Since 2016, Southern Cross University has been home to the Farming Together Program.
Farming Together was born through the Farm Co-operatives and Collaboration Pilot Program, a $15 million program funded by the Australian Commonwealth Government. The Program fostered innovative collaborative models such as co-operatives to help farmer, fishing and forestry groups tackle supply chain issues, drought and climate change and deliver triple bottom line benefits, including improved farm gate returns. In doing so, Farming Together flipped the traditional university and industry partnership approach by placing the farmer as the primary partner, realising unique results.
The multi-award-winning Farming Together Program exceeded KPIs by more than 340% in all program deliverables, by reaching over 730 groups comprised of 28,500 primary producers across 23 industries in every region of Australia, supporting 51 projects financially and delivering more than 1,000 consultancy advisory services. The program catalysed the formation of over 70 new co-operatives, the sharpest spike in agricultural co-operative formation in Australian history.
Today, Farming Together continues to deliver high-impact, high-quality outcomes. Founded on the principle of ‘putting people first’, we are a multi-disciplined, expert team working with individuals, groups, communities and organisations to achieve their goals. The program has evolved to become the engine room that drives the collaborative work of the Regenerative Agriculture Alliance at Southern Cross University.
As farmers face intensifying climate and economic challenges, the team at Farming Together are putting both collaboration and regeneration at the heart of their mission for the greatest impact.
Explore our site and find out what opportunities exist for us to work together.
The Farming Together program is founded on the core values of collaboration, respect, understanding and integrity. Through working together we help bring awareness and understanding to the different challenges and barriers faced by collaborating stakeholders on the pathway to success. We assist in transforming these challenges into opportunities and work with individuals, businesses and communities to creatively shift thinking to enable innovative solutions.
What we do
Backed by Southern Cross University, one of Australia’s leading regional universities, and funded by the Australian Commonwealth Government, Farming Together is a not-for-profit organisation offering a wide variety of services to grow agricultural communities through collaboration. Farming Together’s collaborative model is the engine that drives many of Southern Cross University’s Regenerative Agriculture Alliance projects, which aim to improve the holistic health and wellbeing of Australian landscapes, farmers and communities through regenerative agricultural research, education and practice. We work with individuals, groups, communities and larger organisations to enact greater strategic growth and capacity building. Through collaboration, we support and encourage resilient and regenerative people and communities to highlight opportunities and harness capabilities and collective strengths.
Meet our team
Lorraine Gordon is a beef producer from Ebor in NSW. She has had an extensive career in agricultural leadership. She is a former NSW Rural Woman of the Year and CEO of Regional Development Australia (RDA) Mid North Coast.
The co-initiator of the successful Ebor Beef Co-operative, she has presided on the Small Business Review Panel of the Reserve Bank of Australia, the Board of Studies at the University of New England, Charles Sturt University’s Consultative Committee and three regional tourism boards (New England North West, South Coast, Mid North Coast).
Previous positions have included Business Finance Manager and Regional Agribusiness Manager with Westpac Bank, Director of the Graduate Network of the Australian Rural Leadership Foundation, and Executive Director of Economic Security for Women. She is also a graduate of the Australian Rural Leadership Program and was an award winner in the 2002 Telstra Business Women’s Award.
Her qualifications include advanced diplomas in corporate governance, tourism and agriculture, and an MBA from UNE majoring in project management. Lorraine is currently completing her PhD in ecological economics (grazing systems in northern NSW) through UNE.
Lorraine was awarded the 2018 Rural Community Leader of the Year for Australia and was a 2019 finalist for Australian of the Year for her work with farmers.
Farmer Groups Project team leader
Amanda Scott grew up helping on an uncle’s sheep farm south of Sydney. This led her to study agriculture through high school and university and work on a number of farms across NSW.
Drawn towards education, she completed an honours degree in primary education specialising in science. She became a mathematics teacher and worked in the field of mathematics assessment at the University of NSW while also running a part-time business. In 2007, was the winner of the Rotary Bright Sparks Program Young Entrepreneur Achievement Award and in 2016 secured two New-Colombo Grants from DFAT.
She holds a Diploma of Management, a Certificate IV Marketing and a Diploma of Gemmology. She is a Justice of the Peace and is undertaking a PhD in Collaborative Networks through SCU.
Farming Together Project Officer
Simone Blom, grew up running through the vineyards of her grandparents boutique property in Victoria. Through this engagement with the outdoors, Simone developed a passion for the natural environment that led her to studying Environmental Science at The University of Melbourne. During her studies, Simone became involved in Marine Education and on completion of her second degree in teaching, worked for over a decade with the education branch of the Department of Primary Industries (now Fisheries). At this time, Simone also worked as the Head of Science and the Sustainability Officer at a high school in regional Victoria.
Simone has lived in the Northern Rivers for the last seven years and has been employed in a variety of teaching, research assistant and project officer roles at Southern Cross University. Through these positions, Simone has travelled both nationally and internationally working in collaboration with other teachers, universities and Australian academies. Simone received a Vice Chancellors award for Excellence in Student Engagement in Education in 2015, and is currently completing a PhD in Environmental Education.
Debbe grew up on a small holding in south-east Queensland and was a keen horsewoman, having won awards in show-jumping and dressage. Now, she farms beef and medicinal honey on a 154ha holding in northern NSW.
Her working background includes seven years running her own small business, assistant to the accountant for an agricultural machinery dealership, department manager at a Central Queensland radio station, junior Financial Planner, assistant to construction project managers at University of Queensland, before coming to Southern Cross University for the Farming Together Program.
She holds a Diploma in Financial Services, certifications in OH&S, training and assessment, first aid and electro-technology, and is nearing completion of a Bachelor of Agriculture from University of New England.
Melissa Gulbin is a journalist and content marketing specialist with over 15 years’ experience.
Melissa was the editor of The Lismore Echo newspaper and senior digital reporter for Australian Provincial Newspapers (APN). As a sought-after blogger and columnist, Melissa established her own content marketing business in 2015, where she used her well-honed storytelling ability to drive campaigns for not-for-profit organisations and social enterprise start-ups.
As a Landcare volunteer, community events coordinator, and environmental campaigner, Melissa’s passion is building resilient communities through connection to the land and one another.
Melissa holds a Bachelor of Media from Macquarie University.