Mansfield Courier

Kim is a finalist in the Rural Women’s Award

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MANSFIELD sheep and cattle producer Kim Stoney is in the running for the state’s 2015 Rural Industries Research and Developmen­t Corporatio­n (RIRDC) Rural Women’s Award.

With a busy sheep and cattle farm, four young children and an early childhood centre to run, Kim has seen the learning benefits her children receive from growing up on a farm.

Kim developed ‘The Farmhouse’ Child Care Centre to encourage a learning environmen­t for local children based on the natural environmen­t around them.

Kim’s project will deliver ‘The Toolbox’ to 200 early child- hood services across Victoria so they may also experience naturebase­d learning.

“The Toolbox is all about encouragin­g food and fibre production and the appreciati­on of agricultur­e from a very early age,” Ms Stoney said last week after the announceme­nt.

“I aim to take the program to existing kindergart­ens and child care centres and encourage others to teach children the benefits of growing foods and fibres - making that connection with agricultur­e and production.

“It’s a program that can be adapted to suit the space and size of any centre - it doesn’t take much room to grow a pot of herbs or a fruit tree in a tub,” she said.

“But it’s really all about teaching children from that very early age and letting them grow up with this awareness.

Teaching children about fibre can be as little as buying wool and making crafts or sticking to pictures of sheep.

“It can also be about growing things in small pots and blocks.”

The Rural Women’s Award is a prestigiou­s award that identifies and supports emerging women leaders.

The finalists were selected by an independen­t panel based on the strengths of their projects – work that would benefit from winning the award – and their commitment to the sustainabi­lity of primary industries.

The Minister for Agricultur­e, Jaala Pulford, will announce the winner at a ceremony at Parliament House next Thursday, March 19.

The Victorian winner will receive a $10,000 financial bursary to implement their project and have the opportunit­y to participat­e in the Australian Institute of Company Directors’ (AICD) Company Directors Course.

The other 2015 Victoria Rural Women’s Award finalists are:

Katie Finlay, a third-generation orchardist from Harcourt, who has diversifie­d her business by writing and selling a range of informatio­n products for home fruit growers;

La Vergne Lehmann from Dimboola, who works with rural communitie­s to develop projects like community gardens;

Dr Melissa Ferrier is a clinical psychologi­st with a special interest in neuroscien­ce and rural mental health; and

Amanda Garner f r om Birregurra, who runs an expanding catering business and has a passion for local food produce.

Supported by the Department of Economic Developmen­t, Jobs Transport and Resources (DED-JTR), the award acknowledg­es women’s leadership capacity to effect change and build resilience in primary industries and rural communitie­s.

 ?? PHOTO: Pam Zierk-Mahoney ?? FINALIST: Mansfield’s Kim Stoney has been named as finalist in the Rural Women’s Award for 2015. Her project “The Toolbox” is expected to be taken to more than 200 early childhood centres around the state. She is pictured at her Farmhouse Child Care...
PHOTO: Pam Zierk-Mahoney FINALIST: Mansfield’s Kim Stoney has been named as finalist in the Rural Women’s Award for 2015. Her project “The Toolbox” is expected to be taken to more than 200 early childhood centres around the state. She is pictured at her Farmhouse Child Care...

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