JEN Trethewey was one of only nine Australian women working in the Australian vegetable industry selected to travel to Italy and Israel last November for a 12-day growers' tour organised by AUSVEG, the peak horticulture industry group.
Ms Trethewey and her husband, Nathan, along with family members have established KI Gold produce and grow seed potatoes and cauliflowers as well as broccoli and freshwater crayfish for the commercial markets.
She has returned home feeling more confident having also established some much-needed networks among other women growers. “I’ve always felt a bit isolated on the island because no one else is doing what we’re doing, but now I have some women colleagues I can ring and talk to about issues with markets, wholesalers, prices and so on.”
It was the inaugural AUSVEG Women in Horticulture Grower Tour. While the industry recognises that women have not been historically active participants, the tour was designed to provide opportunities for the emergence of new leaders in the vegetable industry.
The group visited a world class machinery exhibition in Bologna, Italy, where the latest technology in machinery was featured and they learnt about recent innovations and techniques.
In Tel Aviv, Israel, the group had the opportunity to explore the experimental greenhouses of Netafim, the world’s largest irrigation company where they viewed roof-top and wall gardens.
The tour was funded through the national vegetable levy, voluntary contributions from industry and matched funds from the Australian Government.
Members of the tour group also paid a percentage of the costs.