Local, Independant and Effective

It takes a village to raise an agricultural child

Posted June 25, 2013


When most people think of Mansfield, they think of the high country: fresh air, horse riding, Mount Buller and Lake Eildon.

It’s another beautiful part of our diverse region, and one that is home to some truly admirable members of our community. Cathy’s travels this week took her to Mansfield to catch up with Julie Aldous; an award-winning teacher and passionate advocate for agriculture. As Cathy also has a background in education and farming, she was keen to meet up with Julie to find out more about her work.

Through her work at Mansfield Secondary College (with a school population of 450) Julie has introduced a highly successful program to promote agriculture in the area. Known as "AgriBusiness - the Mansfield Model", this program for students in Year 9 and 10 involves eight hours a week of theory and practical work in the 'real' world. It’s a fantastic initiative that recognises that the unique educational needs of rural students should be reflected in the curriculum. Over eighty partners in the district are involved in mentoring students in food and fibre production. Essentially, Julie’s program takes on the old adage that ‘it takes a village to raise a child’, and everyone involved in the program should be congratulated!

Speaking from her farm at the foot of Mount Samaria State Park, Julie informed Cathy that before the course began only four or five students would go onto complete agriculture. Now in excess of twenty students a year complete Certificate II in Agriculture, and many go on to complete Certificate III and school based apprenticeships or traineeships. It’s no wonder that Julie has been recognised nationally for her work in pioneering this course and has input to the Victorian Government "Inquiry into the Capacity of the Farming Sector to Attract and Retain Young Farmers and Respond to an Ageing Workforce". (Copies of the report are available from here.)

Lots of exciting and interesting things are happen in Indi. Do you know someone else in our community who deserves recognition or would like to talk to Cathy about raising awareness of an issue? Send us a memo here and we’ll be in touch!

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