The 2022 Calendar Launch - "The Hand That Feeds You" Meet our 12 amazing farmers!

by Gippsland Jersey

A calendar highlighting the importance of mental health for Gippslanders and farmers in particular is now available across the region. 

Produced by Connect Well East Gippsland + Wellington and Gippsland Jersey, the 2022 'The Hand that Feeds You" calendar includes the stories of 12 East Gippsland farmers and extols the virtues  of sharing and recognising the inner struggles many of us, especially those who work on the  land, have faced in the past 12 months. 

Gippsland Jersey co-founder Sallie Jones said the first calendar was created in 2016 to  honour her late father, who was a dairy farmer and manufacturer. 

“I believe there is power in storytelling because it has the ability to not only impact lives but  possibly save one,” she said. 

“I know my father would have loved to have read these types of stories.”  The 2022 calendar is now available, starring 12 Gippsland dairy farmers. Each farmer tells their own story as it relates to them: financial stress, relationship  breakdown, the impact of drought and fire, and their mental health. 

For some in the calendar, it’s about smashing the stereotype of the silent farmer, gritting  their teeth and getting on with the job. Others share the reality of how they negotiate their  lives so they are not consumed by stress and anxiety. 

Each year, calendars are distributed via milk tankers to 1000 dairy farms in the Gippsland  region, where Connect Well East Gippsland + Wellington and Gippsland Jersey hope it will  serve as a conversation starter and provide a resource for any farmer struggling with their  mental health. 

The free calendar also includes contact information to various mental health services. Ms Jones encouraged anyone seeking mental health support to keep looking for the right  provider that is a good fit for them and their circumstances. 

“It is incredibly hard to pick up the phone and ask for help,” she said. 

“It’s great that there are services such as Head2Help who offer virtual support to anyone  who’s struggling. I know from talking to many farmers that tractor cabins in the back paddock  make for very accommodating consulting rooms.” 

Ms Jones said the communities of Gippsland have endured the challenges droughts,  bushfires and COVID-19 over past year two years. 

“The courage of the farmers who have shared their stories in the 2022 "The Hand That Feeds You" calendar is indicative of the strength and resilience that resonates across all communities in  Gippsland,” she said.  

“We know that support that comes from the grassroots is powerful … and we have a better  chance of improving access to mental health and wellbeing supports and resources,  especially for those who have experienced the trauma of natural disaster, when we work  together.”

Calendars are free and can be ordered online at the Gippsland Jersey website, you can find yours here

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