Uniquely Australian Foods supports Hermitage Research Facility’s 25th Annual Schools Plant Science Competition

Uniquely Australian Foods supports Hermitage Research Facility’s 25th Annual Schools Plant Science Competition

Posted by Sophie Ader

It was a glorious winter’s day in the countryside of Warwick, as hundreds of bright young minds from 8 schools and additional families of winning students gathered at the Hermitage Research Facility. This day marked a special occasion – the 25th annual Hermitage Research Facility Schools Plant Science Competition: Awards Day and Ag Science Expo!

Students in the ‘Ag Science sideshow alley’, where Uniquely Australian foods had a stall.

This year, the theme for the competition was Native Foods. Students submitted an astonishingly insightful, creative, thoughtful and unique responses to the competition theme.

Dr Anh Phan and PhD Candidate Sukirtha Sririvarathan looking at some of the winning entries.

Uniquely Australian Foods’ Dr Anh Phan and Centre Director Professor Sultanbawa commented on the calibre of entries, saying “oh my gosh, these students can come and teach at our centre – what they have submitted is just amazing. We have to get some copies of these reports and display them at our centre, and invite those passionate students here to our labs’.

Students from Scots College, Glass House Christian College, Warwick State High School, Clontarf High School, Dalby State School, Glennie Heights State School, Freestone State School, Pilton State School, and some winning students with their parents from other schools were treated to an expo, which included 6 tour stops. These were:

Department of Agriculture & Fisheries Biosecurity Welfare Dogs

Uniquely Australian Foods

DAF Hermitage Pulse Research

DAF Hermitage Barley Research

DAF Post Harvest Grain Protection

Hermitage Information Hut – Mosaic Art installation.

Dr Anh Phan, UAF Director Professor Yasmina Sultanbawa, PhD Candidate Sukirtha Sririvarathan and UAF Engagement Coordinator Sophie Ader at the stall.

Baby goats, sheep, pigs and bantum chickens in the petting zoo.

There was also a ‘Science Show Alley’ with interactive displays, which included Farm Machinery, a mobile petting zoo, Street Science Show, the competition and art entries display and more.

A particular highlight of the day was the entertainment provided by celebrity Paul West – a Real Food advocate, former chef, Media personality and author (with frequent contributions to ABC’s organic gardener magazine). Paul is a passionate advocate of sustainable, organic agriculture and native Australian foods and was incredibly engaging for the kids, making ag science content and issues around sustainability really accessible to both kids and adults.

Sophie Ader and Paul West just before Paul battled Clontarf School in a native foods cook-off.

It was a wonderful day, with special guests and VIPs taking the time to address and encourage the school kids. Big credit to Kerrie Rubie (DAF Competition Coordinator) and Dr Barbara George-Jaeggli (DAF/QAAFI Research Scientist & Hermitage Centre Leader) for an inspiring and engaging day, and enormous congratulations again to all the hundreds of students who participated in this years competition. The future looks very bright!

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