2020-08-27: National Centre for Farmer Health: Social media campaign showcases country life during coronavirus – The Weekly Times

Poster boy: Dougal and Bo taking it easy after a long day tree planting. Picture: Prue McAllister

Article: Bethany Griffiths

A SOCIAL media campaign is hoping to connect isolated rural Victorians through sharing digital stories of how life has changed during the pandemic.

Run by the National Centre for Farmer Health, the #SnapshotRuralVic campaign kicked off at the start of the month and has already seen tales of how differently life in the country looks, from socially-distanced bonfires to remote learning in the ute.

“#SnapshotRuralVic aims to unite Victorians through storytelling, humour and creativity.

Social media has become a part of everyday life for many Victorians, and now we hope to turn the spotlight onto rural Victorians and share their stories across the digital landscape,” project officer Hilary McAllister said.

Entrants can win weekly prizes for showing off their creativity through pictures, poems or even Tik Toks. Every submission received will be collated into a coffee book as a hard copy time capsule of what life looked like throughout coronavirus.

“The campaign is now in its second week and already we’ve had good traction across both Instagram and Facebook. We’ve had some great photos come through of what people are up to during this unprecedented time, and stories of how people are coping with the ever-changing circumstances,” Ms McAllister said.

“It’s interesting to think that plenty of men and women are getting out of bed on frosty mornings to check on their stock, often going at it alone and nothing to keep them company but the sunset and bleating lambs. But really across the state, there are hundreds of farmers doing the same thing. It’s really nice that sharing through #SnapshotRuralVic shares these personal experiences and reminds people that they are actually not alone.”

Though working on the farm remains virtually the same for many, the ways in which people have had to adapt to connecting with the wider community has certainly changed, and showing that off is a focus of the campaign.

“From the local CFA meetings embracing Zoom technology, to people learning the art of mask making and getting their hands dirty in the vegetable garden, I hope #SnapshotRuralVic can help educate, inspire and hopefully provide some insight into rural life during these troubling times,” Ms McAllister said.