Planet to plate

Planet to plate

Farmers and environmentalists are teaming up for Earth Hour Australia, focusing on the impact of climate change on food and farming, and bringing together two sectors who haven’t always met in the middle and at times have been at loggerheads.

The nationwide collaboration for Earth Hour 2015 is exceptional in a way previously only seen in programs such as Landcare.

Four farmers involved in the project are Illawarra dairy farmer Lynne Strong, Central Coast beef farmer and NSW Young Farmers chair Josh Gilbert, Western Queensland grazier James Walker and Gippsland dairy farmer Marian MacDonald, all who’ve taken part in Earth Hour’s new ‘Planet to Plate’ cookbook.

In May last year Lynne Strong and James Walker’s involvement in the Climate Champions Program took them to the Camp Earth Hour Retreat on Heron Island.

“I was a bit wary at first and I must admit I was initially overwhelmed by the intensity of the weekend; we workshopped ideas from eight in the morning till nine at night,” Ms Strong says.

“On Heron Island I saw that WWF (the NFP behind Earth Hour Australia) was very serious about working with farmers and they were listening and understanding that this partnership was going to take some serious bridge building.

“I walked away from Heron Island genuinely believing WWF saw this partnership focus was on getting the best outcomes for farmers and agriculture and food security in this country. And wow, isn’t the Planet to Plate cookbook a great way to make that statement?” she says.

“Working with them has been such a positive experience and agriculture can learn a lot from the way they are achieving great things on short time frames. Like the WWF team, we need to focus, prioritize and start a movement of change in agriculture.”

Ms Strong says the Planet to Plate partnership between farmers and WWF works because it combines exciting, positive people who are passionate about the environment and its future.

“I’m involved because I love to work with people who have a cause and want to fight for it. I want to work with people who have a plan and put it into action and bring all the movers and shakers with them,” she says.

the Earth Hour team visited farmers across the state, including Lynne Strong’s region, to film a documentary on food farmers to be broadcast on Channel Ten.

the ‘Planet to Plate’ cookbook showcases the stories of 50 farmers from across Australia and their climate stories, and recipes from renowned chefs showcasing the food they produce.

“As a farmer I am highly honoured that 1 in 3 Australians will be turning the lights off on Earth Hour to celebrate Australian farmers and the food they produce as well as raise awareness about the challenges we face to do this under ever increasing climate variability,” Ms Strong says.

“As one of the groups most likely to be hit hard by the effects of climate change, it is vital farmers continue this partnership beyond Earth Hour.”

More information on the Planet to Plate cookbook here

First published in Leading Agriculture Issue 6