The second annual Gippsland Women in Horticulture event has brought passionate and dedicated women together to celebrate participation, productivity and innovation in Gippsland horticulture.

Held on Thursday 23 August 2018 in Churchill, Victoria, the event was organised and introduced by Shayne Hyman, Vegetable Industry Development Officer for Victoria – Gippsland. It brought together around 30 participants from the Gippsland vegetable industry, including AUSVEG representatives, to celebrate the successes of the region’s sector.

Participants heard from a number of inspiring industry speakers, including:

  • Maree McPherson – Author, mentor, facilitator, coach and speaker
  • Kate Wallis – Executive Manager – Regional & Agribusiness Banking, Gippsland, Commonwealth Bank
  • Dr Nicola Watts – CEO, East Gippsland Food Cluster
  • Emma Germano – Horticulture Group President, Victorian Farmers Federation
  • Jo van Niekerk – Territory Manager – Victoria, Boomaroo Nurseries
  • Dr Jessie Horton – Senior Program Officer, Economic Development & Investment Agriculture, Latrobe Valley Authority

Each speaker highlighted past challenges and growing opportunities for female leaders in the Gippsland region, as well as the importance of understanding and recognising what drives people to lead.

Importantly, the event also highlighted that leadership is not simply a position in an organisation, but also a way of thinking and an approach to every aspect of life. The event helped attendees think about how to identify situations in their workplaces where they should take initiative and lead – as one speaker stated, “We all step in and out of leadership every day.”

Many speakers discussed the importance of telling provenance stories around seeds, plants and food from Gippsland. Consumers of niche and premium produce lines have a huge drive to understand the traceability, sustainability, food quality, and fair production of their food, so establishing provenance stories will be invaluable in helping Gippsland horticulture access these valuable consumer segments.

After lunch, the group broke out into special interest groups to discuss special interest areas like health and wellbeing, leadership and advocacy, and organic and local food. For 30 minutes, the groups discussed things that were being done well, highlighted key and current areas that require improvement, and brainstormed ways to mitigate or overcome issues affecting future success.

Overall, the day was a great success, giving participants the opportunity to reflect on and celebrate Gippsland’s horticulture industry and start a conversation about what is working and what needs improving, as well as providing valuable networking opportunities for industry members in the region.

The event was made possible by the East Gippsland Food Cluster, VegNET Gippsland, Hort Innovation, Commonwealth Bank, Boomaroo and Federation University.

This post appeared in the AUSVEG Weekly Update published 28 August 2018. Subscribe to the Update using our online form to receive the latest industry news in your inbox every week!