Farmer Kate McBride has a simple message for city-based ANMF members if they want to help drought-affected rural communities like hers.
‘I think the thing people can do most in the cities is understand where their food is coming from and supporting Australian farmers by buying Australian food,’ Kate said.
‘We have some of the most incredible farmers on the planet. We are so lucky with the food that we have and we need to make sure we’re supporting them, to the best of our ability.’
Kate, 23, is a fifth generation grazier on Tolarno, her family’s 500,000-acre sheep station along the Lower Darling River in western NSW. (If 500,000 acres proves difficult to imagine, the property is 110 kilometres from front to back.)
While continuing to work on the station, Kate is embarking on further studies in global food and agriculture business, working for the Australian Institute thinktank and Conservation SA, sitting on the Western Local Lands Services board and is a Healthy River ambassador.
The link in Kate’s hectic schedule is promoting sustainable land and water management.
In 2018 all of NSW was declared in drought. Exacerbated by above average temperatures in most of Australia, the drought also impacted farmers in Victoria, Queensland and South Australia.
It has given Kate even more drive to spread the message of tackling climate change and sustainability. She will be a compelling keynote speaker at the ANMF (Vic Branch) Health and Environmental Sustainability Conference on Thursday 6 May.
While many nurses, midwives and personal care workers live in rural and regional communities, with closer proximity to farms and food producers, those who are city-based may be less familiar with farmers’ challenges and how they can contribute to greater sustainability in farming.
Consumers can consider the true costs of food and clothing – not just financial cost – but what resources are used in their production, Kate says.
‘With fast fashion, a lot of people only wear an item about seven times before they throw it out,’ Kate said, giving one example.
‘For every cotton T-shirt, it takes 2500 litres of water to grow that (cotton).’
When Kate she was just 21, she was featured in the ABC’s Australian Story program about the parlous state of the Darling River and Menindee Lakes, where thousands of oxygen-starved fish have died. Kate is an inspiring example of a generation of young people fighting for their future.
The ANMF (Vic Branch) Health and Environmental Sustainability Conference will also showcase an impressive range of sustainability practice and innovations in Victorian healthcare settings.
Learn new ways to reduce waste, promote sustainability and improve your community. Join together with a growing movement of health professionals who are changing the way we deliver health and striving to improve our work, home and wider environments.
The conference will attract seven hours CPD required for nursing and midwifery registration.
Don’t miss out. Register now!