Cara Peek, a Broome-based lawyer, social innovator and co-founder of Saltwater Country, has been named the 2020 AgriFutures Rural Women's Award National Winner for her work in driving employment opportunities for First Nations people in remote Australia.
Cressida Cains, artisan cheesemaker and a passionate dairy industry advocate from New South Wales was announced as the award's National Runner Up.
Due to COVID-19, the national Rural Women's Award ceremony was postponed last year.
Instead, the 2020 National Winner was announced today at a special ceremony offering live coverage of the proceedings via video links with over 600 viewers tuning in across the country.
Ms Peek, a proud Yawuru/Bunuba woman was recognised for her dedication to fostering access and opportunity for rural and remote communities and accepted the award at a State-based ceremony at The University Club of Western Australia in Perth.
Adding to the $10,000 already awarded to each state and territory finalist from Platinum Sponsor Westpac, Ms Peek will receive an additional $10,000 from the bank to further progress Saltwater Country, an Indigenous-led not-for-profit that uses rodeo sports and country music events to re-engage at-risk Indigenous youth with their rich pastoral history.
2020 WINNER: Cara Peek
As the Chair and Co-Founder of Saltwater Country, Ms Peek is currently working to empower Indigenous people to improve their social, emotional and economic wellbeing whilst building on the legacy of strength and resilience of Aboriginal stockmen and women.
Saltwater Country develops evidence-based programs delivered with cultural integrity, allowing students to train in the safety of their own communities, across the disciplines and passions of horsemanship, equine therapy, agribusiness, creative industries, marketing and event management.
A native title lawyer and proud Yawuru/Bunubu woman, Ms Peek has dedicated her life to helping people, communities and businesses transform mindsets that result in deep, true conscious change.
As the 2020 Agrifutures Rural Women's Award National Winner, she hopes to increase public awareness about Saltwater Country's vision whilst creating more traction around national and international conversation surrounding culturally appropriate action.
By providing experiential, engaging and creative learning platforms which focus on cultural needs, she further hopes to level the playing field between rural and metropolitan standards of living for Aboriginal people.
2020 RUNNER UP: Cressida Cains
Ms Cains passionately believes in strong and profitable alternatives for small or family-run dairies looking to launch their own branded dairy products. The artisan cheesemaker and co-owner of Pecora dairy, she has experienced the highs and lows of this journey first-hand and hopes to empower other producers to follow suit.
In 2021 Ms Cains launched Dairy Cocoon, a not-for-profit digital platform offering members a curated source of business tools, mentors, information resources, educational guides and an online community hub to help facilitate industry-wide networking and support.
Ms Cains believes an ongoing presence of small, independent dairy brands will ultimately lift the profile of the sector, especially as consumer consciousness shifts to preference for locally made produce. She hopes to use her position as the 2020 Agrifutures Rural Women's Award National Runner Up to tell the stories of hard-working dairy families, educate consumers on the benefits of high-quality dairy products and preserve this unique industry for generations of dairy farmers to come.
The publisher of this masthead, Australian Community Media, is a proud media partner for the Rural Woman of the Year Awards.
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