SCHOOLS PROGRAM HELPS FUTURE FARMERS
Farming’s future is in good hands thanks to this man’s hardwork
TOM Duncan was named Childers’ Citizen of the Year for 2015 based on his tireless work to ensure the future of farming in the local area.
His work, primarily through his role with the Fruit and Vegetable Growers Association, has evolved over the course of the past decade, and has seen hundreds of thousands of dollars poured into the program.
Mr Duncan walked the Town & Country through the classes FVGA runs at Isis District State High School, and touched on some of program’s history.
“We try to do something with the young ones as that will help ensure the future,” Mr Duncan said.
The program is not limited to the high school, with schools at St Joseph’s, Cordalba, Howard, Booyal, Biggenden and Dallarnil all on board.
The proximity of the primary and secondary schools in Childers means the program can be tailored to suit both.
“If the state school need anything, it can come from the high school students,” he said. “We work with the state school students closely, so by the time they get to high school they know what they can do.
“We’ve had quite a few of the Year Seven kids asking when they can start.”
The set-up is as good as it gets.
At Isis High, students learn the theory inside a classroom chock-full of reference guides and microscopes.
They lead practical lessons in the greenhouses next door, where each student grows their own plant.
It is here they are learning the art of grafting from Mr Duncan, who gives up at least one morning per week to lead classes.
“These are skills they need,” Mr Duncan said.
“A lot of the time you can grow your own stuff.
“It’s great nowadays because people are regularly talking about growing their own food.
“I teach them to graft but we cover all bases with any of our farmers. Avocados, custard apples – you name it.
“We’re very lucky in this area.”
FVGA also sponsors bursary awards for high-performing students.
TOP CITIZEN: Childers’ Citizen of the Year Tom Duncan explains the Fruit and Vegetables Growers Association’s program with Isis District State High School.