FOUR inspiration rural women have been named this year’s finalists in the NSW RIRDC Rural Women’s Award.
The finalists are Sophie Hansen, Orange; Fiona Mead, Narrabri; Aimee Snowden, Tocumwal, and Hannah Wandel, Canberra.
Mrs Hansen is a food photographer and blogger. She’s passionate about connecting rural Australians to new audiences.
“I would like to teach farmers how to take beautiful photos on their phones, write recipes to showcase their products and invite the whole world into their kitchen and businesses,” Mrs Hansen said.
If she won the award, Mrs Hansen would develop an online course to teach users the basics of social media.
Mrs Mead is a rural financial counselor and Dorper breeder. If she won the award she would kick off a project to introduce younger farmers onto the land by providing ideas on innovative pathways into farming.
“I was involved in a similar project in Zimbabwe, where my husband and I are from, and I know it can work here, too,” Mrs Mead said.
Readers may be familiar with the Lego Farmer – the figurine who appears on social media to promote Australian agriculture to children. Tocumwal lucerne farmer and agribusiness student Ms Snowden is the lady behind the tiny man.
Ms Snowden entered the RIRDC Women’s award to build the Lego Farmer’s presence.
“I want to expand the Lego Farmer so it can be seen by more children and start more conversations,” she said.
Ms Snowden recently attended a Lego convention in Melbourne where she had a stall to promote agriculture to the public.
Ms Wandel was named a finalist for her work on Project Empower which is a pilot leadership program for rural girls in secondary school to build their skills and confidence to take on leadership and decision making roles in primary industries.
“By upskilling rural women and guiding them into primary industries we can strengthen rural communities,” Ms Wandel said.
This year Ms Wandel led a program called ‘Country to Canberra’ where one girl from each state and territory had the opportunity to meet inspirational female politicians and ask them questions about their work, leadership and gender equality.
Each finalist will receive a $1000 bursary from the NSW Department of Primary Industries for skills and leadership development. The winner, who will be announced next month, will receive a bursary of $10,000 and participate in an Australian Institute of Company Directors’ course.
Primary Industries Minister Niall Blair congratulated the finalists.
“They join an esteemed group of women who have been finalists in this prestigious award over the course of the last 16 years, and continue to work tirelessly to improve our rural communities and primary industries,” Mr Blair said.