October 2, 2015
Celebrity environmentalist and television personality Costa Georgiadis used the Henty Machinery Field Days as a platform to urge farmers to create a national dialogue around food.
Costa was a keynote speaker at Henty’s Agri-Centre and Country Lifestyle pavilion on September 22, sporting a T-shirt emblazoned with “Farming is the new rock and roll.’’
The ABC Gardening Australia host encouraged farmers to use digital technology to share their personal stories of food production.
“By sharing the stories we create a compelling local and national dialogue around food,’’ Costa said.
“We will put farming and farmers where they should be – in my view they are rock stars and farmers should be elevated to the top echelon of our community’s priority.
“The most permanent thing in our life is the need to eat and the most permanent connection we have through our food is our farmers.
“Let’s all put farmers and farming awareness and the compelling story line of farming to the top of the list so together it helps us all to make the future of food the number one priority and career pathway for our youth.’’
Costa said agriculture had the potential to employ and nurture.
“Our country is sitting in the most blessed position to have agriculture as the potential future cradle of generations to come,’’ he said.
“We need to bring the stories of all of the people associated with the Henty field days into mainstream Australia.
“We need to be political about food – every time we open our mouths we make a decision whether to support regenerative or degenerative agriculture.
“We should be supporting a local food system that creates a regional identity and, in turn, a national significance around food.’’
Costa said technology was essential in farming but the consequences of automation needed to be considered.
He said robotic or automated systems in agriculture were replacing future jobs.
“Where are the opportunities to create career pathways for our youth?’’ he said.
Building pathways between elders and youth to create mentoring on family farms via digital technology was essential.
“On one hand we have the elders with all the experience and years of knowledge while young people are jumping at the bit ready to go with the latest technology, apps and drones,’’ Costa said.
“But there is a distance between them – the biggest thing we can all do is start to break that distance down.
“We then start to build a synergy which is going to grow the future we need.
“We need to turn around this decline in rural towns of young people leaving. There is so much opportunity to turn around the exodus by making a new compelling dialogue about agriculture.’’