Dr Robbie van Hemert
Dr Robbie van Hemert is an award-winning research artist who has written and illustrated a number of rural biographies including 'Majestic Food Plains ...A Land Biography'. This regional, community biography encompasses the geological, farming and historical significance of the Liverpool Plains, where she resides with her family.
Dr Robbie van Hemert is a research artist. Following the completion of her PhD research at UNE Armidale, Robbie’s first regional project was The 'Majestic Food Plains...A Land Biography'. It encompassed the geological, farming and historical significance of the Liverpool Plains.
“I came to understand that not only is this a world-class food source, it is also a masterpiece of nature! In fact, it took Dame Nature some 400 million years to create this perfect Food Bowl! Imagine! A sea of cracked black soil as far as the eye can see, scattered with treed islands where the people and the animals live, underpinned with precious shallow aquifers, and then a line of mountains right around the rim – just like your actual breakfast food bowl!”
The project evolved into an Education Syllabus for Primary School students. ‘Food Bowl Connection’ is that program.
“The program is all about connections. Connecting with a place is fundamental to caring for it. Art is a communication tool for environments that need their story told, connecting people that matter to places that matter, to ensure care for these places. A deliberate single focus is the most effective way to establish this critical connection, hence why a single focus of the magnificent Liverpool Plains Food Producing Region of NSW just five hours north-west of Sydney."
The resources tell a beautiful story of the ethic of care for food source, creating confidence in sustainable Australian Agriculture. Robbie is focused on building a movement based on a shared vision to see young Australians educated on the ‘ethic of caring’ for food source through a national grassroots education program.
“I knew that if I could connect students to this one food source, other Food Sources would benefit through this newfound awareness. Teachers and students alike are blown away by the area’s sheer size when they visit, as they try to understand just how much food this place can produce, compared to concepts they understand, such as their school kitchen gardens."
“The program builds healthy relationships with everyone involved, and to me that seriously is one of the greatest benefits.”
Early in 2020, following feedback from teachers, Robbie adapted the Food Bowl Connection Unit so that teachers now have flexibility to teach the unit with a local lens.
Robbie now lives with her family on the Liverpool Plains, where she follows her belief that Food Source Matters and continues to develop creative and educational projects to promote the importance of farming and food.
Gifts from the Majestic Liverpool Plains Food Bowl
Research-artist Dr Robbie van Hemert's original artwork adorns a selection of giftwares that you can purchase here.
"We may be a small rural community but by sending transportable and meaningful 'thank you' gifts from the Majestic Liverpool Plains Food Bowl of NSW, we can connect more people to this precious place. Why?
Because at Food River Station we believe that connecting with a place is fundamental to caring from it."
Australia's food bowl is the subject of an education unit sweeping schools across Australia.
Watch the Prime 7 News segment on Food Bowl Connection and the Brand Muster Challenge.