WMG event draws a captive audience

31 Jul, 2015 02:00 AM
Rayana Rose (back), Anita Negus and Melinda Leeds from Dandaragan with Plumgrove representatives Rikki Foss and Hayley Hooks.
Rayana Rose (back), Anita Negus and Melinda Leeds from Dandaragan with Plumgrove representatives Rikki Foss and Hayley Hooks.

THE annual Women, Wellbeing and Wine event hosted by the West Midlands Group last Tuesday was well attended by women from far and wide across the region.

The day was entertaining and followed the theme From Paddock to Plate with the key note speakers being varied and interesting to a captive audience.

Founder of From Paddock to Plate, Louise Fitzroy, flew in from Melbourne especially to take part in the event.

Ms Fitzroy grew up in rural New South Wales and is a renowned rural reporter with the ABC.

She has travelled all over rural Australia talking to farmers discovering all the unique takes on why they do what they do and how they manage their farming operations.

Ms Fitzroy talked about her From Paddock to Plate schools program and highlighted the health and wellbeing benefits for students who use the educational program.

The schools program which meets key Australian curriculum criteria is now being used in 70 schools in NSW.

The program has been created to inspire students to become more aware of where their food comes from and how it is grown.

Ms Fitzroy said: "Our focus is to educate students throughout Australia, and try to get them interested enough so that some of them realise that agricultural studies would be a great career path they could become involved in."

Just last week the From Paddock to Plate App was launched which takes you on a food journey and demonstrates how local producers can use this tool to gain direct access to consumers using the App.

The App is a free download using either your Apple or Android device.

The App will give you all your recipes and the availability of fresh food and the nearest producer or farmer's market to your location.

Guest speaker Danelle Smith from RSM Bird Cameron spoke about the cost of educating your family and advice about how you can plan ahead.

Ms Smith outlined the options of how to finance the cost of schooling in Perth.

She gave comparisons of paying boarding fees versus relocating the family to Perth and also explained what government allowances are available to rural families.

Joan Cook, co-founder with husband David, of Dandaragan Organic Beef, took us on the journey they have had when 15 years ago they chose to farm organically on their 3000ha property in Dandaragan.

The Cooks run about 1800 head of cattle and send between 15 and 20 head a week to the Gingin abattoir and they then supply their butcher outlets in Perth.

This process is followed each week for 12 months of the year.

Ms Cook talked about the family decision to farm without the aid of chemicals and the marketing of their nutritious quality beef.

She also talked about their holistic grazing system and how they have introduced perennial pastures onto nearly half of their property.

Dandaragan Organic Beef is committed to continue working with nature to improve the health of their soils, the health of their pastures and animals.

The cattle roam free on the pastures all year round and they are treated with care and respect.

Communications expert Caroline Harry shared her knowledge and skills on how we can short circuit habits and add richness to our relationships through mindful communication.

The final guest speaker of the day was Kate Tonkin, RealFoodRealYou.

Ms Tonkin hails from Geraldton and she talked about how we are continually blasted by food information - promises of new diets, super foods and complicated messages about eating.

She has explored the reasons behind this food explosion and how our crazy world has turned food into a big fat complicated mess.

Ms Tonkin gave practical and simple tips on how to regain control and d restore a healthy relationship with real food.

"Humans are the only animals that are told what to eat," she said.

Local chefs from The Woodshed Caf((xE9))é in Coomberdale catered for the day providing a wonderful home cooked morning tea, and scrumptious lunch using local produce from Dandaragan Organic Beef, Ryan Potatoes and Manavi Farm Eggs.

Ladies were also given the opportunity for some retail therapy from a wide range of local and regional market stalls.

The West Midlands Group women's committee was the backbone behind the day with their superb organisation of Women, Wellbeing and Wine.



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