Year Ten Agriculture Students ventured out of the classroom and away from the School’s working farm to explore the Southern Highlands where they hoped to gain valuable insights into a number of different agricultural enterprises, all of which related directly to the topics they have studied over the last two years.
Their first stop was at Redleaf Farm where Katrina Sparke walked us through her operation and explained the philosophy behind their business model: to live healthily and sustainably, supplying only the finest quality free-range produce to a discerning local market. Animal husbandry is incredibly important to them as is paddock rotation, stock rotation and organic principles. These philosophies help to maintain their high-nutrient pastures and, as such, happier and healthier animals.
From there they travelled to Country Valley Dairy and Factory in Picton where students had the opportunity to meet the herd Northholm has been supporting with the “Cappucinos for Cows” fundraiser run by student, Chantal Parle. Here they met Tom Fairly whose family has been on the property for over 165 years and who walked students through the whole operation. Significantly, this enterprise has been processing its own milk since 2004 and sells a range of milk, yoghurt and cream products both locally and in Sydney. It was a lovely afternoon and students were invited to finish the day off with a milk shake in “The Milk Room”.
Thursday was spent at Mowbray Park Farm where students were given a history lesson on agriculture in Australia, a sheep shearing demonstration, animal feeding in the nursery and learned about fencing and how forestry could be used as part of a long term investment plan. A demonstration of how drones are used was particularly informative as was the discussion regarding opportunities for how automation is becoming increasingly important in agriculture.
On Friday, the group had a farm and food experience with celebrity chef Geoff Janz who talked through his philosophies, ideas and methods for creating a beautiful garden from which he harvests wholesome produce all year round to produce some amazing food. “We had a thoroughly amazing day and we look forward to maintaining this relationship going forward,” commented Mrs Stellina Trestrail, Agriculture teacher. “This was a thoroughly enjoyable excursion and a valuable experience for all of the students.”
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