When Jen Hampshire moved to Kiama five years ago, one of the first community events she went to was the Kiama Show.
“The Show embodies many of the things that people are seeking when they leave the city – a connection to the land and the people that farm their food, a slower pace that leaves time for creativity, and being involved in a community,” she says.
The next year she got involved by exhibiting flowers and cakes (beginning a determined campaign to win the Marble Cake sash – something she finally achieved this year), and was soon offering to help out in any way she could.
Her professional expertise in office management and strategy made her a natural fit for the role of Show Secretary, once Sue Granger-Holcombe signalled she wanted to retire after ten years of service.
Jen says six months’ shadowing Sue as Assistant Secretary has been a dream handover, giving her a real appreciation for what’s involved.
“Sue has been very open and sharing, and has promised to be at the end of the phone, so I’m confident nextyear will be just as well oiled.
“Seeing 250 people come together to make it happen over the Australia Day weekend was remarkable.”
As a newcomer to the area, Jen says joining the Show Society has fast tracked her connection with the local community, and she encourages other newcomers to get involved.
“While I don’t have any local farming links or live on a farm, I do have a passion for connecting people to the source of their food and highlighting the importance of farming in our community.”
This passion has also led to Jen being an active member of Slowfood Saddleback and helping to manage the new Berry Farmers’ Market.
“My focus as Show Sec-retary will be to respect the farming heritage and showcase the agricultural richness of the Kiama area in an event which has something to offer all members of the community, from the youngest to oldest.”
At the opening of the 2019 Show, Ms Granger-Holcombe was presented with the prestigious Royal Agricultural Society of NSW Agricultural Award. Sue Cox and Barbara Wyles were also made Life Members of the Kiama Show Society.