Char­lie Arnott’s award-win­ning cause.

Win­ner of the in­au­gu­ral Thank­ful4Farm­ers award at the 2019 Pro­duce Awards, Char­lie Arnott talks to de­li­cious. about giv­ing farm­ers the sup­port and plat­form they need to get the recog­ni­tion they de­serve.

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FROM FLOODS, FIRES and droughts, to fall­ing com­mod­ity prices and ris­ing tar­iffs, Aussie farm­ers have had a rough ride the past 12 months. In times like these, we could all use a help­ing hand.

To sup­port farm­ers in the cur­rent cli­mate of change, so­cial en­ter­prise Thank­ful has cre­ated Thank­ful4Farm­ers, a ma­jor ini­tia­tive de­signed to am­plify aware­ness and gen­er­ate on­go­ing, sus­tain­able fund­ing for Aus­tralian agri­cul­ture and re­gional com­mu­ni­ties.

The home-grown cam­paign was first launched at the

2019 de­li­cious. Har­vey Nor­man Pro­duce Awards in Au­gust last year. In hon­our of the launch, a new award was cre­ated to recog­nise out­stand­ing con­tri­bu­tion to in­no­va­tion, sus­tain­abil­ity and the com­mu­nity, with the in­au­gu­ral ac­co­lade go­ing to Char­lie Arnott, a bio­dy­namic farmer and gra­zier from Boorowa in New South Wales.

“I was com­pletely flab­ber­gasted,” says Arnott, who sup­plies or­ganic and bio­dy­namic grass-fed beef to butch­ers across the coun­try.

“The award is a won­der­ful ac­knowl­edg­ment of the work that farm­ers do, and I’m just happy that an award like this ac­tu­ally ex­ists!”

An early pioneer and long­time ad­vo­cate of re­gen­er­a­tive farm­ing, Arnott is pas­sion­ate about the Thank­ful4Farm­ers cause.

“What’s dif­fer­ent about Thank­ful4Farm­ers is that it fo­cuses on the long-term out­comes,” he says.

“It’s not fund­ing farm­ers to go out and buy hay, it’s about sup­port­ing farm­ers to de­velop and adopt strate­gies and prac­tices that have long-term ben­e­fi­cial en­vi­ron­men­tal and farm­ing out­comes, es­pe­cially in the tech­nol­ogy space, the com­mu­nity space and the well­be­ing space – these are the three ar­eas that farm­ers need sup­port in.

“We want to build farm­ers’ ca­pac­ity to adapt to the chang­ing world, whether that be the chang­ing cli­mate, chang­ing mar­kets or the chang­ing trends in agri­cul­ture.”

As part of his prize, Arnott was in­vited to ac­com­pany Thank­ful4Farm­ers am­bas­sador and restau­ra­teur Matt Mo­ran on a seven-day trip to the Big Ap­ple to at­tend the first

Thank­ful4Farmer’s Global Ad­vi­sory Coun­cil meet­ing from its new global head­quar­ters in New York.

Set­ting off in Oc­to­ber, Char­lie spent the first few days of his trip at the Atkin­son Cen­tre for a Sus­tain­able Fu­ture at Cor­nell Univer­sity, where he was given an ex­clu­sive tour of the cam­pus.

“Ba­si­cally, Cor­nell is one of the premier agri­cul­tural uni­ver­si­ties in the world, and they have sup­ported and helped de­velop some 20,000 dif­fer­ent food prod­ucts. They are a very for­ward-think­ing bunch and it was amaz­ing to see some of the things they are do­ing in the world of agri­cul­ture and food.”

The fol­low­ing day, Arnott joined in­dus­try ex­perts and thought lead­ers at the in­au­gu­ral Global Ad­vi­sory Coun­cil meet­ing to lay down the foun­da­tions of the coun­cil and dis­cuss some of the grow­ing chal­lenges fac­ing agri­cul­tural com­mu­ni­ties across the world. This was fol­lowed by a week­end in Penn­syl­va­nia, stay­ing at the prop­erty of the Amer­i­can Thank­ful4Farm­ers’s chair­man, John Wilkinson. Here, Arnott was wel­comed with a fes­tive barn din­ner. To end the trip, Arnott trav­elled back to New York for a three­course feast pre­pared by Mo­ran on a Fifth Av­enue rooftop.

Back on home soil, Arnott has con­tin­ued to run his work­shops and talks, which aim to ed­u­cate the in­dus­try on re­gen­er­a­tive farm­ing tech­niques, and how it’s pos­si­ble to im­prove pro­duc­tion while min­imis­ing our im­pact on the land.

“But it’s not just up to the ‘feed­ers’,” Arnott says. “It’s also about the ‘eaters’ too. We need to en­cour­age eaters to be more in­ter­ested in their food and ask bet­ter ques­tions about where it comes from and what the im­pacts have been,” he says. Con­sumers can help Thank­ful4Farm­ers by pur­chas­ing prod­ucts that bear the Thank­ful4Farm­ers logo.

CLOCK­WISE: Char­lie Arnott with his tro­phy at the Pro­duce Awards; Arnott ex­am­ines an­i­mal bones as part of his farm’s com­post­ing process; the Thank­ful4Farm­ers crew; dis­cussing the com­post process with chef Matt Mo­ran; be­fore show­ing him the cat­tle on his farm.

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