ALTHOUGH delayed due to COVID-19, the 2020 AgriFutures WA Rural Women's Awards celebration was finally held last week.
Among the beautiful Kings Park setting of Fraser's Restaurant, West Perth, more than 90 women and men from regional, rural and remote (RRR) communities and industries gathered to praise women whose projects were innovative, inspiring and worked to improve their regional community.
WA Agriculture, Food and Regional Development Minister Alannah MacTiernan attended the luncheon and said the work that the five finalists had done through their individual projects was exciting for regional communities and industries.
"All the finalists here have fantastic projects and I'm excited to be involved with and wish them all the best going forward," Ms MacTiernan said.
"One thing we should never lose sight of is what regional life has to offer - I go to regional communities and the strength of the glue there is quite extraordinary.
"Never let us forget the incredible sense of community that is in regional communities - let's celebrate that."
RRR Network chief executive officer Kendall Galbraith said the event was great to finally showcase regional women and their unique, powerful projects.
"What we were able to achieve today was an opportunity for women to get the platform they were always promised but because of COVID they missed on being able to share their projects, so we were able to give back to them and celebrate their projects," Ms Galbraith said.
"From a RRR Network perspective, the theme that I got out of our speakers was how important it was for women to feel like it they are given opportunity to explore their ideas from the regions."
With an engaging welcome to country delivered by Ingrid Cumming, coupled with insight into Aboriginal communities in the regions and how 2020 AgriFutures WA Rural Woman of the Year, Cara Peek, Broome, has had a positive impact through her project, Ms Galbraith said the power of Aboriginal women was highlighted at the event.
"It was wonderful to have an Aboriginal perspective leading the room," she said
"There was such a powerful theme of Aboriginal women in today's event and it was great to have a light shining on the Aboriginal perspective."
Ms Peek's project aimed to progress the Saltwater Academy, which celebrates the heritage of the Kimberley Aboriginal pastoral industry and provides related emotional, economic and cultural initiatives.
Lauren Bell, Broome, was the runner-up for her start-up Waste Not Food Recycling, which uses insect farming to address a community waste issue and turns that into a stock feed product for agricultural and aquacultural industries.
Finalists for the 2020 award were Kendall Whyte, founder of the Blue Tree Project, Perth; Jo Ashworth, co-manager of the Kalannie Community Resource Centre; and Lucy Anderton, a farmer from Albany who developed myFARMSMART.