Think about farmers behind our food

Former Australian netball captain and Commonwealth Games medallist, Laura Geitz, is getting behind farmers as the official Ambassador for Rural Aid’s Mate’s Day Campaign. Picture: supplied

Former Australian netball captain and Commonwealth Games medallist, Laura Geitz, is trading sport shoes for farm boots, urging Australians to stop and think about where the food on their dinner plates come from, as Rural Aid launches its major annual fundraising campaign – Mates Day.

In the lead up to Mates Day celebrations on Wednesday 20 March, farmers will share the often challenging and unseen journey behind their produce before it makes its way to consumers’ dinner plates under this year’s campaign theme ‘Every plate tells a story’.

After spending what Laura describes as an ‘incredible childhood’ on her family’s 607-hectare cattle and grain property at Allora on Queensland’s Darling Downs, the retired sports star and mum of four said she was very grateful to come on board as official Ambassador for Rural Aid’s Mates Day 2024 Campaign.

“I’ve had a connection with Rural Aid in the past and love what they stand for and what they do,” Laura said.

“Supporting farmers in crisis, whether it be through droughts, floods, bushfires or anything else that happens in the world of agriculture is wonderful and wholesome work to be involved in.

“There are extremes that farmers are constantly battling with, and we speak so much about raising awareness of what our farmers do for us. And for me, this is a perfect way of raising that awareness.”

Celebrating Australian farmers and recognising the challenges

As part of the Mates Day Campaign, Rural Aid’s CEO, John Warlters, said it was also an important time to celebrate Australian farmers.

“We should celebrate Australian farmers for many reasons,” John said.

“Firstly, because they’re the best in the world, secondly because they feed us and thirdly because of the amazing food and produce that comes through their energies and efforts.

“Every plate tells a story because the food on it speaks to us about the freshness, the trust and confidence we can have that the food on our plates is nutritious and healthy – it’s the world’s best.”

However, Mr Warlters said the story about what’s not on the plate also needs to be considered.

“Lettuce suddenly becomes a $12 lettuce, or we can’t get those potato chips on our plate because our potato crops have been wiped out, or the cost of a lamb chop goes up through the cost-of-living crisis,” he said.

“We then see another story told on our plate.

“But at the end of the day, food is our lifeline. It’s what nourishes us. And it’s our farmers who do that incredible work for us.”

Support Australian farmers by supporting Mates Day

With many farmers across Australia now facing impacts from multiple natural disaster events, the nature and frequency of requests for support from Rural Aid is changing rapidly.

John Warlters said the mental health issue is one of the big challenges confronting rural and regional Australia, which Rural Aid helps to provide support a range of ways.

“When we deliver fodder to families to help them feed their livestock, it’s also the mental wellbeing piece that gets addressed through that process as well. People understand that someone else cares for them and wants to make a difference,” John said.

“When it becomes a more acute conversation, we’re also there to play that role to have an ongoing relationship with people to help them through their challenges. And where we can’t provide the support that people need, we have some clearly defined referral paths to connect them with another organisation that might have a greater skill set in that particular area.”

To support Rural Aid’s Mates Day Campaign or to make a donation, visit