Brand Australia – how do we promote it?
A question that has been posed so many times by government, agriculture industry bodies and farmers for over 60 years. A question that we still don’t seem to have an answer for on a scale large enough to have impact. Lots of ideas, lots of in house conversations and lots of bright minds like Craig Davis giving very smart advice.
In May last year Longreach farmer, entrepreneur and founder of Agrihive James Walker and I found ourselves invited to Heron Island to be part of a discussion that would potentially result in a national/ international Australian agriculture marketing campaign. A campaign prompting our farmers and the food and fibre they produce and the challenges they face, designed by one of the most powerful NGO’s in the world and funded by a major Australian financial institution
A marketing event that clearly could potentially kick-start a very powerful new partnership era and help shine a light on and create a bright future for Australian agriculture
Surely a dream come true for Australian agriculture.
Ah yes James and I thought BUT we looked at each other with trepidation. The NGO was the World Wildlife Fund and the key question was would Australian farmers see the big picture vision, would they embrace an unlikely bedfellow, cast off previous grievances and be prepared to form one of the most exciting and influential partnerships ever offered to them?
It’s been an interesting year for me and I am confident equally for James.
We had two choices.
Jump on the train and be part of a magnificent journey to help create a bright future for Australian agriculture or stay on the platform at the station and be left wondering what might have happened if we had taken a leap of faith
Well I can assure you the train ride has been one of the most inspirational experiences of my life. It is amazing – absolutely phenomenal what a small dedicated, cohesive, collaborative, adaptive group of people, who never give up no matter what the challenge and how many knockers they have and are completely focused on the big picture can achieve
Agriculture has so much to learn from these people and so much to gain. Did we take advantage of this once in a life time opportunity?
Who wouldn’t want to work with the clever and innovative a team of people who put this masterpiece together ?
And how clever is this to get attention. Pick something the majority of Aussies cant do without and no it isn’t food
Well I definitely know our farming organisations struggled and many of our research and development corporations struggled. Whilst internally they saw it for what it was – a potentially watershed marketing opportunity – no-one quite knew how their farmer stakeholders would react and no-one quite knew how to broach it with them
What has disappointed and saddened me is most of our farming organisations and industry bodies ultimately decided to put it in the too hard basket and very few of them even let our farmers know the campaign was happening. Effectively failing to give our farmers the opportunity to make up their own minds. As a testament to farmer enthusiasm there was no shortage of excited farmers very happy to be showcased as part of the Planet to Plate Cookbook
What is this event I am talking about – of course we all know Its Earth Hour
Today is the Grand Final.
Tonight more that 6 million Australians will turn off the lights between 8.30pm and 9.30pm to celebrate Australian farmers and the food and fibre they produce and raise awareness of the challenges they face
I have a strong gut feeling that our farmers have been widely underestimated and the train carriages are full of smart farmers who are well and truly on the journey
A call out to all my fellow farmers. Australians care about you – it’s time to say thanks
Have an event – no matter how small – invite friends, cook a meal sourced from great Australian produce and celebrate – turn off the lights and Light a candle
The following is a list of social media opportunities that will allow you to use the power of the internet to reach out and share this event with fellow Australians right across the country
Links that will help you support what others are doing
Earth Hour on Twitter https://twitter.com/earthhour_au
Earth Hour on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/earthhouraustralia
Earth Hour in Instagram https://instagram.com/EarthHour_Australia/
And for all those farmers who jumped on the train a long time ago. I salute you
Project Catalyst farmers, working with WWF-Australia, industry, scientists and Government, are leading the way in reducing the fertiliser and sediment run off that is killing the Great Barrier Reef. Meet the unlikely heroes who show it is possible to take action that is good for the farm and good for the Reef.
Some great reflections on this topic from Milk Maid Marian this morning here