Women in Sustainable Agriculture (WiSA) Leadership Group Going Strong

6 April 2017

The Port Phillip and Western Port Women in Sustainable Agriculture (WiSA) leadership group has provided women in our catchment, ongoing opportunities to develop, enhance and share their skills, knowledge, confidence to promote sustainable agriculture in the Western Port region.

Since the September 2016 leadership workshop, the women of diverse commodities have organised events and tours in agriculture and sustainable food production, in their key areas of expertise.

The group has a very active and growing Facebook group, with more women from the Western Port region coming on board.

WiSA met on Friday 31 March for a tour of some successful agribusinesses on the Mornington Peninsula. The group visited Pure Peninsula HoneyRed Hill Cherry Farm and Peninsula-Fresh Organics to discuss marketing and social media. The tour was organised by two women in the group, that work in Agriculture, Lisa Brassington (Peninsula Fresh Organics) and Karina Charlesworth (Red Hill Cherry Farm).

Praise for WiSA

“My experience with WiSA so far is that of connection to and networking with women who are on the land, and making all efforts towards more sustainable methods of farming. Programs such as WISA go a long way towards making this happen. I am very grateful to be part of WiSA and to journey with a group of women towards their stated needs and goals.”
Holly Desmond – Education Permaculture Inspiration Community Inc (EPIC)

“WISA, for me, has been all about networking, sharing knowledge with like minded people and learning new and exciting skills which can be adapted to my own sustainable farming and business practices. I’m often in awe of the talented, knowledgeable and inspirational people who form this group. The program format enables all of us to contribute and to receive. It’s all about getting the word out….it’s doing a good job.”
Melissa Vanin – Fielderberry Farm

“WISA has introduced me to vibrant women in different fields of agriculture. Learning about the benefits and the ins and outs of social media has been fascinating. Training in leadership and communication has been carried over to the 4 other voluntary groups I am with. Thanks to the team.”
Lyn Link  – Grazing Farmer

“The feedback from the women who have been involved in the group has been amazing. I am really pleased with how knowledgeable, passionate, caring and sharing the women are with each other which provides a tremendous support and friendship. The group has also provided a platform for women in agriculture to learn, grow and expand their land management and agribusiness skills whilst stepping outside their comfort zone in a safe environment”.
Port Phillip & Westernport CMA’s Sustainable Land Management Coordinator, Sarah Halligan

What’s next

The group will continue to be supported through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Programme through the PPWCMA agricultural district until June 2018 to assist the them to carry out their action plans and achieve their goals.

The group also recently received additional expert support through the Australian Government and Southern Cross Universities Farming Together program. The program has been well received by WiSA members and related well with the ‘invisible farmer’ principles of sustainability, connectivity, community, capability and honouring the contributions and leadership of farming women of the past, in the present and into the future.


For more information on the WiSA program, contact PPWCMA’s Sarah Halligan on 03 8781 7908 or sarah.halligan@ppwcma.vic.gov.au.
Image by Jenny O’Sullivan.