Airdate: Fightback Farmers: Feeding Australia Together

A documentary special showcasing Australian co-operative farmers and fishers screens next week on ABC.

Fightback Farmers: Feeding Australia Together follows co-operative farmers and fishers as they face the triumphs and tragedies of trying to stay on the land and keep operating through trade disruptions, climate disasters and even complete industry restructuring.

Business council of Co-operatives and Mutuals CEO Melina Morrison said: “We are thrilled the public broadcaster is screening such an important and heart-warming documentary about co-operative farming. The ABC is committed to telling interesting stories about everyday Australians and we are expecting viewers to enjoy and appreciate Fightback Farmers: Feeding Australia Together.

“At a time of unprecedented upheaval, Fightback Farmers is the story we need to hear about communities and families who keep striving to overcome adversity, and demonstrates why the co-op model is the right fit for these farmers.”

“We’re a bunch of farmers one day, and the next we’re all coming together to form a co-op,” says dairy farmer Stuart Crosthwaite after the collapse of dairy giant, Murray Goulburn.

He is joined by fellow dairy farmers Teresa Hicks and Scott Mackillop, winemaker Fred Pizzini, pasta maker Silvana Micheli and lobster fisherman Craig ‘Slim’ Reilly. There are also interviews with TAFCO’s Tony Vaccaro and Lachlan Campbell, who talk about having to completely reinvent their businesses after the tobacco industry suddenly closed.

Executive Producer Steve Bibb, from Barking Mad Productions, said: “I’ve long admired the Australian families who dedicate their lives to living on the land – farming, feeding and clothing our nation – generation after generation. As a city boy, I also know that most of us don’t appreciate what is actually happening, that small family farms are disappearing. It begs the question: why?

“In Fightback Farmers, I wanted to meet some of these small farming families – the great characters – who are going back to the future. These farmers and fishers are turning back the clock in a new take on an old away of working together. As we discover, they’re trying to stand strong in the face of adversity for their farms, the future generations, their local communities and a way of life.”

Fightback Farmers: Feeding Australia Together was funded with the assistance of the Co-operative Farming project supported by the Department of Agriculture, Water and the Environment through funding from the Australian Government’s Starting Farm Co-operatives Program.

9.30pm Tuesday 15 June on ABC.

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