Hi everyone, my name is Courtney Davies and I am the first New Zealand NGIN representative! Furthermore, I am very honoured to have been recently elected by our 2023 NGINeers as our Chief Ambassadress. I would also like to congratulate fellow NGIN and Youth Ag Summit alumna, Grace Tiwari, from Nepal/USA in her recent election to be the NGIN Chief Secretary. Representing young people in agriculture and their connection is extremely important to me and I have been privileged to educate and inspire more than 35,000 youth throughout the world since 2019.
Growing up in New Zealand I have had a strong affinity for our natural world, first becoming connected to the agricultural industry through raising, showing and breeding Ayrshire dairy cattle at local country shows through my cattle stud Inca Ayrshires, before going on to be the youngest elected member to the Royal Agricultural Society National Executive in 2019. My agriculture involvement has spanned being a Rural Ambassador across four countries, representing New Zealand as a cattle, sheep, fleece and poultry judge in Australia, a New Zealand Bayer Youth Ag Summit Ambassador in Brazil as well as working with MyFarmbase Africa as a sustainability instructor for their Global Development Program. Agriculture is truly a both a global connector and a local solution.
We all know that young people are our future. It is a no brainer. The United Nations tells us that there are over 1.8 billion people aged between 15 – 35 years old – that’s over 25% of our global population! So how can we create solutions that are youth-focussed and youth-led? By putting young people in the centre of that decision making of course. I first applied for NGIN as a way to engage with other passionate youth and agriculture enthusiasts while getting inspired by different projects to work on at home in New Zealand. Although we are only a few months into our tenure, it has been incredible to share stories with all each other, a rich diversity of backgrounds, interests and cultures. I have already learned so much about what is going on across the world! It can sometimes feel like a bit of an echo chamber in New Zealand – a major global dairy producer, yet so geographically isolated and often overshadowed by the voices and personalities of larger economics.
Later in August we will all meet in person for the first time in beautiful Tanzania. Here, we will participate in the Africa Food Systems Forum 2023 and learn first-hand about the power of women and youth in agriculture – the key topics in the Forum through a re-energized commitment to the food systems conversation. The theme for this year is Regenerate, Recover, Act, something I know our NGINeers are already engaged with in their work. We have NGINeers leading international youth movements, local economic developments, studying the power of bugs and microbes, as well as advocating for a more inclusive agriculture industry. Keep an eye out on future NGIN newsletters to get to know our fellow NGIN Ambassadors more over the next few months.
Until then, I’ll sign off. If you would like to connect (please do!), reach out to me on LinkedIn @Courtney-Davies, Instagram @courtneytoday or on Facebook through @IncaAyrshires and @NorthernAgriculturalYouth.
See you soon!