Distance no obstacle for Darkan women

25 Oct, 2014 01:00 AM
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The Darkan contingent of women who travelled to Varley to learn about Women in Farming Enterprises; Michelle Gooding (back left), Lomond South, Janelle Smith, Katie Hulse, Melita Jefferies, Melanie Ewen (front left), Karen Harrington, Helen Lubcke and Karyn Buller.
"It's really been an inspirational trip.
The Darkan contingent of women who travelled to Varley to learn about Women in Farming Enterprises; Michelle Gooding (back left), Lomond South, Janelle Smith, Katie Hulse, Melita Jefferies, Melanie Ewen (front left), Karen Harrington, Helen

DISTANCE was no obstacle for a group of Darkan women who gained a grant to attend the Women in Farming Enterprises (WIFE) annual seminar in Varley last week.

The busload of women who wanted more out of their regular coffee meet-ups used an Australian Wool Innovation (AWI) grant to fund their trip and learn what WIFE was about.

Organiser Janelle Smith hosted an AWI-funded workshop looking at growing farmer networks and said enthusiasm for a women's group had come out of this.

She and a few other local women had considered forming a group with regular meetings, but nothing had eventuated.

"I saw attending the WIFE seminar as an opportunity to get everybody together and actually see what we could make of it," she said.

"It's really been an inspirational trip.

"I've gotten a lot out of it as a stand-alone event, but I can see how doing it regularly could be great for us.

"Many women don't usually go to farming events or groups because it's dominated by men and if they do they rarely speak up.

"A group such as WIFE would help to make sure women had an outlet."

Ms Smith said forming a WIFE group in Darkan would be discussed, and she looked forward to meeting more people in her area.

Varley WIFE member Lynette Gittos has been working to spread the networking organisation across rural WA.

Ms Gittos has been talking with different regions since May and has helped branches form in Ongerup, Lake Grace and Cranbrook.

She said the value of attending WIFE meetings went beyond the valuable information gained, listing the friendships and networks she has formed as enjoyable and inspiring.

"We really want people to know that they don't need to work in agriculture or even live on a farm to participate, they'll meet great people in their area and share life experiences," Ms Gittos said.

"It would be great to see WIFE spread across WA and maybe even into other States so that rural women can enjoy the friendships that WIFE helps you form."

FarmWeekly

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