Visible Farmer’s final story of the year features waterlily flower farmer Kathy Cameron who says that it is important to share the voices of women in agriculture.
Although Kathy does not have a farming background, growing up in the picturesque region of Kent, United Kingdom, she was heavily influenced by the surrounding berry farmers and the ‘garden of England.’
When their children left home, Kathy and her husband decided to leave their city jobs and start growing ‘food for the soul’.
Located in Margaret River, Western Australia, roughly 300km south of Perth, the pair hold the unique title of the only dedicated cut flower producers for waterlilies and lotus flowers in Australia.
“My mother used to grow everything we ate so growing things has always been a big part of my life,” Kathy said.
“We wanted something that would work on a small scale so we just decided to give it a go and the flowers drew us in and it kept us going through the ups and downs.
“Our approach to agriculture is a very strong partnership and I feel every bit very much as equal as a farmer to Marty my husband.”
The flower industry, more specifically the cut flower industry, is a small but powerful sector of Australian agriculture with 900 flower farms across Australia producing cut flowers worth $280 million per annum.
As Australia still imports more than 40% of its cut flowers, Kathy said there were many misconceptions about the business of flower farming.
“Flower farming isn’t skipping down a lane la de da in a white linen dress picking beautiful flowers, it involves mud and dirty finger nails and a lot of hard physical work.
“It’s something that takes seven days a week for five months of the year but it makes for a fantastic office.”
“What we’ve found is that water lily farming is no get rich quick scheme, it’s a passion project.”
A proud farmer and community member in the Margaret River region, Kathy takes immense pride in her work and says that women in agriculture should take more pride in the role they play.
“I think as women we need to become more confident in the contribution that we make, whatever that contribution is in the farm, in the business, in the family.
“If you’re participating in that pie chart, and you’re working on a farm, you’re a farmer.”
See Kathy’s full Visible Farmer episode here: