Storm and Flood Industry Recovery Program Builds Resilience by Enriching Schools with Food and Fibre Education

Media Release | 04/04/2024

Primary Industries Education Foundation Australia (PIEFA), with the assistance of the Storm and Flood Industry Recovery Program (SFIRP), has actively engaged with 195 schools to-date in flood-affected regions of NSW. The program helps build resilience through awareness of local primary industries production and careers opportunities.

The program is jointly funded by the Australian and NSW Governments under the Disaster Recovery Funding Arrangements through the Department of Regional NSW and is tasked with enhancing community connectivity by forging strong links between schools and local primary industries, particularly in regions that have been affected by floods in NSW in recent years.

By creating locally-focused teaching resources and careers programs, SFIRP strives to ignite interest in primary industries careers among students, thus bolstering local resilience and facilitating smoother recovery from flood disasters, now and in the future.

To date, SFIRP has made remarkable progress, engaging careers advisors, teachers and students with a range of events and downloadable resources, including:

Teacher Professional Development: More than 200 teachers have attended Teacher PD to gain knowledge and insights about how to implement food and fibre content in their classroom.

Engagement with Careers Advisors: 335 Careers Advisors have participated in events that demonstrate the broad range of careers, opportunities and pathways in their local primary industries.

Development of Educational Resources: 78 educational resources have been developed to-date.

Notably, among these participants, 25 flood-affected Local Government Areas (LGAs) have been included, from Armidale to Lismore, the Hawkesbury to Wollondilly.

Catering to a range of year levels, subject areas, and localities, all resources produced are curriculum-aligned. These include Farmer Time sessions, eLearning materials, videos, teacher guides, student worksheets, posters, plus tangible seed packs, STEM kits, and classroom relevant merchandise.

Minister for Agriculture, Regional NSW and Western NSW Tara Moriarty said the program is using high-school education as the foundation to build stronger, more resilient aquaculture, meat and livestock, horticulture and dairy industries in NSW.

Through the Primary Industries Education Foundation Australia’s professional development sessions, teachers and careers advisors are being given the latest information about trends in food and fibre, innovations in technology and an understanding of all the career opportunities available in their region,” Ms Moriarty said. 

“PIEFA has done a brilliant job consulting with the various industries to develop educational resources that reflect rapidly changing agriculture sectors and promote job opportunities that will address gaps in the existing workforce.

“I want to recognise our dedicated agriculture teachers and careers advisors for the work they do to sow the seeds of learning. Our youth are our future and I hope by participating in these workshops, our educators leave with the knowledge needed to ignite the passion within our future farmers.”

Looking ahead, the program shows no signs of slowing down, with plans for 17 more events scheduled across NSW and online for the remainder of the year.

The next secondary teacher event will take place in the Narooma region on Monday, April 8, and PIEFA are very pleased to welcome Bega MP, Dr Michael Holland who will be in attendance at the event.

These initiatives are poised to further amplify the program’s reach and impact, fostering a brighter future for disaster affected communities across the state.