Stories shared at 'Growing Together' event

STORIES: Speakers at the Cowell Growing Together event. Names in story.
STORIES: Speakers at the Cowell Growing Together event. Names in story.

A strong lineup of speakers gathered at the Cowell Institute on Saturday as part of the Mentally Fit EP Growing Together weekend in the town.

Locals were treated to a day of speakers aimed at improving wellbeing and resilience in farming communities.

Educational talks were given by Rural Business Support staff and succession planning consultant Judy Wilkinson, with many speakers sharing a variety of tools for improving wellbeing.

Most speakers came from an Eyre Peninsula farming background, including former Country Health SA counsellor and Lock farmer Micheal Hancock, who spoke about his own experiences assisting community members through serious mental health issues and preventing suicide.

Streaky Bay farmer and mind and body coach Suzie Kenny spoke about her family's struggle through drought conditions on their farm.

Mark Jarvis of Oysters Amalgamated gave a talk on the impact Pacific Oyster Mortality Syndrome has had on the South Australian industry.

He shared the impact the loss of Tasmanian spat had on the Cowell industry, which he said was halved by the lack of supply.

Mr Jarvis shared his own story of having to reduce staff and slowly watch as he sold all of his stock.

He said while local oyster farmers were now "moving forward" as local hatcheries increased output, there would be a lot of challenges to rebuild the industry and get oysters back on the menu across the state.

Pictured: back: Ian Oswald-Jacobs, Robert Holtham, Martin Baillie, Steve Whillas, Mark Jarvis, Micheal Hancock; front: Lain Montgomerie, Judy Wilkinson, Sarah Powell, Renaye Thomas, Suzie Kenny, Kate Gunn and Jasmin Piggott.