Change, change your life, take it all

As anyone who reads my blog knows 2017 is the year I have chosen to put myself on the top of my To Do List.

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As is typical of me I have risen to the challenge I have set myself in an over zealous  fashion  with the result being I am now an expert in ramifications of grade 3 hamstring injuries and rehabilitation 

The less physical aspect of my investing in me To Do List involves a number of personal and professional development courses. 2016 finished with me getting a scholarship to undertake the  Women in Advanced Leadership program.

The feedback from my mentors was “awesome Lynne but do you want to do a Women Only course”. I wasn’t sure. But what I found when I attended the first face to face workshop was women are pretty special  people. The was a strong focus on soft skills   and giving every opportunity for the participants to share their story .

What truly resonated with me was the women who had phenomenal personal and professional development challenges  who made the decision early on to decide whether they  wanted to either to sit around and blame the rest of the world or see their journey and all its hardships as  a character building learning platform. It was so inspirational to be surrounded by so many women who had made the decision to not be a victim looking for hero to save them.    

Mastermind is on the back burner but getting ready for it and having a major setback has only inspired me to find a personal trainer and get the rehab I deserve.

Investing in me is turning out to be an “interesting” journey

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Putting yourself at the top of your To Do list

I am have never been much good at the work-life balance thing. Nailed the work side but always struggled to get a life. When I made 2017 the year I invested in me and signed up for a diversity of personal and professional opportunities I was starting to feel very comfortable I might start to nail  ‘get a life’

When Zoe Routh invited me to be part of her new Mastermind program I jumped at the opportunity not just because I am a big admirer of Zoe, the Larapinta Walk component was a huge incentive to get fit. I approached the getfit thing with great gusto. I loved it and the places it introduced me to.

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Serpentine Gorge Larapinta

Three months down the track I now find myself with a very serious hamstring injury  (grade 3 with avulsion), with surgery and a brace looking more likely every day and Larapinta definitely off my agenda. Whatever I have done my scans have peaked the interest of the medicos and I am having no trouble getting into see the experts fast. But enough of the negatives.

When fitness becomes a high priority you rethink everywhere you go and are always looking for opportunities to get some training  in and do it in beautiful places of which Australia has many and it has certainly opened my eyes to how wonderful life can be

Let me share with you some of superb places I have been as a result of my get-fit campaign

Let’s start with the Bombah Point Eco Cottages. In January I had the great pleasure of being the MidCoast region’s Australia Day Ambassador. I had spent almost zero time on the MidCoast and knew very little about the region. So out of respect I decided to take a week and drive up and explore the region.

My first stop was the Bombah Point Eco Cottages  an absolute gem recommended by my business coach. The cottages are located 2.5 hours north of Sydney (4.5 hours drive from my bit of paradise) nestled in the Myall Lakes National Park between Seal Rocks, Hawks Nest/Tea Gardens & Bulahdelah.

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My little cottage

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was located adjacent to the entrance to the walking trails and how good were they. So good even the day it got to 46 degrees as soon as the temp dropped 10 degrees and it started to sprinkle I was out there soaking up the atmosphere and providing fodder for endorphin release

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The Eco Cottages are a new venture for host Duncan and his wife Suzie. As the former environmental manager for Cotton Australia, Duncan has a special affinity with native vegetation and the importance of biodiversity  as central to Australia’s cultural identity. Duncan is determined to get it right using a combination of protection and rehabilitation of remnant vegetation and traditional knowledge transfer. Its clear there is no shortage of passion, commitment and vision.

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Everything about Bombah Eco Cottages is designed to make your visit a lifelong memorable experience, with access to the vegie garden and freshly laid eggs from the chook pen .

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The chook palace

and when you visit don’t forget to take the ferry ride and

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visit

Bennetts Beach  (7).JPG Bennett’s Beach

and

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 the Tea Garden’s Boatshed

My 1st, 2nd and 3rd courses where sooooo divine

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sit and soak up the atmosphere

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From here I headed to Forster where the locals describe it as God’s Country….. mmh I could certainly see why they could lay claim to that. Stay tuned for my pictorial of the Forster Region

In the meantime I am taking inspiration from this quote

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Little vs Big Agriculture – are objective views lacking??

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Foodies I need help.

The Picture You in Agriculture team has paired up with the Intrepid Landcare tribe to create and deliver a program that builds on the success of the Art4agriculture initiatives – The Archibull Prize and the Young Farming Champions to help young people in schools get their heads around the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals and take local action

Schools participating in the Kreative Koalas program ( note landing page only at this stage)  will partner with Young Sustainability Ambassadors (Expressions of Interest open here  ) and investigate and reflect on seven of the UN Sustainable Development Goals

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We are finding ‘Responsible Production’ tricky. Coming from generations of primary producers that these days would be seen as Big Agriculture, my mission is to show the Little vs Big Agriculture story is not a binary argument – Good vs Bad or Romantic vs Reality or Sustainable vs Non-Sustainable or Non-Sustainable vs Sustainable but a continuum. I am looking for objective views and some great cases studies on both Little and Big Ag.

Landline is an obvious choice for content but no-one has yet identified OZ food bloggers/journalists of the likes of  Tom Philpot from Mother Jones, Nathanael Johnson from Grist  and  Helena Evich from Politico for me

Do we have food journalists that write level-headed assessments of Australian agricultural systems in plain English?  If the answer is yes – please share them with me

HT Richard Heath and Dr Heather Bray

Nobody is perfect – least of all me

I am a big fan of Will Marre and look forward to having the opportunity to participate in person in one of his seminars.

My post today is a section of his latest newsletter. Its good advice for me and I hope you enjoy it too

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Nobody is perfect . . . at least not by our personal standard of perfection. The most we get in life in anything that we seek is 80% of what we believe we want.  If we are getting 100%, it won’t last. But 80% is a lot.  It’s all we need to be happy and loving.

When we fall in love all that we see is the 80% that we are crazy about.  We ignore the other 20% of annoying habits.  We create the illusion that we have found the perfect person. This wonderful illusion drives us to constantly ask ourselves what can I do to make this person happy. We become faucets of kindness, patience and thoughtfulness. We literally create an ecology of love.

But over time, when the love-fog caused by dopamine and serotonin lifts due to the realities and challenges of life, it is common to start focusing on the 20% of the perceived flaws, faults and imperfections of our beloved.  It isn’t that they have changed. Rather it is how we view them that has changed.  Instead of a faucet, we become a drain.  The whirlpool effect is caused by either silent or vocal judgments, impatience, and criticism.  And what was once sacred can become profane.  Instead of asking “What can I do to make the person I love happy?” we focus on what they can do to make us happy.

Love is verb.  It is what we do that creates love.  The feeling of love is the outcome of a choice to be irrationally positive about the people you deeply love.  Nobody wants to be viewed realistically.  We all want to be valued.  We all need people in our lives who see our highest and best self. And we need to see the highest and best of others. Committing to love someone’s 80% of their best self, and choosing to ignore the 20% of their unfinished self, is a sacred choice.

One last thing.  Finding someone who is 80% perfect for you as a friend or partner is neither easy nor simple.  There’re many people who aren’t even 20% perfect for you.

So, choose carefully.  But as John Legend sings someone’s imperfections are likely to be perfect just for you.

Be the love you seek.

Will

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Creating a buzz around careers in agriculture

Young people who work in the agriculture sector love what they do, they are proud of what they do and they want to inspire other your people to join them.

Getting that message out there has been traditionally tricky and inspired many Nuffield Scholar research projects. I have had the pleasure of meeting a number of scholars from both UK and Canada touring the world looking for initiatives that are kicking goals in this area.

Canadian Scholar Beck Parker has just published her report Inspiring Gen Z to Pursue Careers in Agriculture and Food Its a great read –

Some important learnings from her executive summary include

 Few Gen Zers know about the diversity of careers in agri-food. Many associate agri-food careers ONLY with primary production. Therefore, we must use an edu-marketing approach that focuses on marketing agriculture careers to youth using educational settings and programs. The edu-marketing tactics will build awareness, engagement and commitment to ag careers.

The steps are:

Step 1: Increase exposure of the agri-food sector and the diversity of opportunities available to the general population of youth

Step 2: Provide opportunities for youth to engage with careers through experiential learning (e.g. job shadows, co-op, etc.)

Step 3: Introduce mentors and ambassadors who can offer further positive influence to students who show an interest in agri-food careers

To fully address the labour shortage in agriculture, we need coordinated collaboration between education (schools & education organizations), youth development organizations, and the agrifood sector. Each stakeholder needs to play an essential role and work with the other(s) to ensure that the best possible programming is offered to Gen Z to encourage and inspire them to pursue careers in agri-food.

Collaboration draws on the strengths and resources of each stakeholder, resulting in educational initiatives and programs that excite and engage future agri-food employees.

Again and again this word collaboration comes up. Something we are yet to embrace in Australian agriculture – the capacity to, and realising the power of working together.

The Young Farming Champions (YFC) feature in Becky’s report and we have just published our 2016 YFC Annual Report. This year we had a strong focus on creating a buzz around Careers in Agriculture as part of The Archibull Prize. Becky will be very excited that our research and findings strongly mirror hers

Snapshot

Students were surveyed prior to and at the completion of The Archibull Prize and the results are staggering with a significant shift (from 19% to 52%) in students believing they have a sound knowledge of farming and agriculture.

At the beginning of The Archibull Prize primary school students struggled to identify more than two jobs within agriculture and most suggestions were vague and related to labouring jobs on farm. None of the primary students mentioned science or technical related jobs.

On completion of their projects for The Archibull Prize 64% of the primary students were easily able to nominate up to three different agricultural careers and the jobs they now thought of were more specific (crop duster, farm manager, fashion designer, wool classer etc). The career list also included science based careers such as agronomist, food scientist and veterinarian, which were absent from the entry survey.

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AWI Young Farming Champion Dione Howard explores diversity of careers in the wool industry with Hurlstone Agricultural High School students

Similarly, in the survey prior to The Archibull Prize secondary school students also struggled to identify more than two farming or agricultural jobs, with less than 5% of jobs related to scientific roles. By the end however 30% of the jobs mentioned related to the sciences and other jobs were more specifically labelled. Examples of the range included animal nutritionist, rural real estate agent, crop consultant, geneticist, gin machine operator, horse trainer, banker, food engineer and dog trainer. “There are many other jobs apart from just farming in agriculture,” was one student comment. “You can do anything you want in agriculture,” was another.

Students reported that most of the information about careers in agriculture came from speaking to a Young Farming Champion. Also run by Art4Agriculture the Young Farming Champions Program takes young people working in, and passionate about, agriculture and gives them the skills to communicate and present their story to others. “We had a Young Farming Champion talk to us,” commented one secondary student. “She was an agronomist, which I didn’t know was a profession in agriculture.”

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At The Archibull Awards Ceremony held in Sydney on 22nd November Mr Scott Hansen, Director General of the NSW Department of Primary Industries, also spoke of the assorted careers available. 

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Samuel Carpenter from The Henry Lawson High School at Grenfell won the Professor Jim Pratley award for the case study that accurately portrayed a day in the life of an agronomist – a career he is actively planning for.

Are the Young Farming Champions inspiring young people to take up careers in agriculture. Yes they are and the success stories show the power of collaboration

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Sharna Holman our first YFC who was inspired to follow a career in cotton pathway by a collaboration between Art4Agriculture, RAS of NSW and Cotton Australia

and its creating a domino effect – Sharna has now inspired Emma Longworth

I went to school at Muirfield High School and participated in Art4Agriculture’s The Archibull Prize Program in 2012 as well as the Sydney Royal Easter Show school’s display from 2013-2015. From these opportunities I was given, my passion for science and agriculture definitely commenced.

I graduated from Muirfield in 2015 with an atar of 95.65, 3rd place in the state for Primary Industries and 8th for Agriculture. I’ve always had a love for animals and outdoor adventures and so I followed my next door neighbour, Sharna Holman’s, footsteps by participating in these events and then pursuing a career in agriculture. Unlike Sharna, I chose to move to Armidale and study a Bachelor of Rural Science at UNE and have definitely had the best year of my life.

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advocacy – how to avoid the pitfalls

Over the last few months I have been invited to participate in some events that have significantly lifted my spirits and reinforced I am heading in the right direction.

One of those events led to me being invited to be a community Australia Day Ambassador. I must admit I was flabbergasted (and proud) when I asked what they wanted my key messages to the community to be in my speeches and conversations with people on the day. Wow, The Archibull Prize and the Young Farming Champions concept appears to have no end of value adds for communities right across Australia.

This blog is about the invitation I received from the Australian Women in Agriculture team. AWiA is nurturing 20 young women from the agriculture sector through their AGenHer initiative and those young women were invited to nominate 4 women in Agriculture  that they would like to do a webinar with.

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It was an exciting invitation that I saw as an opportunity for me to hear from them

  • how can Agriculture better invest in its young people
  • what are the personal and professional development gaps for young people
  • how do young people in agriculture hone their newly learned skills in a safe environment
  • who should we be lobbying to help fill those gaps
  • who should be investing the $
  • and what are the safe environment vehicles and opportunities to hone their skills

But there was a trade-off before that conversation happened. The brief  was to firstly share a little bit about my journey and the background behind Art4Agriculture and why my wonderful team of Young Farming Champions do what they do.

My journey mmmmh – not a road I would wish on anybody – the positives yes but how do I help others avoid the nightmares

So as I always do these days I call on others in my life who are much wiser than me in these areas – my brilliant business coach Mike Logan and my very special mentor Zoe Routh

Zoe said talk about what its like to put forward a radical idea that you passionately believe has the best interests of agriculture at its core. A big idea that only a few will get from the beginning and how you bring people on the road to a successful and enduring roll out of that big idea .

So what did I say

I am a big believer in the saying

‘whilst young people may only be 20% of the population they are 100% of the future’

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At Art4Agriculture our mission is to ensure that Australian agriculture is investing in its future.

We are harnessing the energy and enthusiasm of our young people to create a better future- for both agriculture and Australia.

We are helping our young people to be confident and independent thinkers

We are developing their talent and growing their ideas

We are creating a culture of collaboration and cooperation across industry sectors. We are throwing out the silo mentality that has been crippling agriculture for far too long

These skills not only benefit you as individuals they are absolutely critical for the food production systems that provide Australians with 93% of the food that is consumed in this country

Yes, the future of farmers in this country is really important to every single Australian who eats and wears clothes and benefits from all the social and environmental value adds that Australian farmers deliver

From a personal perspective, the reason I do what I do –  i.e. my “why” is

I am a proud farmer and I want my fellow farmers to be loud and proud too. But Australian agriculture hasn’t been traditionally good at sharing its story and I have made it my mission to change that culture. A new culture of communication and transparency and two way conversations

A new culture of selling hope not despair – agriculture has for far too long sold despair.  We sell it par excellence

The reality is – Hope attracts people – Despair repels them

I am big ideas person and often my big ideas have been perceived as quite radical

I am very grateful to the industries who have believed in my big ideas and supported them with funding.

My journey hasn’t been easy. There has been lots of blood, sweat and tears. Lots and lots and lots of tears

At a grassroots level, i.e. my peers – As a broad sweep generalisation women get my “why” They understand that it is pivotal for agriculture to be consumer focused

Men ( again broad sweep generalisation) tend not too – they have this mindset – ‘I am a farmer you should appreciate me’ – ‘Thank a farmer’

Our agricultural boards are stacked with men

So men control where the $ go

They are focused on research and development (R&D) and they don’t think that marketing and looking after our people and building their capacity is a high priority

They don’t see the elephant in the room and that is the biggest immediate threat to farmers’ livelihoods is negative consumer images and perceptions of modern farming practices and how we (the agriculture sector) can meet or exceed consumer expectations.

At an industry level, there is a silo mentality – farming industries in Australia don’t traditionally play well with each other. They compete. Very few people who work in our industry bodies come from farms. They have been to university and they are experts in their fields. They don’t want a farmer telling them how they should do their job.

So how did I cope with rejection after rejection?

One of the best pieces of advice I got in the beginning was to treat the word “no” as “almost yes” and never give up

I surrounded myself with people I could learn from. Interesting enough in the beginning the majority of those people were men.

If you are a big ideas person you tend to be tactical, the men I surrounded myself with have taught me to be strategic

I needed all the help I could get. I started my personal and professional development journey in my 50’s I had a lot of bad habits that I had to undo and personal demons I had to shake off

Note to self- start young

To quote the gorgeous Megan Rowlatt –

INVEST IN YOU – IT’S THE BEST GIFT YOU’LL EVER GIVE YOURSELF

and that is truly the take home message I wish from the bottom of my heart these young women took away from the webinar

Don’t do it my way. My public face and my private life are polar opposites. I wasn’t in any shape or form ready to take on this journey  emotionally

I have no downtime. Getting the best outcomes for agriculture and particularly our young people in agriculture is all consuming and this crusade has taken a very heavy toll behind the scenes.

Resilience what’s that? Getting out of bed and putting on the brave face mask when you go out in public is exhausting. I love what I do but its one thing to have a big idea – its another thing entirely to have the emotional resilience to keep on doing it no matter who or what barriers you come across.

Love this little animation

I have taken Megan’s advice – I only wish I had done it 40 years ago.

2017 is the year I am investing in me and a big shout out to the wonderful people and scholarship providers who are helping me do this.

Take home message ‘Start your journey by investing in YOU

 

 

 

 

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

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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.