Kim is a finalist in the Rural Women’s Award
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.