Farming Champions is a voluntary group of city and country Western Australians who are passionate about raising awareness of the important role our family farmers play in producing the food on our plates.
It began in 2012 when many WA farmers were in crisis and the Country Women’s Association (CWA) held an ‘Alarming Farming’ day in the eastern Wheatbelt at the tiny town of Varley. Mary Nenke (yabby farmer, the inaugural Western Australian RIRDC Rural Woman and Citizen of the Year 2007 for Regional Development) was an invited speaker along with the then Director-General of Agriculture, Rob Delane. In researching for her presentation, Mary was shocked to learn that in just 10 years 60% of grain farmers had left the industry leaving hundreds of empty houses and poorer communities. As a National Broadband Champion selected by the Federal Labor Government (the only farmer among the 25 Australians), Mary was aware of the importance of championing important issues and had the epiphany that we needed every Australian to become aware of the importance and need for family farmers to look after the land and provide the food on our plates. Farming Champions was born with the support of a number of leading women in agriculture. Within a few months over two thousand people had signed up and a young city-based IT professional, Nick Gale, volunteered to create a Facebook Group. It was through this group that a young women member first conceived the idea for ‘Farmer on Your Plate’ with the first event coming together in five weeks.
‘Farmer on Your Plate’ has celebrated its 10th anniversary in 2022 and continues to connect consumers with family farmers who produce food for Western Australian consumers and contribute to the economic success of our state. The event, held in the centre of Perth, attracts city-based people, as well as farmers and others from regional WA.
Each year a diverse range of WA Agriculture is on display together with Nigel’s farm animals for children to pet (sponsored by the RASWA). Farmers from across the state man their own stands and delight in sharing their knowledge and passion for the products that they produce.
To help in showcasing the produce each year some of WA’s best chefs volunteer to prepare premium produce for visitors to sample and enjoy providing an additional opportunity for city people to engage and learn about the food on their plate and how it is not only produced but best prepared. We are delighted to have sponsors of Buy West Eat Best, City of Perth, Royal Agricultural Society, Countrywide Insurance and Loose Leaf Lettuce Company. Along with previous and returning support from Bannister Downs Dairy, Berry Sweet, and Cornerstone Legal. Other Sponsors over the past several years have been RSM, Radio West, the CWA and Showcase Events.
The event has been very well supported by the media on radio, television and print media in both city and country. Throughout the day the group’s MC and IT expert, John Oliver from York interviews farmers, regional businesses, agricultural leaders and politicians to further help educate the general public.
We are currently planning for future events and encourage any suggestions to be emailed to firstname.lastname@example.org