Q: When did you start both groups?
A: Perennial Pasture Systems (PPS) has been in operation since 2007. The Girls & Grass Advisory Group (G&G AG) had its first activity in March 2016.
Q: Who are your members?
A: PPS has 151 farming enterprises as members, plus some agri-businesses. Currently there are over 80 direct mobile phone numbers and/or email addresses to women within the group.
Q: What are your five main activities?
A: The Girls & Grass Advisory Group consists of five rural women from across our region, supported by a part-time facilitator. The group reports directly to the PPS Management Committee monthly.
The group is just starting to put runs on the board. Activities in 2017 included:
- A social coffee morning at a local cafe
- Free bus to Sheepvention
- Farm Safety session, walking around a farm with two Worksafe inspectors
- Evening dinner with a guest speaker on the topic of farm succession
- Afternoon of High Tea and Women’s Health
Not all events are women only, but the group brings a different dimension to the PPS group. We want to be inclusive but some events, such as the High Tea and Women’s Health, targeted women only.
Q/A: What are the group’s major priorities for rural and regional women?
- To build on the PPS reputation as being inclusive to all members of the family farm enterprise
- Recognition that women make essential contributions to our agriculture and rural economies
- To build self-confidence in rural and regional women
- To share ideas and learn from our peers in a supportive, friendly environment
- To promote agriculture as a valued and positive career choice
Q: Tell us about some of your proudest achievements?
A: I am proud of the High Tea and Health event. We worked with the Grampians Pyrenees Primary Care Partnership, Women’s Health Grampians and the local medical centre.
Q/A: What are the biggest challenges for rural and regional women?
- Isolation – mainly from peers and in some circumstances family and friends.
- Trying to manage family and work – not everyone lives in their workplace. This raises different issues that are only relevant to other farming families.
- Access to help, advice and education (for themselves).
Q: How do you keep in touch with your members?
A: We send a quarterly newsletter to all PPS members, as well as using Facebook, emails and text messages.
Q: What are you hoping to get out of the Victorian Rural Women’s Network?
A: Information, ideas and discussion on what other groups are doing.
Q: How are you funded?
A: Membership fees, sponsors and grants.
Q: Any future plans you may have or events to talk about?
A: We have approached the local secondary college careers person to assist us with formulating approaches to encouraging students to consider agriculture as a career. We will undertake a planning meeting in early February to set the theme and agenda for events in 2018.
Hosted by the Girls & Grass Advisory Group from the Ararat district, the recent ‘Girls & Grass High Tea’ proved to be a valuable reminder for rural and farming women.
The group held a social high tea, which was a great fun event on its own. But importantly, as part of the afternoon, guests heard from a local doctor with a strong interest in skin health. Dr Novreen Rasool spoke about the dangers of skin spots, how quickly they can turn nasty, what she looks for when checking skin spots, and how to monitor them. Novreen kindly allowed participants to have short one-on-one sessions with her to ask about their spots.
The result for one woman was very timely: on advice from Novreen, Barbara made an appointment with a dermatologist and had the offending spot removed from the back of her hand. She was much relieved that, after thorough testing, the spot proved to be benign.
However, this serves as an important reminder for everyone who spends a lot of time outdoors to monitor and check your skin. If you are concerned about any new or changing spots, contact your doctor now!