Our school in Sydney is surrounded by houses
Yet we are lucky enough to have a working school farm which has a flock of Dorper sheep for meat production, cropping and gardens for vegetable production, both laying and meat hens, alpacas for high quality fibre and a calf for exhibition at the Penrith Show. We learn about cattle, sheep, alpacas, poultry, landscape, bonsai, sustainability, and aquaculture and farm management.
What’s even better is technology allows us to show it to you. Take a virtual tour here
As part of participating in the Archibull Prize our school will be visited by an Art4agriculture Young Farming Champion (YFC). You can read all about them here.
One of the things you will notice is not all the YFC grew up in the country or come from a farming background
For example Kirsty McCormack who is a 2013 Cotton YFC was introduced to agriculture at school. See here and got the opportunity to participate in the PICSE program which has this great brochure about careers in agriculture called Science Taking You Places. There is even a story about Kirsty on page 8
Sharna Holman is another interesting story. See here. Sharna grew up in the city like most of us. Sharna attended Muirfield High School.
The school has a 4 hectare farm which allowed us to have cattle, sheep, alpacas, pigs, chicken, bee hives, and of course the obligatory vegetable patches.
I soon found I loved learning more about the links between farming and food, and all about agricultural production. I particularly enjoyed year 11 and 12, when our teacher Ms Heap took our class on excursions and camps to Camden and Bathurst, and we had a chance to go onto working farms.
When I was in Year 10, I was a volunteer at the Sydney Royal Easter Show which was an amazing experience on so many levels including providing insights into consumers’ knowledge (or lack of) of paddock to plate production
I loved working at Australian Egg Corporation Ltd area in the Food Farm. When I volunteered here kids could come in and paint eggs.
It was my Sydney Royal Easter Show experiences from volunteering and then competing as part of Muirfield High School Show Team and then the opportunity to steward at the show that sparked my interest in agriculture as a career and all the doors and opportunities that it opened up.
Like Sharna we are very lucky to have a small farm at our school, inspiring teachers like Mrs Saxon and Mr Murray
You can here Mrs Saxon talk about our school farm here
A number of our students are lucky enough get to participate at the Royal Easter Show too
A number of our students like Sharna and Kirsty have decided on careers in agriculture too. It’s just goes to show if you give young people agriculture experiences they will often follow agriculture career pathways