Educating the next generation about where their food and fibre comes from has earned George the Farmer co-creator Simone Kain the title of the Rural Industries Research & Development Corporation SA Rural Woman of the Year.
The Penola-based talent will use her $10,000 bursary to develop an educational resource to teach children about the valuable contribution of women in agriculture.
In the past two years, George the Farmer and his wife Ruby have risen to fame, regularly in the top 10 educational apps in the App store.
Three picture books, George plants a Wheat Crop, George Shears a Sheep and the latest Ruby and the Dairy Dilemma are also selling well.
Simone and business partner Ben Hood, the co-directors of creative agency HelloFriday, saw the need for an Australian farming character to champion agriculture and have not looked back.
They have reinvested 50 cents from the sale of each book to producing two free resources aligned to the Australian Schools Curriculum, aimed at pre-school to year 4 students.
One of these is on sheep and wool production, with the other on pulses.
Simone, who has three young boys, estimates they have reached 40,000 children across Australia with the material.
“Teachers are downloading the guides all across the country, which is really special, and the feedback from the kids has been awesome,” she said.
Ruby, who works on-farm as well as off-farm as an agronomist, will be the spokesperson for the new resource, showcasing the talents of women.
Simone says it is alarming agriculture, forestry and fishing are among the worst industries for equal pay, with a report finding women earned 21.8 per cent less than men in the sector.
“Personally I have never been discriminated against in the workforce, but it amazes me that there is still such a big gender gap,” she said.
“There is a massive shortage of women on boards too, despite them making up nearly half of the ag workforce.”
Simone hopes the education resource can teach kids a new “norm” about gender equality and also encourage them to dream big about future careers.
She has proven persistence pays claiming the prestigious SA Rural Women award in her third time as an entrant.
“There are so many opportunities which come from the award,” she said.
“The next 12 months will be very exciting seeing how many more people George and Ruby can reach.”
The national RIRDC Rural Women of the Year will be announced in September.
George the Farmer spreads key themes
GEORGE the Farmer has a busy few months ahead, travelling Australia sharing stories and catchy tunes with his city and country mates.
These include the Felton Food Festival in Qld later this month, plus a fortnight at the Sydney Royal Easter Show next month performing four shows a day in the farm pavilion, which attracts close to 400,000 showgoers.
George will also venture to Darwin for the Territory Taste Festival in late April and be part of the AFL Country Game at the MCG in Melbourne on May 13.
George the Farmer creator Simone Kain enjoyed seeing the fun young children had at their performances.
“They really enjoy learning about agriculture without realising they are learning about it,” she said.
- Details: georgethefarmer.com.au