YANCO Agricultural High School students of the ag action team celebrated Riverina produce last week when they hosted the school's inaugural Paddock to Plate Freshness at your Fingertips evening.
With the aim of promoting agriculture in their school and the community, the students were first interested in planning a field day but the similarity of this to their annual gala day and difficulties in bringing it to life meant they had to look elsewhere for inspiration.
Ag action team members Marcie Gray and Audrey James said the group came up with the idea of hosting a night to celebrate local producers within the Riverina, while allowing the attendees to learn about the supply chain behind the business.
"It was a good event to bring the community together ... there is not many events like this, especially in schools," they said.
"It sets the school apart, and makes it unique. Hopefully it becomes a tradition."
The event celebrated a range of businesses including Coolamon Cheese, Casella Wines, JBS Australia and Verve Hill, with four speakers from these respective businesses presenting to the crowd of about 100 people, while their produce was consumed within the three-course meal.
YAHS head teacher of agriculture Luke Collins said it was wonderful to watch the young adults in the school's ag action team take a concept and run with it to produce an evening that wasn't just an event, but an experience.
"It goes to show what can be achieved when we empower our youth," Mr Collins said. "A lesson that can be learned as farmers look to hand over or lossen the reigns to the next generation of youth as they take to the farm."
He said the night had two main purpose - to create an experience and promote the school, agriculture and the Riverina as a food bowl, while raising funds for Careflight and Friends of Luro.
"This alligns itself closely with the interactive community era in which this period of time we are currently in," he said.
"It lends itself to a principle that businesses need to engage with consumers, and in fact consumers demand that happens.
"Each of the farmers in the room will likely tell you the farmers of the future can't just drive a header, they need to be comfortable talking about markets and have a sound understanding of what drives consumer demand, which was conveyed in all the (guest) speeches tonight.
"So when you can, buy local. Shake the hand that feeds you."