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Unlimited potential of women in horticulture celebrated

A High Tea at the luxurious Palazzo Versace provided the perfect backdrop for the 2016 Women in Horticulture networking event on Saturday 25 June 2016, where around 100 attendees discussed the unlimited potential of women in the industry.

The annual event was held in conjunction with the National Horticulture Convention, which incorporated seven industry co-hosts and attracted around 1,500 delegates to RACV Royal Pines on the Gold Coast.

Proudly sponsored by AUSVEG Strategic Partner Steritech, the Women in Horticulture event recognises the ever-important role that women play in the traditionally male-dominated sector.

Award-winning ABC journalist and Landline host Pip Courtney led the discussion and provided delegates with an insight into her experience as a regional reporter in the Australian agriculture industry and the many inspiring women she has come across in her day-to-day life.

Former Member for Murray, Dr Sharman Stone, presented the keynote speech and reflected on her 20-year career representing the horticulture-rich Victorian seat in Federal Parliament.

“The Women in Horticulture networking event is a highlight of the National Horticulture Convention every year, as it celebrates the integral role that women play in all aspects of Australian horticulture,” said AUSVEG spokesperson Dimi Kyriakou.

“As many of the attendees tune in to Landline every week, they were very pleased to be able to meet and speak to Pip Courtney, who is a strong example of a leading female figure in the Australian horticulture industry.”

“Dr Stone, a persuasive advocate for women in positions of leadership, also enlightened delegates with her stories as a defender of the local horticulture industry in the Murray electorate. She played a crucial role in supporting the SPC Ardmona factory in Shepparton and was a driving force in the formation of water policy in the area.”

Attendees also participated in an informal discussion with a grower panel of speakers, which included Victorian apple grower and Horticulture Innovation Australia Limited (Hort Innovation) Director Susan Finger, as well as representatives from Queensland vegetable growing operations Kalfresh, Australian Fresh Salads and Windolf Farms.

“Six of horticulture’s most dynamic women led a vibrant and robust discussion on the different skills and expertise that women can bring to a farming operation, highlighting the myriad ways that women can contribute to the Australian horticulture industry,” Ms Kyriakou said.

“Alice Gorman, Jane Miles and Tracey Rieck from Kalfresh discussed their creative contributions to the Just Veg initiative, which provides quick and healthy meal and snacking options for consumers, while Tahirih McLeod from Australian Fresh Salads discussed why she pursued a career in horticulture.”

“After recently transitioning ownership of her husband’s family farm, vegetable grower Sharron Windolf discussed her experiences in succession planning. In addition, Susan Finger spoke about leadership and the challenges she has faced not only in her business but as a Director of Hort Innovation.”

“Once again the Women in Horticulture networking event provided an opportunity for delegates to catch up and celebrate the important and varied role of women in the industry.”

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