Friday, 12 April 2013

Empowering Fairleigh


Alison Fairleigh recently won the Qld rural woman of the year award for her work with rural mental health advocacy and promotion of social media as an opportunity to help improve the health and well being of people in rural and remote Australia. From the 7th to 10th of April the National Rural Health Conference was held in Adelaide and as invited speaker Alison gave a truly inspirational presentation.

Photo sourced from Farming ahead online

Please click on the following link and listen to Alison Fairleigh with -

Alison has a blog site called Talking Fairleigh. It has been one of the recommended places to visit by this site; the link along with the last published post can be found in the right hand column of this page under My Blog List. Another recommendation in our list is Michael Trant's, Farmers way of life whom Alison points out in her presentation as a major social media success story for rural people. The #Hadagutful campaign in WA has been a success; it has shown that a minority group, (that is what farmers are these days in Australia), can in the face of economic ruin and facing interest groups of far greater political power, can start to turn the situation around and bring hope.
The Knitting Nannas from the NSW Northern rivers area have shown how by thinking outside the square and using a bit of imagination that the public's attention can be captured and a message delivered with no high budget, no restriction of age and using social media.
As Alison indicated it was completely out of left field that a youtube appeared by a complete unknown, Cassandra McDonald which brought to a halt the efforts from a considerable public relations budget from the supermarket giant, Coles.
Ask An Aussie Farmer face book page has been a major success. Started a little over a year ago it now has over 4,500 likes. The description for the page reads as follows -
Ask An Aussie Farmer"We are a group that is passionate about Australian farming, with expertise and first-hand knowledge across a broad expanse of agriculture in Australia, including access to experts and professionals. We reside all over this country and some even live far away from our shores but are still involved in the diverse industries of Australian agriculture. The reason for hosting this page is so those that live, breath, know, and are enthusiastic about Aussie Ag can answer your questions and tell their stories”
The internet has been a great break through for people who live and work in regional, rural and remote areas. Social media has broken the tyranny of distance. It is no longer the case that you have to physically go to a capital city to get your point of view across; it can all be done from home at very little cost


  1. In another post on this site, Meat Free Misinformation, I brought your attention to another a NSW beef producer, Tegan Kristine, who did a good job in making a youtube in response to Meat Free Week.

  2. Why isn't farmer health and wellbeing a key policy issue for farm lobby groups?, asks Alison Fairleigh in her latest blog article.

    "The primary responsibility of farm lobby groups is to provide a collective voice for their members on issues related to agribusiness and agri-politics, so I understand that these groups advocate on issues related to economics, policy, trade and the environment within the various agricultural sectors: aquaculture, beef, chicken meat, eggs, pig production, cotton, dairy, grains, horticulture, nursery and sugarcane. Yet apart from the NSW Farmers Association who have been leaders in the field, I am not aware of any other group that has taken a front seat in addressing the health and wellbeing of their members. If farm lobby groups wish to secure the productivity, profitability and sustainability of the agribusiness sector, then it stands to reason that a healthy rural workforce is required to deliver this.


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