This blog shares our school’s journey to work as a team and learn new skills and most importantly have fun

We get to meet and talk to young farmers, learn more about where our food comes from and the farmers who produce it and hopefully win the The Archibull Prize 2014

So what is the Archibull Prize?

The Archibull Prize is an innovative and fun in-school program, the Archibull Prize traverses the boundaries of communication between rural providers and city consumers. Put simply, the program is an agricultural and environmental themed art competition for primary and secondary student groups.

But the Archibull’s aims are much greater than this.

The Archibull Prize brings the farm into the classroom.

It provides students with opportunities to meet young farmers and to gain knowledge and skills about the production of the food they eat, fibres they use and the environment they live in.

It creates an opportunity for students to work together to create an amazing artwork that tells the story of farming as they understand it.

It builds relationships between schools, industry, business and the community as they progress through the Archibull Prize’s different elements.

It raises awareness of exciting career pathways.

It promotes change and fosters two-way conversations.

And it builds lifelong relationships between consumers and their farmers.

The Archibull Prize is an integrated program which will engage us in agricultural and environmental awareness through art, design, creativity and teamwork by:

  • Providing a blank, life-sized fibreglass cow for students to create an artwork on or to use as the subject of an artwork.
  • Giving each school their own primary (food or fibre) industry to explore and showcase. In 2014 this will be Beef or Dairy or Wool or Cotton.
  • Pairing schools with Young Farming Champions and Young Eco Champions who share their sustainable farming journey and work with the students throughout the duration of the project.
  • Supplying a resource kit with curricular connections.
  • Supplying Matisse paints.
  • Connecting farmers, natural resource managers and industry and community experts e in.

A key part of the program connects us will Young Farming Champions

One of the biggest challenges agriculture currently faces is how to get the next generation of farmers involved when farming is becoming more complex, high investment and hard work, on top of the perception that it is a low return business.

Since the turn of the century, the amount of viable agricultural land has been decreasing by about 1 percent every year. This means the majority of the additional food needed by 2050 will come from being able to grow more food on less land.

The Young Farming Champions (YFCs) understand the challenges farmers face, and know that becoming a farmer is no longer a birth right but a conscious choice by rural entrepreneurs. They are agriculture’s freshest advocates, who believe in being proactive in finding solutions.

Art4Agriculture’s YFCs represent specific primary industries – Cotton, Wool, Cattle and Sheep, Dairy and Grain – and they are paired with students participating in The Archibull Prize. These passionate and enthusiastic young farmers are the real life link between farm and classroom. They love what they do and they can’t wait to start conversations with consumers.

This is where WE come in.

All of us consumers, playing a vital role in the paddock to plate and field to fabric cycle. Consumers are the driving force behind how and why food is produced. This means we also have responsibilities.

According to the World Wildlife Fund, our current global footprint exceeds the world’s capacity to regenerate by 50 percent. If we continue consuming as we do today, we will need the equivalent of two planet Earths by the mid-2030s.

It’s even more disturbing to hear Australia has one of the world’s largest ecological footprints per capita. More than 50 percent of Australia’s footprint is due to greenhouse gas emissions, with the average household emitting around 14 tonnes of greenhouse gases each year. If all countries consumed the amount of resources that Australian’s do, it would take three Earths to support their lifestyle.

So another very important question is: How do we reduce waste and produce more food, with less water, chemicals and fertiliser?

The message is clear and urgent.

We need to develop relationships along every step of our supply chain, enabling farmers and consumers to make informed decisions about food and fibre choices, and farm production systems. We have to recognise that by becoming more informed, one by one, we can all make a difference.

Fresh ideas and innovative solutions are needed to start building this partnership between farmers and consumers for a sustainable future, and The Archibull Prize is the first simple step.

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