IT is a home grown program that has proved a hit with schools across Sydney.
Now the call has gone out for Illawarra and South Coast schools to take part in the 2013 Archibull Prize as it expands across the country with the support of federal government funding.
An Art4Agriculture initiative, the Archibull Prize promotes agricultural and environmental awareness in schools through art, design, creativity and teamwork.
Jamberoo dairy farmer Lynne Strong, national program director, said the Archibull Prize has visited more than 50 schools across NSW in the past two years, the majority in metropolitan Sydney where the program was proving very popular.
Schools are given a blank, life-sized fibreglass cow on which they create an artwork related to the theme of “what it takes to sustainably feed and clothe the community for a day”.
Each school is given an industry to explore and showcase – either beef, dairy, wool or cotton.
Schools are paired with young farming champions and young eco champions who share their sustainable farming stories and work with the students through the duration of the project.
In the Illawarra a high calibre team of champions has been formed which includes Conservation Volunteers Australia regional manager Renae Riviere, the 2013 Shoalhaven young citizen of year Jess Monteith – who in 2012 after being crowned Berry Showgirl was runner-up in the state showgirl competition – and Wollongong environmental campaigner Megan Rowlatt, who last year took out the prestigious National Landcare Award.
Ms Strong said the motivation behind the Archibull Prize was to give farmers an opportunity to have a two-way conversation with their future customers.
“It is a chance for farmers to share their story, but also get feedback from people about the products they provide as well,” Ms Strong said.
“The way the current supply chain is structured makes it hard for farmers to build relationships with their customers because there are so many people in the middle ... this offers farmers an opportunity to go in and build direct relationships with future customers.”
Ms Strong said farmers were the best people to raise awareness about agriculture because they were the ones people wanted to talk to most about it.
“People are interested in what farmers do and have to say,” she said.
“This is a fun way to do that and keep kids engaged while they are doing something different.
“We have schools in Sydney queuing up and it would be great to see more schools from the local area take part.”
Up to 10 schools will have their creations exhibited at the 2014 Sydney Royal Easter Show, with Ms Strong hoping local councils may come on board to help
provide a space for schools to showcase their works
Teacher and school representatives interested in taking part can visit the websitewww.art4agriculture.
com.au or email lynnestrong@art4agriculture.