By Lachlan Ellis
Five Victorian women have been recognised as finalists in a state award for rural women – and two are from Moorabool Shire.
Greendale’s Sarah Duncanson and Glenmore’s Nikki Davey are both in the running to win the 2023 AgriFutures Rural Women’s Award, with the winner to be decided on Monday 3 April.
The Award supports Australian women to use and develop their skills to benefit a range of industries, including Victoria’s $17.5 billion agriculture sector – and the winner receives $15,000 towards her project.
Ms Duncanson is a paediatric intensive care nurse who founded paediatric healthcare education provider PAEDS, bringing the crucial learnings to regional and rural areas to train local healthcare professionals.
Meanwhile, Ms Davey runs Grown Not Flown with fellow farmers Sam Baff, Jayde Timms and Hayden Timms, which is an online platform and app connecting flower farmers and consumers both in Australia and around the world.
Both women said it was exciting to be named as finalists, bringing awareness to their fantastic projects.
“It’s such an honour [to be nominated]. I feel incredibly humbled to be named amongst some incredible women doing great things in their own communities. Whilst this is an individual award, I feel that I represent so much more than myself. I represent women who are working hard to improve the lives of rural families. I represent families and children who are battling medical systems in rural areas. I represent mothers multitasking to make big differences in their communities,” Ms Duncanson told the Moorabool News.
“This award would allow our service to be utilised by more families in regional, rural, and remote Australia who are caring for children with complex medical needs. By June 2023, five per cent of children will be accessing the NDIS, and a greater percentage of children in this cohort reside in regional, rural, and remote Australia compared to their metro counterparts.
“We would be able to become NDIS registered, which increases accessibility for these families as well as develop vital resources for schools and communities to support them to care for our smallest and most vulnerable community residents.”
Ms Davey said winning the Rural Women’s Award would be “a complete game changer” for Grown Not Flown, helping their work empowering local farmers and promoting the local flower industry.
“It is our long-term goal to empower growers by helping them to streamline their farming operations, easily record and access their own farm data, and make planning for the future as simple and seamless as possible. As part of this, we want to remove the need for micro and small-scale growers to have to build and manage their own website, something that can take up a lot of time, energy and money, and can be overwhelming if you’re not technically savvy,” she said.
“Being a self-funded start-up often means that progress can be slow, and so winning the Rural Women’s Award would not just be an incredible achievement, but would be transformative to us and the flower industry, as it will help us to build new features and functionality within the Grown Not Flown platform, as well as to promote our local flower farmers and raise the profile of our industry as a whole.”
The Victorian winner of the Rural Women’s Award will also go on to represent Victoria at the National Award, with the winner of that earning a further $20,000 in September.