Dunorlan-based farmer, podcaster and founder of Motherland Australia, Stephanie Trethewey, is the 2022 AgriFutures Rural Women’s Award winner for her work in providing services, resources and virtual communities for mothers in regional locations.
Bendigo resident and founder of OAK Magazine, Kimberley Furness, was awarded the National Runner Up title for her work in creating opportunities to profile and celebrate female-led businesses.
The awards were announced by Agriculture minister Murray Watt at a dinner at Canberra’s Parliament House on Tuesday night in front of over 520 government officials, industry representatives, members of the award’s alumni, other state finalists and their families.
Podcast shared stories
Fuelled by her own experience of raising young children on the land, Ms Trethewey created Motherland, a podcast series sharing a raw and unfiltered representation of motherhood in rural communities.
After successfully amassing 330,000 downloads and profiling over 130 rural mothers, Ms Trethewey extended Motherland’s offerings by launching Motherland Village — Australia’s first online mothers’ group and resource centre.
The digital platform now offers nine separate programs for over 80 rural mothers with children aged from newborns to their late teens.
In her acceptance speech, Ms Trethewey said the transition to life on the land was a baptism of fire for her.
“Three years ago, I felt like I was completely failing at my life at farm life,” she said.
“I didn’t realise that when I married a farmer that what I really married was the land.
She said the land had given me some of the best times of my life but some of the worst.
“My struggles as a rural woman as a rural mother is why I’m here.
“Those struggles have ignited a fire in my belly to advocate for rural mums, who are some of the most undervalued and under-supported women in this industry.”
New model for postnatal care
AgriFutures Australia Managing Director John Harvey congratulated Ms Trethewey on her achievements and ability to innovatively deliver services to women in rural, regional and remote communities.
“Through her advocacy and implementation of the Motherland programs, Stephanie has created a new model for postnatal care in regional Australia and a blueprint for others looking at ways to improve the delivery of services in our rural communities.
“Her drive to create spaces that encourage connection and support for other rural women is highly commendable and a true embodiment of the Award’s key objectives”, he said.
Ms Trethewey will use her newly awarded Westpac grant to offer additional resources through the Motherland Village platform as well as a series of tailored postnatal programs developed in partnership with several rural-based hospitals.
The AgriFutures Rural Women’s Award acknowledges and supports the critical role women play in rural and regional businesses, industries and communities.