Last Thursday International Women’s Day in Ballarat was celebrated by the announcement of the 2007 Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation rural women’s award. Gathered at the historic Mining Exchange in Lydiard Street, Ballarat, women from all over Victoria were brought together to recognise the vital contribution that women make in rural Victoria.
Deborah Bain was announced the winner of the 2007 rural women’s award for her farm day concept. Seventy-five families were matched across Victoria during the first farm day in May 2006. The program is aimed at breaking down the country-city divide, and at families so they can more readily understand each other’s lives.
It provides city folk with an insight into country life and the positive experience of seeing and actually touching stock and crops, and seeing first-hand the roles rural communities play in providing vital food supplies.
Runner-up was Vera Fleming from Shepparton, who was recognised for her project called ‘Spirit of the Valley’, which involved the making of fruit liqueurs with raw fruit also produced on her farm. Both women will attend the Australian Institute of Directors course in Canberra which will assist in the next stages of their business plans.
The International Women’s Day morning was full of warmth, determination and well-researched and beautifully presented speeches which captured the spirit of rural women without relying on Vera’s delicious fruit spirits, which are 22 per cent proof! Congratulations to all.