Rugby player and scientist plant an idea

Where to next? David Pocock and Richard Stirzaker at the Sowing the Seed event

Where to next? David Pocock and Richard Stirzaker at the Sowing the Seed event

By Mick Bunworth, Communications Manager

A packed Senior School lecture theatre listened intently on Tuesday night, as CSIRO scientist Richard Stirzaker and rugby player David Pocock talked about their friendship and their desire to assist small scale farmers in Africa. The Sowing the Seed event was designed to kick-start the annual student-led Dirrum Dirrum Festival.

In the end it became a massive brainstorming session, with those present asking questions and, in turn, being asked what questions they would take away with them.

A proposed live stream of the event experienced technical issues but the video will be placed on the Dirrum Dirrum website soon.

David and Richard have teamed up to test a new soil water device called the ?Soil Chameleon? that is being used by small-scale irrigators in Africa. Just as the bold young entrepreneurs from Thankyou (water) took on some of the biggest corporations in the world in the cause of global poverty, David and Richard are inviting people to get involved in this venture. But it is not immediately clear to anyone what the next step should be.

In an email to Radford?s Director of Community, Fr Richard Browning, and the Dirrum Dirrum organisers this morning, Richard Stirzaker said:

?? What I saw last night was the very early stirrings of a ?movement?. Richard (Browning), through Dirrum, is creating an enabling environment for young people. David, through rugby on and off the field, has earned our respect. Moreover he has a deep understanding of the African situation through 80:20 Vision and practical experience with the instruments themselves. So the scene was set for me to talk about Chameleons. Even Rosie?s story (video) is more compelling than it looks on the surface, because it potentially connects her to the women of Africa who carry much of the farming burden.

Imagine if the Radford event was advertised as ?CSIRO scientist to talk about measuring soil water in Africa?. What size would the audience have been: 10 or 20? I?ve talked to small groups like this countless times ?

Building a ?movement? around this is still critical. Soil physics is boring to most, but turning water into food for the vulnerable on earth is not. So I think we need a social enterprise that nurtures the movement and builds the business. I don?t have much aptitude here and welcome ideas.?

If anyone is wanting to continue the conversation, please email or use #dirrum on Twitter.

Dirrum Dirrum: Igniting Action is a major event celebrating the art of being and staying human and over a thousand delegates are expected again this year at various events in Canberra over the days of 29-30 July. Speakers for July 30 are: Nipuni Wijewickrema, Jessica Watson, Akram Azimi, Fr Frank Brennan, Kirsty Sword Gusmão, Rachael Stevens, Shirfra Joseph, Ryan Carters, Shea Spiering, Jackson Taylor-Grant.

The Dirrum Dirrum Festival is organised by students whose core business is about creating a climate of inspiration; fostering a cycle of responsibility and leadership development.

Visit the Dirrum Dirrum website

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