Food and nutrition security in the news…and 2024 promises to be even bigger!

February 1, 2024

The Crawford Fund raced through 2023 at full pace as travel around our training, student awards, mentoring and journalist visits overseas was underway, making up for lost time and opportunities caused by the COVID pandemic. And to add to the pace, we had our Doing Well by Doing Good Campaign!

Here, we are reflecting on a few highlights of what we achieved in both traditional and social media coverage to raise awareness of food and nutrition security issues, our work and that of our partners.

Our busy year was peppered with events around our Doing Well by Doing Good Campaign. Launched in December 2022 at the National Press Club, we called for an increase in the proportion of the development assistance (aid) budget invested in agricultural research for development. The specially commissioned “Doing Well by Doing Good” reports were then the focus of a series of forums around the country.

ABC Tasmania’s Fiona Breen  interviews board member Dick Warner during Tasmania DWBDG event (left) and ABC Country Hour NT’s Matt Brann interviews then ACIAR CEO Andrew Campbell at our DWBDG NT event (right). 

 We were pleased with media interest in our key message covered on ABC, commercial and community radio and print and online examples including Investing in global agri-R&D also ‘benefits donor countries’ on SciDevNet, Former MPs plea for more funds for farmers in developing countries in The Weekly Times, Calls for more of Australia’s $4.5 billion international aid budget to be funnelled into agricultural research in the Countryman, and Crawford Fund Forum highlights need for more investment in research and development in Australian Community News rural weekly papers, as well as reports around individual committee events.

Our annual conference was once again the highlight of the nutrition and food security calendar. Held in September, focused on the topic, Global Food Security in a Riskier World – Diversification for Resilient Food and Nutrition Systems, we were able to bring significant attention to how farmers the world over, generally facing similar significant risks, can better understand those risks, and adapt and diversify for more sustainable production. A taste of the comprehensive TV, radio and print media coverage is available, with our speakers once again going above and beyond to help raise awareness of the important issues raised at the event.

Our Instagram campaign highlighting the colour, vibrancy and immediacy of our student awardee, mentor and trainer activities in-country and in the field went from strength-to-strength this year with so many more visits underway. From our student awardees, we’ve had posts from Samoa (Ella Lockley, UTAS); Timor-Leste (Jorge Ramos, CSU); the UK (Oscar Fung, University of Melbourne); the Philippines (Harry Campbell-Ross, ANU); Nepal (Manita Raut, ANU); and Morocco (Nakita Cally, UQ) just to name a few! And it was great to get collaboration from stakeholders in adding to this attention.

Student awardee and ABC journalist interviews Prof Andrew Campbell, then ACIAR CEO at Pacific Ag Week 

It was a somewhat different ‘wraparound’ student award experience for UTAS student Lucy Cooper. Having her original student award plans thwarted by COVID-19 and in the meantime having taken a position as a journalist with ABC Rural before returning to complete her Masters, Lucy’s award experience was as a journalist visit with Cathy Reade, our Director of Outreach, to Fiji timed around the 2023 Pacific Week of Agriculture and Forestry. Lucy’s interviews included the Fijian Minister for Agriculture, the CEO of ACIAR, Australia’s Special Representative for Australian Agriculture and a variety of agricultural researchers from Australia and the Pacific Islands. The resulting stories by Lucy included:

We are looking forward to reports in The Guardian and Cosmos Science Magazine from the journalist visit by our 2019 journalism award winner Natalie Parletta who travelled with our Director of Outreach, Cathy Reade, for The World Vegetable Center’s 50th birthday celebration in Taiwan.

Other highlights of our year include:

Our social media channels (Facebook, LinkedIn, X/Twitter, and Instagram) for 2023 received 692,029 post impressions, 25,302 engagements (likes, shares and comments) and 8,969 clicks. Our total social media following is 16,971, with 10,699 people following us on X/Twitter. The Crawford Fund YouTube channel gained 55,510 impressions, 6,718 views, 139 shares and 43 likes. 25 of the channel’s 186 subscribers were acquired in 2023. Crawford Fund-associated hashtags and topics continued to perform well in 2023. #NextGenAg4D saw 7.12M impressions, #WhyAg4Dev received 3.36M impressions and #23CFConf gained 4.41M impressions. With recent subscription changes and analytics challenges at X/Twitter, impressions and other data may have been impacted.

2024 has started with a bang with a journalism award visit to Morocco already done and dusted. Brett Worthington, federal political correspondent with ABC News Digital received a Crawford Fund Journalism Award for his article The perfect storm: Ukraine, Fertiliser and Fuel, Climate Change. He accompanied Cathy on a ‘seeing is believing’ trip with funding support from DFAT’s Council for Australian-Arab Relations (CAAR) Program. Keep an eye out for some fantastic stories to appear from both Natalie and Brett’s visits!

We are excited about all that awaits us in 2024, starting with a series on NSW researchers rolling out in the Land newspaper, and some stories around our student awardees underway.

We are ready for a very busy year – spreading good news stories about agriculture for development and sharing our impact in training, mentoring, NextGen and outreach activities with you.

You can stay in touch with us via our social media channels (listed above) and our newsletter.