Farmer in Antarctica

By Anika Molesworth

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I am Anika Molesworth – one of 95 women in STEMM (Science, Technology, Engineering, Mathematics and Medicine) invited from around the globe to participate in Homeward Bound 2019.

What is Homeward Bound?

Homeward Bound is synonymous with the engagement of women in science globally on matters that affect the sustainability of our planet.

Homeward Bound is a 12-month leadership program which culminates in a three-week intensive voyage to Antarctica. The initiative, turned global movement, aims to heighten the influence and impact of women in STEMM, in order to shape conversations and impact policy and decision making as it shapes our world. 
This article captures the Homeward Bound experience well.

Why Women?

Globally, women are underrepresented in leadership positions and change has been incredibly slow. Women are emerging from university and college degrees as significant percentages of graduates and they take up a large percentage of our workforce. However, we are marginalized globally when it comes to executive decision-making roles. T
here are only 19% of women in executive roles in STEMM. By giving women, like myself, the leadership and strategic skills, a sound understanding of the science, and a strong purposefully developed network we will be able to impact policy and decisions towards a sustainable future.

Why Antarctica?

Regions of Antarctica are showing amongst the fastest responses to climate change seen anywhere on the planet. The study of Antarctica and the Southern Ocean, and their roles in the climate system, provides critical insights into global-scale change, and the influence of human activities on environmental change. The continent is iconic as a wild, beautiful and unique environment that has captured the imagination of many leaders in the past. By taking this journey together as a group of women in STEMM, we envision the experience will forge strong bonds, inspire action and lead to extraordinary collaborations between the group to help protect, not only Antarctica, but the places we love and call home.
Why me?

I am committed to creating sustainable and resilient farming systems and rural communities. As a researcher with the Centre for Regional and Rural Futures at Deakin University, I investigate how to better recycle and reuse agricultural by-products (such as crop residues and livestock manures) to improve soil fertility and crop yields. My PhD work involves field trials in the Riverina of NSW and the lowlands of Cambodia. I completed a Bachelor Degree in Agribusiness and a Masters in Sustainable Agriculture with Charles Sturt University, of which part of my research was conducted in Laos.

I have always been interested in agroecology - learning about the great challenges that the world faces – of feeding a growing number of people globally, ecosystem degradation and climate change. I spend my days advocating for the protection of our delicate natural environment, rural communities, and food production systems – and I believe sustainable farming is an important key in ensuring a vibrant and resilient future for all of us. 
My interest in agriculture was sparked on my family’s sheep farm in Far West NSW. The landscape has a raw natural beauty that I instantly fell in love with. But our introduction to farming was a steep learning curve – as we were struck by the decade-long Millennium Drought. The harsh reality of drought and realising the projections of a hotter and drier future drove me to learn everything I could about climate change – and more importantly, what action is needed to reduce greenhouse gas emissions and adapt to changes already occurring.
Famers play an incredibly important role in tackling climate change, and I believe having a foot on-farm, in industry, and in research gives me a valuable perspective and an important message to share. I helped establish Farmers for Climate Action and I connect landmanagers to researchers through my platform Climate Wise Agriculture - through which I run seminars with the University of NSW. I am also keenly interested in the conservation of natural and cultural heritage in farming communities and founded the International National Trusts Organisation’s Sustainable Farms program.

Communication and collaboration have always been central in my work, as I endeavour to share the farming story – both the successes and the challenges. I have proudly been involved in the Young Farming Champions program since 2014, and now part of the Youth Voices Leadership Team, which sets to empower young individuals working in Australian agriculture by giving them the tools and skills to thrive. In 2017, I presented to an audience of nearly 2,000 as a TEDx speaker on “Farmers are key to a better future”, and this year spent time in South America working with young farmer groups as part of a parallel program to the G20 Agricultural Ministers meetings.
I was awarded the 2015 Young Farmer of the Year, 2017 NSW Finalist for Young Australian of the Year,  NSW Young Achiever Award for Environment and Sustainability and most recently the Green Globe Awards Young Sustainability Champion.

Will you help this dream become a reality and help me to make a difference?

Participation in the Homeward Bound program comes at a significant expense, approximately $25,000 AUD.

Based on the substantial costs, I am seeking financial sponsorship/donations to achieve my fundraising goals. I endeavour to raise these funds through a variety of channels, including:
  • Corporate sponsorship
  • Speaker presentations
  • University support
  • Crowdfunding
Your donation (however big or small) will enable my involvement in the program and help me to build skills, knowledge and confidence to tackle the greatest challenges of our time – of creating food and farming systems that are resilient in the face of climate change, that nurture our beautiful environment, and support healthy and vibrant communities.
If you or your organisation is interested in providing financial support, I'd love to have a chat.

Thank you for your interest and consideration.

In deepest gratitude,

Anika Molesworth
+61 (0) 408 386 121

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Team Members

Anika Molesworth