Aimee Snowden has been arousing the interest of a whole new generation to agriculture and agricultural careers through her love of LEGO®.
The 28-year-old is based on the family’s irrigation farm at Tocumwal, in the Murray Valley, and runs Little Brick Pastoral, a digital platform designed to engage, inform and inspire.
She travels to schools, careers expos, shows, agricultural field days, workshops and LEGO® exhibitions sharing stories on Australian agriculture and education.
Aimee was a finalist in the NSW/ACT AgriFutures Rural Women’s Awards in 2016 and an Australian delegate to the Global Youth Ag-Summit in 2015.
This year she was an ABC Heywire Trailblazer attending the Heywire Youth Summit in Canberra and pitching her idea in Parliament House, was a key note speaker at the Women on Farms Gathering and a mentoring facilitator with the Lighthouse Project’s Year 9 agriculture camps held at the University of Melbourne’s Dookie campus.
Aimee has been invited as a guest speaker to address the official luncheon at the Henty Machinery Field Days on September 19.
In 2014, Aimee was playing around with macrophotography using a Canon EOS 500D equipped with a 18-55mm lens, snapping images of LEGO® characters in authentic farming setting.
From posting a few photos on line, Aimee tapped into the generational love of LEGO® and moved into the classroom sphere to showcase the diversity of careers in agriculture.
“For Australia to continue to be a global leader, we need to be attracting the brightest, creative and innovative minds into our industry,’’ she said.
“We need to inspire them to feed and clothe the world, and share their skills and knowledge with our industry.’’
As a child, Aimee attended the Henty field days with her parents, Phil and Lynda Snowden, as exhibitors with their Hay Cap business.
“We still go every year for at least one day to check things out,’’ Aimee said.
Within the family business, Aimee’s role is project based giving her a level of flexibility to pick up on opportunities with Little Brick Pastoral.
“I also work off-farm in freelance and casual roles, and Little Brick Pastoral is a project I do on the side.
“Initially I started playing around with a farmer character, put it on social media and it took off from there.
“LEGO® mini figures have come into their own in the last decade and what is about now is worlds away from when I was growing up.
“I thought when I started putting up images on social media people would tell me to stop playing with LEGO®.
“But it took off and became a way of having a conversation about farming and agriculture in a way we haven’t had it before.
“From there, I could see opportunities for it to become an education piece and that’s what got me excited about the opportunities.’’
Little Brick Pastoral partnered with the NSW Department of Primary Industries in 2016 to create a teaching resource called On the Pulse, providing 200 resource kits free to NSW primary schools.
Based around the International Year of the Pulse, the kits contained a variety of information, pulse seeds, Aimee’s photographs and some LEGO® figures.
“It explored careers from paddock through to plate, stemming the myth that a career in agriculture is a farmer who drives a tractor,’’ she said.
“Dad used to have us germinate oat seeds in cotton wool to determine whether the seed would be viable for sowing or stock feed.
“In my naivety I thought all kids germinated seed samples but it wasn’t until I used it on a display at a LEGO® exhibition that I noticed the kid’s fascination with the sprouts.
“That made me start questioning those things so I used that when I had the opportunity to create the educational resource.’’
Facebook, Instagram and Twitter have proved the ideal platforms for Aimee to launch the Little Brick Pastoral brand.
“I have a positive mandate around my pictures so I tend not to be political but be reflective of what we are doing on-farm,’’ she said.
Aimee draws on her own large, personal collection sourced at LEGO® exhibitions and on-line, and uses all standard pieces.
“With regards to the drought, I have been working on how I can tap into our audience and give them information in a non-political, positive way,’’ she said.
“My tag line is to celebrate Australian agriculture.’’