The individuals and groups that lead South Australia’s agricultural and regional communities were recognised on Friday 4 November at the 2022 Regional Showcase and AgTown of the Year awards.
Held at the UKARIA Cultural Centre at Mount Barker, the awards were attended by regional communities as far afield as the Eyre Peninsula and the lower South East.
The Regional Showcase Awards, run by the publisher of InDaily, Solstice Media, brought together the 20 finalists from the more than 100 stories published last year about regional South Australia.
The finalists were in the running to win one of six individual category awards, including the coveted People’s Choice Award.
Jim Plouffe, who commissions and edits the stories that are published in InDaily, SALIFE and The Lead South Australia, said that this year he was impressed with the depth of stories.
“The story of resilience has of course been a main theme over the past few years in the regions, but this year it was great to see many of these stories progress from communities just getting by to them actually thriving,” Plouffe said.
He pointed to the winners of the People’s Choice Awards, the 5431 Collective in Orroroo, as an example. The award goes to the story that garners the most engagement of the 20 finalist stories.
“These townspeople have banded together to create a vibrant business that not only helps other businesses but also revitalises the main street of the country town,” Plouffe said, adding that the Community Empowerment Award presented by Regional Development South Australia also went to an Orroroo initiative with Rural Aid to spruce up the community.
The Regional Resilience Award, sponsored by PIRSA, was won by the South Australian Seed Conservation Centre for its work on developing a seed garden on Kangaroo Island to help regenerate the bushland lost in the 2020 fires.
The Business Innovation Award by Business SA was won by Kiminnes Ol’ School Shearing for its reimaging of the traditional industry, while the University of South Australia’s Lifelong Learning Award was given to Bike SA for providing kids in the APY Lands and other communities the chance to own a bike.
The My Bundaleer community group behind saving and then developing a community centre in the Bundaleer forest won the Meaningful Connections Award presented by Seniors Card.
The other anticipated award on the night was the 2022 AgTown of the Year, which was presented to the farming community Mypolonga by Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development Clare Scriven.
“Mypolonga has a population of around 500 but is not short of energy,” Minister Scriven said.
“Its tagline of ‘Mypo Small but Mighty’ absolutely rings true. The community has a remarkably diverse agricultural industry, with a wide range of crops and livestock. The entrepreneurial spirit is clear in the impressive range of businesses experimenting, diversifying, and value-adding from traditional products and outputs.
“I also offer congratulations to the finalist towns of Crystal Brook, Kapunda, Orroroo and Waikerie, which are great South Australian agricultural communities.”
Minister Scriven also pointed out that a common theme amongst all the winners on the night was the role of volunteers in making their communities better places to live and work.
Image : Minister for Primary Industries and Regional Development Clare Scriven presents the AgTown of the Year Award to Mypolonga