Despite Winter and the odd rain, the drought situation is still impacting rural communities and will continue to, for some time to come. No doubt many of you have already donated to one of the fundraising organisations to assist drought-affected areas, but while the issue fades from the news headlines, the reality of it all is certainly not fading away.
Here’s some ideas on how you can assist businesses in drought-affected areas in very direct and positive ways:
• Visit the areas. If you’re planning a Christmas holiday, why not include a stayover in one of the towns in a droughtaffected area. Make a detour from your usual route if you can, stop into the town, fill up with petrol from the local servo, grab supplies from the local store, call into the pub for a parma and a beverage (non-alcoholic if you’re driving), indulge in a meaningful shopping spree at the main street stores – whatever you can to support the local businesses whose livelihoods are so very dependent on a thriving farming sector.
• If you’re not planning a big getaway, schedule a few day trips to rural areas and discover somewhere new while doing your bit for a local community. Explore the town, have a meal, venture into the local galleries and attractions and show your support. And don’t forget to come away with some local produce such as the Country Women’s Association offerings and other local delights.
• Consider purchasing supplies from a rural stockist for some of your business supplies.
• For a full-on immersion experience, check out the websites that offer the opportunity to stay on a farm and assist with the work around the property.
• Donate your time to work on a property for a few days. Programs are available offering this service.
• Own a holiday house which is vacant most of the time? Why not donate the use of it to a farming family to give them a much-needed break that they probably can’t afford.
And don’t forget our embattled strawberry growers. Load up your soon to be grown summer pavlovas with plump, juicy Australian-grown strawberries and refresh with a strawberry slushie, smoothie or dacquiri made from fresh strawberries.