An entrepreneur who captures her own life on the land and teaches farmers how to connect Australians with fresh, locally-grown and seasonal food, has been acknowledged at Parliament House tonight.
Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Agriculture Barnaby Joyce announced farmer, author and food blogger Sophie Hansen, from Orange in NSW’s Central West, as the 2016 Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation Rural Women’s Award winner to 300 industry leaders, parliamentarians and award alumnae.
“These awards shine a spotlight on terrific initiatives occurring in regional communities that deserve acknowledgment,” Minister Joyce said.
“Winner Sophie Hansen, through her blog “Local is Lovely”, champions the beauty of life in country NSW, as well as our locally grown produce. She empowers our farmers to use their own social media channels to show the world what they are great at, putting food on our tables while giving us a glimpse into their own world on the farm.”
Ms Hansen received $10,000 to further develop ‘My Open Kitchen’, a unique online learning course assisting food producers to embrace the power of social media to share their food stories and connect with consumers.
“My ever-constant goal is to support and celebrate Australian farmers by encouraging consumers to seek out their produce as directly as possible, then cook and share it,” Ms Hansen said.
Member for Calare Andrew Gee MP said: “Our region could not be prouder of Sophie. Calare has become famous for its high-achieving rural women, and its work like Sophie’s that is showing the next generation of farmers that they do have a future on the land.”
RIRDC Managing Director John Harvey said Ms Hansen’s desire to support farmers to use social media to capture their stories is an example of rural leadership at its best.
“Sophie will be a brilliant ambassador for the RIRDC Rural Women’s Award. She has the talent to create real change through influencing the conversation around educating consumers on where their food comes from and to buy local. This is a really positive message that will benefit our farmers and the broader food industry,” he said.
Runner- up Western Australian seed producer, Kalyn Fletcher, from Kununurra will use her $10,000 bursary to expand tropical agriculture in Australia’s north.