Women’s Grower Study Tour 2014-2016
The key objective of the mission was to provide an opportunity for leading women in the Australian vegetable industry to gain a unique insight into new farming methods, equipment, technologies and strategies currently being used in European horticulture. As emerging leaders in their own right, the participants had ample opportunities throughout the mission to learn from their European counterparts as well as each other, and identify areas of improvement for their own farms. Importantly, the mission also recognised the pivotal role that women play in the Australian vegetable industry and allowed participants to develop networks and discuss mutual areas of interest. The group consisted of a diverse range of participants representing five Australian states and they each held a different role within their respective businesses, from co-owners and business support roles to on-farm responsibilities in production and agronomy. This allowed participants to share and discuss their diverse range of knowledge and experience and ultimately learn from each other. The group also met and networked with many influential women in the European horticulture industry throughout the mission and were able to forge key contacts during the two-week mission. Providing networking opportunities for women in horticulture and fostering their skills and experience is a key priority for the Australian vegetable industry and an area where knowledge provision can have considerable on-farm profitability. During the mission, participants were introduced to new production, technical, research and supply chain systems throughout Europe and learnt of novel innovations relating to both on-farm productivity and consumer demand. Participants also witnessed first-hand an impressive range of greenhouses, as many of the countries visited are widely recognised for setting many benchmarks in protected cropping.