Leadership Award recipient to forge future in sustainable agriculture

Published: Thursday, 7 March 2019 at 5:01:00 PM

Former Denmark Senior High School student Chai Robertson will travel to the Shenandoah Valley in the US this July to take part in a 2 day instructional seminar at Polyface organic farm after being awarded the Shire of Denmark’s 2018 Leadership Award.

The Leadership Award, which Council makes available each year to a Year 12 student attending Denmark Senior High School, provides financial sponsorship towards an activity or program that focuses on and supports leadership, skill development, self-discovery, initiative and confidence building.

Mr Robertson chose the hands-on, how-to workshop to learn about food, husbandry and farming systems that are environmentally, socially and economically sustainable, and was inspired by the farm’s use of biomimicry, lack of large machinery, and biodynamic principles to grow produce that sustains the family who runs it as well as the community who can buy direct from the farm.

Mr Robertson hopes to adapt the methods he unearths during his experience and apply them at home.

“I would like to see how the systems at Polyface farm operate and how they can be adapted and duplicated here in the Great Southern. I also have a keen interest in the economics of direct-to-consumer marketing, as the backbone of a successful farm business.

When I come home, I hope to lease some land and begin working on some small entrepreneurial start-ups based on my experiences in Virginia. If all goes well I hope to grow these businesses and begin selling fresh produce direct to the community,” he said.

Of Mr Robertson’s desire to make his mark in sustainable agriculture, Shire President Cr Ceinwen Gearon said it was admirable and highly relevant in the Denmark community.

“As a Council, we recognise the importance of agriculture and the significant role that it plays in our economy. Providing Chai with this opportunity reinforces Council’s commitment to the sector.

We look forward to hearing about what Chai learns on his experience in the realm of sustainable agriculture and are excited to see where that takes him,” she said.

The Shire of Denmark would like to congratulate Mr Robertson on receiving the Leadership Award and wishes him well on his journey of learning and discovery.

Photo: Shire President Cr Ceinwen Gearon presenting recipient Chai Robertson with the Leadership Award. (Image: Shire of Denmark)

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