Community Partnerships... and our Farm of the Future
Offering a mixture of financial support and expertise, UWA's Community Partnerships Program contributes across areas as diverse as arts, technology, sport, education, health and wellbeing, and includes a commitment to encouraging youth theatre.
The kind of connection and interaction with community on all levels comprises the core mission of UWA, says Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Community and Engagement) Professor Kent Anderson.
“Community engagement has always been our third pillar, between education and research,” he says.
Every day and in all sorts of ways, our staff, researchers, students and ambassadors are working alongside the broader community, fulfilling our mission to advance their welfare and prosperity.
UWA Farm Ridgefield
One beneficiary of the Community Partnerships Program is the University’s Future Farm 2050 Project, based at the 1600 hectare UWA Farm Ridgefield in the State’s Wheatbelt.
It’s an ambitious enterprise in which researchers have imagined how a best-practice farm would function in 2050… then set to work creating it now.
“We’re focused on developing world leading farming systems to safeguard against a forecasted need to clothe and feed 50 per cent more people in 32 years’ time,” says Future Farm 2050 Project Officer Debra Mullan from UWA’s Institute of Agriculture.
“While there are many things in the farm’s multi-disciplinary mix – like crop and livestock science, resource economics, water management, and animal and plant ecology – a priority is building relationships with regional communities.
Working with Dr Susan Bailey, we engage with the Pingelly Noongar elders, who trace their connection back 45,000 years, and last year we held a ceremony to formally acknowledge the farm is situated on Gnaala Karla Boodja land.
“We’re committed to understanding and working alongside the spiritual and cultural custodians of the land, and that includes challenging non-Indigenous people to recognise Indigenous knowledge, culture and values.”
The Farm’s program of community engagement continues this year and includes exploring collaborations with UWA’s School of Indigenous Studies and hosting the Pingelly Astrofest.
L-R: Deputy Vice-Chancellor (Community and Engagement) Professor Kent Anderson, Dr Sue Bailey, Gary Bennell, Merv Abraham, Gloria Bennell, Khianna Bennell and Shaneall Bennellat the formal Acknowledgement Ceremony at UWA Farm Ridgefield.
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