Farmer sends spoonfuls of support

Farmer sends spoonfuls of support

Tottenham farmer Terry Fishpool has issued a call to action to his fellow farmers to hang a spoon on their farm gate, mailbox, or in their window as a gesture of support for those in lockdown due to the pandemic.

With a little help from daughter Fiona, the 75-year-old ‘retired’ farmer has hit the world of social media with #hangaspoon hashtag and is asking farmers to share their photos of hanging spoons.

“It can be any sort of spoon, and the bigger the better. Wooden spoons, steel spoons, it does not matter. What matters is getting the message to our friends in the city,” Terry said.

Terry’s call out to hang a spoon started with these spoons on the mailbox at the family farm, Minara, now run by Terry’s son Eric and wife Lisa. Terry’s daughter, who is also a farmer with husband Brett Starr in the Tottenham area, came up with #hangaspoon hashtag.

In the bitter throes of drought and most recently, a mice plaque, Terry was touched by the support he received from ‘urban and city’ people across the country.

“For us, it was the drought – 2019 was an absolute disaster and lot of farmers were really at the end of their tether.

“Over that period of time, we got lots of support both from people in other rural areas and in Sydney. There was house water being trucked in, loads of hay donated and little parcels of gifts and food for the families.”

“The compassion that was showed to us was really wonderful and made us feel that we weren’t alone. And I am sure there are many farmers who were affected by the recent bushfires and floods would feel the same.

“We had a recovery year last year. For most people, it was a good year and that recovery has continued this year. I thought now is the time to say thank you.”

Terry and wife Laurie are proud grandparents of ten grandchildren, including two living in lockdown in Sydney.

Terry put his much-worn thinking cap on to come up with a simple and affordable gesture that all farmers could use a symbol of gratitude, compassion, and solidarity for those faced with strict lockdowns in the city. The grandfather of ten has a little more spare time these days after ‘retiring’ with wife Laurie to an 810-hectare farm at Tottenham.

“I came up with the idea of hanging a spoon on the front gate. A spoon often gives the first mouthful of solids for a child and signals the next step into the journey of their life. It also represents the delivery of food and the hope that no one goes hungry.

“Everyone has a spoon, so it can represent solidarity for those finding life challenging. People is the city can also hang a spoon on their front gate or in their window to let people know they are okay.

“It’s a simple way to send a message to city folk and all in lockdown that you are not alone. Even if people laugh at it and think it’s a bit silly, then I have achieved my goal of making someone smile.

“You might not see that smile behind the mask, but I’ve heard people say that you also smile through your eyes, so the joy still spreads.”

For Terry, it’s an important reminder that, no matter where Australians are located, they recognise each other’s challenges and stand together during difficult times.

“We’ve got to remember that we’re in one country and we believe in the Australian dream. The hope is that we can get through this together and that we can rebuild our hopes, dreams again endeavouring to provide for brighter future for all our children.”

Terry is asking farmers to share their photos of hanging spoons with a #hangaspoon hashtag on social media

Terry has been a proud member of NSW Farmers and Graingrowers for more than 40 years. For another great member story, click here to read about fellow long-time member and wood chopping icon Philip Melbourne.

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