SCHOOLS PRO­GRAM HELPS FU­TURE FARM­ERS

Farm­ing’s fu­ture is in good hands thanks to this man’s hard­work

Isis Town and Country - - Front Page - By MATTHEW MCIN­ER­NEY

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.

PHOTO: MATTHEW MCIN­ER­NEY

TOP CIT­I­ZEN: Childers’ Cit­i­zen of the Year Tom Dun­can ex­plains the Fruit and Veg­eta­bles Grow­ers As­so­ci­a­tion’s pro­gram with Isis Dis­trict State High School.

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