Singing, dancing, young grower smashes stereotype of Australian farmers

With a professional background in musical theatre and three small children, Courtney Johnston admits to having felt a little isolated on her dairy farm. But the 28-year-old's creativity has blossomed after she and her husband Wade transformed a calf paddock into a fledgling flower farm.

Ms. Johnston has cultivated colorful rows of blooms, including native paper daisies, straw flowers, zinnias, cornflowers, sunflowers, statice, pink baby's breath, and poppies, from seed bought from an Australian company that plants a tree for every purchase.

"I think it's pretty hard, especially as a young mum of young children, being so far away from family and friends, and friends with kids. I think it's been a little isolating for me," Ms. Johnston says.

October 15 is International Rural Women's Day, and Ms. Johnston is one of many women changing the stereotype of what a farmer looks like in Australia.

Before her brother played matchmaker and set her up with her husband, Ms. Johnston studied and toured Australia as a professional dancer and singer in the musical theatre industry. Life changed dramatically after moving to Bollier in the Mary Valley, nearly an hour's drive north-west of Maroochydore on Queensland's Sunshine Coast.

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