Changing the world with agriculture begins with sowing the seed in yourself
Ever since I did agriculture at university I wanted to make a difference in the world and on that journey I found that even though you go out into the world to change others the one that you change the most is yourself.
My first year after University had me teaching Agriculture as a volunteer on the island of Savaii in the country of Samoa. I was straight in the deep end teaching not only ag but a range of other subjects that I didn’t have a great deal of experience in, my theory in life is that you only have to know 10% more about a subject than the people that you are teaching. I survived the year unscathed with some great stories and the moral to the year was don’t be afraid to do something as that’s the only way we all learn.
This trip ignited my interest to do more work on overseas projects as the Indiana Jones of agriculture in me was let loose (minus the whip).
I have ended up travelling to the following places on projects:
- Hyderabad, India, with the UN at ICRISAT on a project on pearl millet through the Crawford Fund.
- Hanoi, Vietnam, with Australian Business Volunteers on a project writing a scoping study on the public plant breeding sector in Vietnam.
- Dili, East Timor, with Seeds of Life on a project looking at better trial analysis of local crops.
- Yambuk, Australia, where I trained a student from East Timor for 2 months how to become a plant breeder, funded by the Crawford fund.
- Bejing, China, with the International Seed Federation presenting my idea “Plant breeders without Borders”.
- Seed collections in Israel, Spain and Turkey from the centre of origin of the plants that I breed in funded by the Rural Industry Development Council and the Grasslands Society. This is what made me be interested in plant breeding at Uni, the chance to travel the world and collect the endangered germplasm that is nearly gone, the Indiana Jones of the pasture world you could say.
- Next year I hope to be going to Ethiopia to work on the first pilot project for plant breeders without borders on forages with the International Livestock Research Institute.
This journey has made up the storey of my life and it is those people that have tread on the same path that can fully understand that feeling of sharing the knowledge that we have gained from being lucky to have lived in a place like Australia with those that have not had such a lucky life like ours in developing and 3rd world countries.
So in summary for all the young people out there a future in Agriculture can lead you into adventures that you never imagined possible, it can make you into someone that does make a difference to your life in a good way and others that may not get the opportunities that you have. Share that knowledge that you have, don’t be afraid that you think you have nothing to share, take that step and you will never turn back.
Anthony Leddin is the founder of Plant Breeders Without Borders – an idea where plant breeders would volunteer and then be matched to projects overseas that were looking for plant breeder. Check out the Facebook Page for more info:
Plant Breeders Without Borders founder, Anthony Leddin.