An exciting initiative has begun in Orange with Central West Libraries and NSW Department of Primary Industries working together to highlight books, reading, literacy and the National Year of Reading as well as Australian Year of the Farmer (AYOTF) with a Writer-in-Residence program.
As part of a nationwide campaign by Australian libraries, library associations, writing centres and workplaces to improve literacy skills, Sophie Hansen has been appointed local Writer-in-Residence to visit 10 rural sites throughout the central west, and bring to the community insightful stories of men and women involved in agriculture.
The stories will be showcased on the blog One Farm Day: Stories from behind the farm gate with the community invited to share their stories for the project during the Australian National Field Days (ANFD).
DPI Manager of Community Engagement, Sonia Muir, said it was an excellent program to put the spotlight on the AYOTF and those dedicated to agriculture.
“We look forward to reading the finished pieces from the writer and learn more about the diversity of agricultural life. It’s about engaging employers and employees in literacy and encouraging people to read,” Ms Muir said.
Central West Libraries Manager Jan Richards said the project promotes the benefits of reading as a life skill.
“It’s about raising the importance of literacy at home and in the workplace and we are delighted to be chosen as the NSW program facilitators,” Ms Richards said.
Writer Sophie Hansen has completed her first site visit with local farmer Mitch Kelly, which can now be viewed on the One Farm Day Blog.
“From shearers to fruit pickers, we’ll visit men and women working in all kinds of farming jobs across NSW and share their farming day stories….highs, lows, mud, dust and all. We will also be hosting a workshop at the ANFD to help people tell their stories,” Ms Hansen said. The National Year of Reading team aim to improve workplace literacy and raise awareness of the need to assist people to improve these skills.
About the Writer-in-Residence
I’m Sophie Hansen, a food writer and farmer (or at least married to one). We grow deer and then sell our venison at farmers markets. I have been writing about food and the people that grow, produce, cook and sell it for over ten years including a few years in Italy working for the Slow Food movement. These days I look after our two young children, help on the farm and write, the latter mostly on my blog, Local is Lovely, a collection of recipes and resources for people who love farmers and eating locally.