Kellogg’s Rice Farmers
An Ode to Shelley
Shelly’s story starts with her dad, a rice farmer from Moama NSW. He fell in love with farming and purchased a rice farm when Shelly was only 18 months old. As a kid, Shelly loved to help her dad on the farm. “I remember being really involved. I would do fencing or cutting burrs or whatever needed doing. I wasn’t helping poor old Mum. I was out with Dad,” she says. “My dad didn't see me as being a boy or a girl, he just saw me as someone who was passionate about what they do.”
However, as she got older, Shelly’s life took a different path. “I went to uni and did a science degree, but I just didn’t feel that being stuck in a lab was for me. I don't think the farming got out of my blood.”
So, Shelly talked to her dad about getting back into it. And as fate would have it, a farm across the road from her parent’s property came up for sale. Shelly says the owners didn’t even go to a real estate agent. “They just went to over and said to Mum and Dad ‘Are you interested in buying it?’ And Dad was like, ‘Yeah we might know someone.’ We felt like it was meant to be.”
Growing her first rice crop on the farm was a special moment for Shelly. She vividly recalls waiting for the water to come out of the channel into that first bay and remembers thinking, "Oh, my gosh, yeah, this is why I'm here, this is what I'm meant to be doing."
Shelly loves growing rice, “it just makes me,” she says. “You get this connection with your crop and are watching it grow from a little seed into this plant. It’s an amazing feeling knowing my little crop, and I'm only a little rice grower, can produce enough rice to feed about two million people.”
Shelly loves sending her rice off and knowing it’s being used to feed Australians. “It’s just so exciting to think that it could be someone's Rice Bubbles in the morning,” she says. “I love the feeling that I'm part of that. Actually, our family has a Rice Bubbles slice recipe, which has been handed down from my great aunt, and it's definitely the kids' favourite.”
However, if there’s one thing Shelly thinks farmers are really bad at, it’s telling everyone how good they are. “They just want to get on with the job” she says. But she believes telling their story and sharing the great things that farmers do is really important. “I don't think it's well known that Australian farmers use 50% less water than the global average to grow a kilo of rice, and that should be celebrated.”
To thank Shelly for being such a legend and celebrate 90 years of sourcing grains from Australian farmers, Kellogg’s commissioned a personal artwork for her. It was designed by Sydney-based artist Katie Shriner.
We chose Katie because she has a whimsical yet simple style, creating fun and friendly illustrations that we thought would make Shelly smile. Katie was also keen to embrace the challenge of working in a new tech medium - translating her illustrations into a unique virtual reality experience for Shelly and her family.
At first, Shelly was a bit shocked to get the call to be asked to be involved, but was so excited to be a part of such an important project. “I was just really keen to see how Katie interpreted my lifestyle, and my life, and my passion for what I do because I have not got an artistic bone in my body, so I couldn't wait to see what Katie had done.”
When she saw the artwork, Shelly got quite emotional. She was shocked at how much of her life Katie was able to capture, showing all the aspects of her farm and her family. “We'll have this to remember forever, so how lucky are we to be involved in this amazing project.”
We’re stoked Shelley was so keen to be involved. She definitely is one special lady and deserves all the recognition in the world. We hope we’ve been able to show her how much we appreciate her and all our Aussie farmers and help them tell their stories. Without them we couldn’t do what we do. So thank you Shelly, and here’s to another successful 90 years of Australian rice farming.
Ode to Shelly.
Ode to Farmers.