A LONG-standing challenge in farming has been the subtle (or not so subtle) divide that exists between farmers and city folk.
Either from lack of interest, lack of understanding or lack of opportunities, agriculture in Western Australia and more broadly Australia has been an industry many people have not understood.
One event and organisation aiming to tackle this divide is Farmer On Your Plate, an annual one-day event that celebrates and showcases farming and agri-tourism.
Held in the heart of the city in Forrest Place, 20 stall holders from meat producers to lavender farms will be showcasing their products, offering tastings and welcoming conversations around life on the farm and their business.
Farmer On Your Plate is part of a bigger organisation, 'Farming Champions' which was launched by Mary Nenke, a farmer from Kukerin.
In 2012, Ms Nenke realised the stress farmers were under and wanted to start raising public awareness on the importance of farming and how it contributes and flows into the fabric of life we are so fortunate to have here in WA.
As the initial company, 'Alarming Farming' grew, it created a following, eventually evolving into Farming Champions.
Farmer On Your Plate was first launched in 2013 as a way to bring the farm to the city and to continue to raise the profile of agriculture.
According to secretary of Farmer On Your Plate, Leilani Leyland, since 2013 the event has grown and changed drastically.
Originally stall holders weren't allowed to sell their products, which although disappointing didn't hamper the team as it still allowed them to accomplish the main goal of the event, educating people about the origins of their food.
"A couple of years after that they allowed people to actually start selling their products, that was a bonus because many farmers were taking time out of their businesses and it was costing them," Ms Leyland said.
"However it's never been about being like a market stall, the whole thing is education for the city people.
"The benefit of COVID is seeing people become more aware of where their food comes from, and although they have to pay more for it I think they are starting to get an understanding of how important it is to buy home grown food."
Ms Leyland said one of the most wonderful results from the event was the conversations stall holders had with people.
"People want to know and want to learn, and are surprised when they realise how much food is imported and how much food we export as well," Ms Leyland said.
"We export the good stuff, and import the rubbish then we eat the rubbish.
"We're giving all of our good food to other countries - all of that has been part of the conversation, awakening the consumer."
Last year the event saw about 3000 people trickle through during the day, and this year Ms Leyland is hoping to see that number, if not more, depending on unfolding COVID scenarios.
She said people could expect interactivity, with products for purchase along with workshops, cooking demonstrations and tastings available.
They are also expecting WA Governor Kim Beazley and Agriculture and Food Minister Alannah MacTiernan to give an address and there will be a seated area for visitors to listen and watch the cooking demonstrations.
"We want to create that awareness, redefining farming as an essential service and raising the awareness of farmers," Ms Leyland said.
"Our biggest concern for the event is how many people we will attract, with the possibility of many people working from home, so they won't be around the city at lunchtime like normal."
While the final itinerary is subject to change, there will be 20 stalls at the event ensuring something to suit everyone.
"One of our stall holders who has come on board for the first time this year is Tucker Bush, they do a range of Australian native plants and will be showcasing the different varieties at 10am," Ms Leyland said.
"We propose to have another workshop following this at 10.30am but this has not yet been confirmed.
"At 11am we will have all our chefs start, with tastings available for a gold coin donation."
The event was originally scheduled for April 1 but it has now been postponed to September 2.
This new date will then lead into the Perth Royal Show, providing an excellent opportunity to continue to showcase farming and the regions.
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