INSPIRING women in regional communities to improve their mental and physical wellbeing through movement - that's the aim of Denmark-based farmer and online business owner Louise O'Neill who last night won the 2022 AgriFutures WA Rural Women's Award.
Ms O'Neill runs Farm Life Fitness, which aims to overcome the constraints of long distances out in the bush to deliver one-on-one coaching and live online group fitness workouts.
Speaking at last night's awards ceremony, held at the Pan Pacific Hotel in Perth, she said just because people choose to live or work rurally, doesn't mean they should miss out on services to improve their mental health and wellbeing.
"I started Farm Life Fitness and went online with it for that very reason - to break down the barriers that we often come across when living rurally," Ms O'Neill said.
"There are also people who suffer with confidence when it comes to going to a gym and the logistics of trying to go to a class and needing to figure out child care, or how to fit it in during seeding and harvest, are really difficult.
"Breaking down those barriers of logistics and time management means people can move whenever they want and they can move for their mental health."
Ms O'Neill won from a field of three finalists including pastoralist Debbie Dowden and Vasse Valley Hemp Farm co-owner and operator Bronwyn Blake.
Ms Dowden, who is based on a 200,000 hectare cattle station east of Mount Magnet, aims to explore opportunities for natural capital accounting to structure landscape regeneration targets and sustainable agriculture on her family property.
Dr Blake has played an instrumental role in founding Australia's first hemp co-operative and WA's first industry body and wants to increase consumer awareness of hemp seed as a nutritional powerhouse.
Ms O'Neill will receive a $15,000 business development bursary to broaden her business in collaboration with local government and community groups.
She will also represent WA at the national AgriFutures Rural Women's Award in September.
For more on this story, see next week's issue of Farm Weekly.
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