Global dirt on hands of city kids

Students prove there's more to agriculture than just being a farmer

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Science students explore various agricultural careers.

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IT’S not just the country kids who are out and about getting their hands dirty, city kids are out to prove they too can make a difference in agriculture. 

Third year University of Western Sydney student Grace Scott was awarded the Sir John Pagen memorial scholarship for horticulture as part of the Big Brother Movement last month at NSW Parliament.

Third year University of Western Sydney student Grace Scott was awarded the Sir John Pagen memorial scholarship for horticulture as part of the Big Brother Movement last month at NSW Parliament.

Studying sustainable agriculture and food security at Western Sydney University’s Hawkesbury campus, students, Grace Scott, Megan Hounslow, Jarrod Willemse and Sean Andrews-Marney prove there’s more to agriculture than just becoming a farmer, by recently starting international internships. 

While Grace Scott was awarded the Sir John Pagen memorial scholarship for horticulture as part of the Big Brother Movement last month, Megan Hounslow had recently returned from the Solomon Islands where she volunteered with Kokonut Pacific.

“Going to the Solomon Islands was a real eye opener. You hear about our pacific neighbors all the time and going there is completely different in terms of agriculture, because coconuts are a big thing for them,” Ms Hounslow said.

She said over a 10 day period she worked on a coconut recycling project and conducted numerous scientific experiments. 

For duo Jarrod Willemse and Sean Andrews-Marney, they took an international study tour to Bombay, India, where they were each allotted an agricultural research project to conduct there.

As a Horizon Scholar Grace Scott said she had completed work experience at CSIRO, Canberra, where she worked with genetically engineered types of cotton.

As a Horizon Scholar Grace Scott said she had completed work experience at CSIRO, Canberra, where she worked with genetically engineered types of cotton.

Mr Willemse said his project was to design a seed storage system for farmers that didn’t need electricity, while Mr Andrews-Marney tackled the problem of malnutrition and hygiene.

“As part of the tour they took us out to villages, working with Non Government Organisations to educate farmers about different management practices in growing fruit and vegetables, while teaching them about health and hygiene, because they don't know much about sanitation,” Mr Willemse said. 

“To study in the field of agriculture, people don’t really think of it is a viable job,” Mr Andrews-Marney said. 

“We’re at a critical time in agriculture, because it has a huge relationship with climate change, not to mention the economic side of things.

“Agriculture can fill the void a little bit more, particularly in being able to produce more food.”

Science education and engagement coordinator April Browne said she wants her students to learn what the full breadth of agriculture is.

“Australia does agriculture really well and we’re really innovative,” she said. 

“We push the students to think beyond the classroom.”

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