FarmDay at the Crossroads
Since FarmDay 2012 there has been plenty happening in the world of agriculture. Unlike seven years ago when FarmDay started, nearly every newspaper or magazine or television show is now talking about food production - be it positive or negative. Farmers, or more accurately, agriculture, was voted as the most trusted industry in Australia, and yet we still struggle to engage people in taking on a career in agriculture, and many still do not understand the source of their food and fibre.
Possibly this is because most of our 86% urban dwelling population still don’t really know what agriculture is, or what a farmer really does. People tend to relate to a visual image of a farm...perhaps some nice animals in a pretty landscape, with a man leaning on a fence, enjoying his idyllic lifestyle! Many are unaware of the diversity of technology, genetics, innovation, and farming techniques that go into producing an amazing variety of quality food for an equally amazing diversity of consumers. So they examine their mental image, and say – “that’s not the life for me – farming doesn’t interest me", but fail to understand that the profession of farming underpins a host of interesting, challenging, well paid careers in the sciences, economics and trade, information technology, and many other support services.
I believe, with all the support and participation that has been proffered for FarmDay, we have done our bit to help remedy these misconceptions. FarmDay has had a remarkable journey by any standards. However, we are at a junction that requires us to examine our future, and prepare for a new and exciting format for FarmDay, or possibly to face the fact that FarmDay will need to close. We have grown so much in the seven years that it is now logistically difficult to manage the event in the same way we have been doing. We are also contending with the new harmonisation laws for OHS that have been brought in over the past year. To understand our responsibilities, and the responsibilities of our host families, and ensure the safety of all participants, needs expert advice, and we are looking for that, but have a very small budget with which to engage any legal advice. I feel we cannot seek sponsorship until we are sure that we can manage the legalities adequately.
So, we find ourselves in a bit of a vicious circle, but we are absolutely positive that we can revamp or reinvent FarmDay so that it builds on the wonderful foundations that have been built over the past seven years, and continues the important work of connecting our rural and urban families in the spirit of fun, friendship and understanding
What a Year!!!
FarmDay 2012 is over, the office is closed and we have all gone home to our other lives! Our FarmDay families have some wonderful new knowledge, happy memories, wonderful stories and beautiful photos. It is very rewarding for myself and the team to know we have been able to offer this unique experience for our host and visiting families. The relationships forged through
FarmDay, be it for a day or a lifetime, reconnect rural and urban Australia, and develop a stronger understanding of how our farmers go about the business of providing quality food and fibre, while caring for the environment, their community and their families.
Thank you all for your part in making FarmDay 2012 the very successful event that it was!
I would like to take this opportunity to thank Meat and Livestock Australia for their enduring sponsorship, support and encouragement over the past six years. The support of this organisation has gone far above and beyond what would be a normal sponsor relationship. We have shared plenty of the excitement, fun, frustration and satisfaction that is needed to make all worthwhile things succeed!
Until 2013 I wish you all a safe and happy year filled with delicious food to share with friends and family, and luxurious fibres to keep you comfortable through our changing seasons!
Deb and the FarmDay Team of Amanda, Jodian,Faerlie, AmyLee, Taffy , Penny, Polly, Annabelle, Robbie, Ben and Paul
Its Nearly FarmDay!!!
Families are counting the sleeps till its FarmDay! The anticipation and preparation is reaching fever pitch!
City families are getting gumboots, raincoats and winter woolies organised because rain is certainly in the forecast for a large part of the country! Better take a big plastic bag too to put the dirty clothes in!
Farmers are busy getting jobs prepared for the visiting family, and I suspect there might be a bit of baking going on too!
In the office we are just checking off that everyone's arrangements are in place and still making some last minute matches. We have used nearly every farm in the country except for a few distant ones, and still there are many city families we will be unable to match. This is always very disappointing - both for the families and for us - but is a reflection on the fact that there will always be more city families interested than farms available. For those farmers we didn't get matched we are also sorry. We do have some great families travelling to fantastic farms in places such as Clermont, Charelville, Booligal, Hillston and Geraldton. However, not everyone is in a postition to undertake such a journey, and so some of our farms remain unmatched. We are grateful for everyones patience, support and enthusiasm as we work to ensure we do the best job we can.
PLEASE PLEASE PLEASE
For all those families who have been matched - make sure you are in regular contact with your host so that every one feels comfortable and secure in the arrangements. Our farmers have spent a lot of time preparing for your arrival and are looking forward to their FarmDay. If something serious comes up at the last minute - please contact your host family immediately, and also let the office know on
It is sometimes possible for the farmer to rearrange their schedule to manage a different weekend.
It is a busy time of year all around the country, but please make sure you have been in phone contact with your city family so that they feel comfortable about travelling to a strange place, and know what they need to do to prepare for their journey. Many of our city families have booked accomodation near by, or may be looking for some advice on where to stay. Please also make sure you have carefully read through the insurance and OHS form that was sent to you on the 18th, or more recently if you have just been matched. It is an important document so if you have any questions please call us! If you have any concerns about your match, please call us straight away.
The girls in the office are really looking forward to hearing your stories of adventure and discovery and photos are also a great way to show off the day!
Happy FarmDay everyone!!
Matching is Underway!!
Well, hopefully you have all had a chat with one of the great "girls" here in the office . If you haven't - chances are we haven't been able to make contact for some reason and that means we can't match you yet, as we only can match people we have spoken to! So, if you haven't heard from us give us a call on 1300 367036.
I also need to let you know that we have had a glitch in our email system that sends out our "matched family" emails. It was a troublesome Spam filter apparently. That has been remedied and we are now resending all the 'You have been Matched" emails. So apologies if you have already received yours.
For everyone else, rest assured we are busily matching, and farmers are still coming on board. I urge you to keep the weekend free and not plan anything! Matching can go right up to the last minute if you are able to be flexible. The trick is to keep in touch with us!
This is the pointy end of FarmDay and a lot happens in a short time. We appreciate your patience and understanding as we work hard to ensure you have a great FarmDay experience!
In the meantime for our city families - make sure you have booked the weekend off, got the car in order, accomodation if needed, and have some old clothes, boots, a camera and an idea of what food you might like to bring along to share on the day - remember its like going to visit friends you haven't met yet!
For our farming families - remember this day is about fun, friendship and understanding - so please dont feel pressured to having everything "perfect" for your visitors. They will be looking forward to the experience of being on your farm, seeing the business at work, participating in a few appropriate jobs, and sharing some stories around the kitchen table or the bonfire.
If you are a city family reading this and are still interested in participating in FarmDay, but have not registered - it is probably best to phone us first to check if we can find you a host farm.
If you are a farm family - we welcome your registration anytime - just hop on to the registration tab on this website, or give us a call!
The office is all set up, the girls are in the “call centre” ( my home office!) and it is all systems go! I am thrilled to have Amanda, Jodian and Faerlie back this year, and am also very pleased to introduce AmyLee and Taffy to you. Please feel free to call them if you have any questions about the FarmDay event.
If you are new to FarmDay, welcome! This event has been so successful because it is all about fun, friendship and understanding – and we like to make you feel part of that – we are always happy to chat – so give us a call if you have any questions! We (here in the office) work to match you to a family that we feel will help make the most of your FarmDay visit. The matching is done in a personal way – (no computer matching here!) – so we like to have a conversation or two with you to make sure we get it right! And we usually do! 99% of our approximately 3000 families have had a great FarmDay experience. If you have registered, and haven’t heard from us in the next week, please give us a call – we may be having trouble reaching you.
If you have participated in FarmDay before – we are thrilled you would like to be part of it again!
If you are an experienced FarmDay city family, be warned …we expect a little more!– we will encourage you to travel a little (or hopefully a lot!) further afield. We hope you will build upon the knowledge and experience you gained on your previous visit, and be willing to help spread the word about FarmDay.
To our returning Farm Families – a huge thank you! Your support is absolutely vital to the continuation of FarmDay and our work of helping farmers have their voices heard, and renewing those vital links between rural and urban families!
I will take this opportunity to tell you a little of the background behind FarmDay. In 2005 my husband David and I were sitting at the kitchen table discussing ways of helping to reconnect people in the city. The discussion arose because we had just come back from Melbourne and had been talking to some teenagers about where we lived and what we did, and were quite shocked at how little these “well-educated” children knew about food or farming. So we resolved to invite them up to our farm for a visit. At the same time there was lots of discussion in the news about farming, and little of it was positive. It seemed important to us that farmers should have an opportunity to tell their side of the story – but how? So the two ideas meshed together over a few more cups of tea – and the journey towards FarmDay was underway! The first FarmDay was held in 2006 in Victoria with 75 city families travelling out tofarms all over the state. The event was noticed by Meat and Livestock Australia, who felt that the event was worthy of sponsorship, and we have been lucky enough to be sponsored, and well supported, by MLA ever since.