North Coast Community College executive officer Kate Kempshall with NSW Department of Primary Industries' North Coast manager, Bill Quince, in the indigenous bush food paddock with the Big Scrub remnant behind.
North Coast Community College executive officer Kate Kempshall with NSW Department of Primary Industries' North Coast manager, Bill Quince, in the indigenous bush food paddock with the Big Scrub remnant behind.

Bush food farming on offer at new training facility

A NEW training facility will open at Wollongbar next week, with the aim of providing "essential and quality" skills for the next generation of farmers and traditional landowners on the Northern Rivers.

North Coast Community College, in collaboration with the Department of Primary Industries, is launching a unique VET program of Certificate III training qualifications.

The programs include Indigenous Land Management, Conservation Land Management, Production Horticulture and Agriculture.

The Department of Primary Industries has provided a newly refurbished training facility and 2.5 acres of land for students of the new programs, which will be used to farm indigenous bush foods.

In a nearby Big Scrub rainforest remnant, students will gain practical knowledge and skills in indigenous land management, forest regeneration, land conservation and farming indigenous bush food.

This emphasis on traditional indigenous land management and conservation will mark the training provider as one of the first movers in the industry.

The college's cultural trainer, Tracy King, herself a Bundjalung woman, said she was a passionate and firm believer in using Aboriginal cultural and heritage values as a tool for future generations.

"I am excited to be given this opportunity to be part of the North Coast Community College program in this shared exchange of knowledge, which will enable community members to be involved and engaged in future opportunities to develop their skills," she said.

The college's chief executive, Kate Kempshall, has been working on the collaboration for almost three years.

"To see this project coming to life is quite overwhelming," she said.

"In Australia, the average age of a farmer is 57 and in the Northern Rivers this average age is slightly higher.

"North Coast Community College's collaboration with the Department of Primary Industries will provide essential, quality training for the next generation of farmers and traditional landowners in the Northern Rivers.

"The prospect of quality employment outcomes for participants is very real."

The new courses are subsidised by the NSW Government and funded thanks to grant assistance from Northern Rivers Community Foundation and the Foundation for Rural and Regional Renewal via its Seed of Renewal 2019 Program, with funds provided by ANZ.

The new training facility and courses will be officially launched at an event on Thursday, September 3.


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