PACK your bags for a first-hand look at some of Australia’s agricultural sectors as I hit the road on a fact-finding mission.
That’s right, I’ve jumped in the ute and am on the road with Oxley, my Blue Heeler, working on farms that produce things I know nothing about. I’ll be writing and videoing my way around Australia, so you can share my insights without having to leave your own front gate.
I was reminded of exactly why I’ve decided to take this journey when I looked at my plate of delicious food at a farewell for me with family and friends on Saturday night. The whole barbecued beef eye fillet, a roast chicken, quinoa salad with capsicum, baby spinach and fetta and a garden salad complete with all the trimmings.
When I looked at the plate of food from a producer’s point of view, I only knew about the beef.
In fact, if we were to all sit around and enjoy the produce I’ve grown and worked with, we’d be all wearing nothing but wool, eating lamb and beef with wheat flour, pearled barley (in a good year), and vegetable oil with a side of lucerne. Not exactly a tasty feed and when our Aussie athletes get back from the Winter Olympics in Sochi, I’ll ask them what is was like.
Of the more than 10 commonly featured ingredients I sampled over that meal, there may only be a handful of farmers with the means to produce all those components. Specialisation through industrialisation coupled with geography, weather, markets and knowledge are some of the reasons farmers grow the small selection of what they do.
We all face similar challenges with weather, markets, policies, industry support and distribution channels, but often we know very little about each other’s business or farming operation. Although, it’s a given we certainly appreciate each other as we enjoy the fruits of each others labour.
My critics have regularly attacked me for my youth and viewpoints, and as always I take it in my stride, but stride I shall. I’m an avid traveller and I’ll always get in and have a go.
I’ve been loaded up with a GoPro and video camera from Mick Russell’s “Farmers on Film” project to capture stories, experiences and some inevitably funny stuff for you.
Food and fibre production can’t be learnt from a chair, so rolling up my sleeves with producers around the country seems, for me, the best way to learn all their loves, loathes and about what they grow.
Follow my journey through Twitter, Facebook, Instagram and here on this blog. I’ll be posting images, stories and videos of the farms I visit and people I meet.
In the meantime, stay tuned for updates by following #GetMuddyOnTour across social media.
If there’s anything you want me to do, see, try, eat or maybe even come work with you or someone you know, then let me know here on this blog or visit the Facebook page. Follow Sam on Facebook