end there is a little group I am going to label “Extreme” for the want of a better word. What I mean here is that this group of people have very very strong views about what the word “care’ means and these people sometimes join organisations to lobby policy and decision makers to regulate and legislate industries to align with their values

For the people who sell food direct to consumers in this country like “Colesworth” for the ‘Food Insecure’ there are initiatives like Foodbank and  Second Bite they can donate food to. Food for example that is going out of date or does not meet the quality expectations of the C,C&Q group

The C,C&Q  are easy to satisfy. Sell food at rock bottom prices and build beautiful mega stores in areas that are within easy reach.  The C,C&Q group scare the living daylights out of ‘Colesworth” and their ability to meet shareholder expectations. Selling food at rock bottom prices from stores that cost you a motza is a no-win race to the bottom for profit margins.

So the group that “Colesworth’ is extremely interested in is the people who “care’.  The group that may pay more if you can meet or exceed their values expectations and help them feel good about their food choices. Colesworth want to grow this group. What is extremely disappointing is Coles in particular have chosen fear based marketing campaigns to grow their market share. I say to you Coles – disgraceful conduct.

Our good farmers also want to grow this group and I believe for all the right reasons. We want to grow this group by having courageous and open and transparent conversations with them.

To do this we have to be prepared to ‘open the door’ to our farms and bring consumers on our journey with us and that means not only showing them the ‘how’ – paddock to plate or field to fibre process but also the  ‘why’ of growing food and fibre,

We want to show them they can trust us to farm without feeling the need to ask policy and decision makers to impose overly budensome regualations on our food and fibre industries. Unlike “Colesworth’ farmers had want to allay consumer fears and reduce stress levels

Today our good farmers are now reconnecting with the people who buy their food and fibre. Listening to them and waking up every morning committed to meeting or exceeding their customers’ expectations

It is imperative that we take consumers on our journey with us or we run the risk of consumers have increasingly unrealistic expectations. Unrealistic expectations like expecting farmers to wake up every day to produce food at rock bottom prices for nothing. Our farmers have families too and just like everybody else their first priority is to feed and clothe their families.

So the key for farmers is to work with the community to get that very necessary balance. Today more than ever agriculture is a partnership between farmers and the community.

This year the theme for the Archibull Prize will be “Agriculture* – an endangered species” (ht SK) and students and teachers will investigate the many challenges that farmers face and how we build community partnerships to ensure Agriculture can make the most of many opportunities that are on offer and gets off the endangered species list permanently.

Earth Hour 2015 will celebrate Australian farmers and the challenges they face under increasing conditions of extreme climate variability 

That the Food Insecure group gets smaller and smaller and that the people who care group gets larger and larger not because they worry about how food and fibre is produced but because they trust farmers and have the time to put their energies into causes like making sure all Australians have full stomachs every night, have clothes to wear and have a roof over their heads

I want to live in an Australia where we all care about people first. I look forward to that day and I am very proud that the Archibull Prize is helping to grow and support that vision.

Kildare Catholic College

In 2014 the Reserve Grand Champion Archibull Prize award winner from Kildare Catholic College exemplified their community – Wagga Wagga

Footnotes

  1. * Agriculture – the industry that provides us with our most basic of needs. The industry that feeds us, clothes us and puts a roof over our heads
  2. Please note this post is a work in progress. It has been updated following excellent feedback from a number of people since it was first posted it.
  3. Rider – I admit the only thing I look at when I buy eggs is how crushproof I believe the box they come in is.
  4. HT – Hat tip to SK – a lovely lady I met at the NSW Department of Secondary Education yesterday. I shared my vision with her for what I wanted to the Archibull Prize to investigate this year and we work-shopped the theme and I loved her idea

 

 

 

Hate is not an emotion. Its a disease that eats you alive from within

Like the rest of the world I woke up to the heartbreaking news that the siege in Martin Place had ended in tragedy

I write this post this morning to remind people that hate is not an emotion. Its is a disease that eats you alive from within

I just cant imagine what it would be like to have family and friends directly involved in a life threatening situation like the Martin Place siege and my heart bleeds for them

But I have seen the way Australians are talking and thinking about people who follow the Muslim faith change over the last 12 months and it truly saddens me.

Like everyone I have access to a plethora of background information on the man behind the siege and until anybody can prove otherwise I will remain firm in my commitment  that the siege is not the work of an organised terrorist group.

“This is a one-off random individual.  It’s not a concerted terrorism event or act. It’s a damaged-goods individual who’s done something outrageous.” Source

Lets all remember no matter what religious affiliations we have every religion  has its fanatics who will use their beliefs to help justify barbaric acts

As I thought about the community yesterday and how this would be impacting on our day to day lives I am so proud of Rachel Jacobs who initiated the  #illridewithyou campaign and our fellow Australians who followed her lead.

I will ride with you

Read the Rachel Jacob’s story behind the #hashtag here How #illridewithyou began with Rachael Jacobs’ experience on a Brisbane train

Lets remember when we reflect on this tragedy.  Hate is not an emotion, it is a disease that eats you alive from within.

Some reflections that have also moved me

This post on the Lindt Facebook site

lindt

 

This reflection by a year 9 class in this post  If Martin Bryant was a Muslim 

Today’s reporting of the incident in Martin Place exemplifies what the students identified. We will always be afraid of terrorists if we keep making them. This lone gunman in Martin Place is a psychopath, the media made him a terrorist.