Fostering diversity and leadership – with a touch of pink – were the topics of the day at the annual Women in Horticulture event at Hort Connections 2018, where more than 300 people gathered to discuss their work, their lives and the crucial roles that women perform in rural and regional Australia, and raise much-needed funds for breast cancer research.

Proudly sponsored by Boomaroo Nurseries, the Women in Horticulture event was held at the Brisbane Convention Centre on 20 June and was preceded by the PMA A-NZ Fresh Perspectives Effecting Change Workshop, which facilitated a peer-to-peer discussion on diversity, inclusion and leadership in the workplace.

The Women in Horticulture event is held annually to recognise and celebrate the pivotal role that women play in the traditionally male-dominated sector. This year’s event coincided with the National Breast Cancer Foundation’s GO PINK week (18-24 June), which is challenging all Australians to wear pink in support of those affected by breast cancer.

“We are delighted to announce the Women in Horticulture fundraising event successfully raised over $5,000 for research into the prevention and early detection of breast cancer. This is a fantastic outcome and we thank everyone who provided a donation online and in person,” said AUSVEG Deputy Chair Belinda Adams.

ABC journalist and Landline presenter Pip Courtney chaired the session, which included a presentation from Rachael Robertson, who led the Australian expedition to Davis Station, Antarctica. As the second female to lead a team at the station and the youngest ever leader, Rachael spoke about her experiences of “leading on the edge” and the strategies she used through trial and error to build a highly successful and resilient team.

Liza Dale-Hallett from Museums Victoria also presented on her work as the lead curator for the national Invisible Farmer project, the largest study of Australian women on the land. Liza explained how the project aims to showcase the diverse, innovative and vital contribution of women to agriculture, and outlined why it is crucial for all women in horticulture to share their stories and contribute to the history of rural Australia.

“The Women in Horticulture event is held every year to recognise and celebrate the achievements and vital contributions of women in Australia’s rural and regional industries,” said Mrs Adams.

“In addition to fundraising for breast cancer research, this year’s event allowed attendees to walk away with a better understanding of the important role they play in the industry and why it is important to share their stories, as well as the different leadership models that they can apply to their work and everyday lives.

“Women in Australian horticulture are responsible for a diverse range of roles both on and off the farm, which often go unrecognised. This event is about highlighting these contributions and providing an opportunity for attendees to network, celebrate and reflect on the important and varied role of women in the industry.”

Mrs Adams also shared her experiences as part of the 2018 Women in Horticulture Industry Leadership and Development Mission in April, a strategic levy investment under the Hort Innovation Vegetable Fund, which allowed nine female vegetable industry members to visit innovative vegetable farms, researchers and agribusinesses in France, Belgium and the Netherlands.

Hort Connections 2018 is the premiere event for the Australian horticulture industry and attracted nearly 3,000 local and international delegates to Brisbane from 18-20 June.

Image1: It was a sea of pink at this year’s Women in Horticulture event at Hort Connections 2018

Image 2: Rachael Robertson talked to delegates about effective leadership under pressure at this year’s Women in Horticulture event at Hort Connections 2018

MEDIA CONTACT: Shaun Lindhe, AUSVEG National Manager – Communications
Phone: (03) 9882 0277; Mobile: 0405 977 789; Email: