Women from across Tasmania are meeting in Launceston this week for the Country Women’s Association state conference – and there are no scones on the menu.
State president Lindy Cleeland said the Tasmanian cohort packed some punch – and were willing to weigh in on taboo issues like hemp and pre-planned funerals.
“Every year we choose an emerging primary product to support and educate our members on and this year we focused on hemp,” Ms Cleeland said.
“We encouraged members to try it and promote that product by learning more about it. We told our members they could sow it, grow it, sew with it, craft with it, cook with it and share it.”
And so they did, using hemp in cooking, as silken thread for embroidery and as fabric.
Conference attendees and members of the public can find out more about the ways hemp can be used from the Little Green Trailer, which will be located just outside the event.
“They can have a coffee and hemp shortbread and learn about hemp as a product to eat, the medicinal benefits and how it is a sustainable crop,” she said.
Researching and promoting products like hemp is just one way the Country Women’s Association is reinventing itself for modern society.
“Every woman is a country woman, because the choices she makes affect the future of the country,” Ms Cleeland said.
Members from the Tasmanian branch recently attended the organisation’s national conference, where the state organisation was awarded $100,000 from funding allocated by Dick Smith to help run sustainable projects to benefit regional communities.
These projects include revitalising the Bridport CWA Hall to make it a centre for community training and opening new branches at Rosebery and the East Coast.
“We’re changing the way we do business so more people can engage with the CWA. Many groups are reinventing the wheel that we’ve been doing successfully for 82 years,” Ms Cleeland said.
“We have clout, social responsibility and we are looking to engage with others in the community so there is less fragmentation. We have the expertise to help people.”
Country Women’s Association of Tasmania state conference is at Best Western Plus, Launceston, on Thursday night for an informal event, with the conference on Friday morning and business sessions on Saturday.
“We won’t force anyone to wear a hat and gloves – and there won’t be a scone in sight,” Ms Cleeland said.
For more information about the CWA, call 6231 3706 or email firstname.lastname@example.org