The exciting future of small-scale sustainable food production in the Hunter Valley just got better with the announcement of the winners of the Ernest Hardes Memorial Scholarships at our August meeting.
Ern Hardes was a member of Hunter Organic Growers Society (HOGS) for over 35 years. The scholarships, awarded by HOGS and Slow Food Hunter Valley, offer a way of continuing his passion to share knowledge of organic growing, particularly with younger people.
Freya Nolin and Tim Kelliher took out the scholarships from an impressive field of eight young people who are currently studying and working in local agricultural food production. Freya and Tim each take home the gift of $2,000 of education in cutting edge, sustainable food production. The scholarships include $1,600 worth of biodynamic and permaculture courses with Purple Pear Farm, with the option to add courses to the value of $400 from Limestone Permaculture and Urban Hum. They also receive 2 days on farm experience at Little Hill Farm and a personal tour of Limestone Permaculture. All applicants were incredibly impressive, and a number are already ankle deep in the good soils of the Hunter Valley, producing beautiful food for us to enjoy. All expressed a vision of a food system that nourishes the earth and values biodiversity, with agroforestry and regenerative agriculture common passions.
“It was such a life affirming process, meeting these young people with such clear and strong visions for the future of good, clean and fair food production in the Hunter,” said Anne Kelly, leader of Slow Food Hunter Valley and member of the scholarship selection panel.
We will all be hearing more from this crop of young growers. Food security in the Hunter, which promises to be a huge issue in the future, is in their hands.
Freya Nolin is majoring in Regenerative Agriculture in her studies at Southern Cross University and has experience in permaculture and beekeeping. She is looking forward to gaining some more hands-on practical experience that will help her in her future endeavours. She is particularly interested in making organic, regenerative farming practices accessible to new and existing farmers.
Tim Kelliher is studying Horticulture at Ryde TAFE. He is passionate about engaging and educating local communities on growing healthy food at home while treating the land with the care it deserves. Ern Hardes passion for "growing new gardeners" really resonated with him, and he looks forward to the knowledge, insight and connections to people that the scholarship offers.