March 10, 2024

Gemma Di Bella: making waves in Australia’s first water quality market

At 16 years old, Gemma Di Bella is the youngest in our women making waves in water quality series. Representing the fourth generation of a farming family in Ingham, Far North Queensland, Gemma and her family have been agricultural producers for nearly 100 years.

With the Great Barrier Reef on their doorstep, Gemma’s family has been actively integrating land management practices for many years to ensure the health and productivity of their land, including looking at ways to reduce environmental impacts such as nutrient run-off, water quality and soil erosion.

The Reef Credit Scheme offered a new and innovative opportunity for Gemma’s family to build on the sustainability and biodiversity work they already do, with the added benefit of generating an additional income stream to reinvest in the farm.

Gemma loves the land and being part of the agricultural industry. Her ambition is to carry on the family tradition into its second century of farming.

How are you involved with improving the water quality in the Great Barrier Reef?

We do quite a few things to help the sustainability and health of our land and keep our soil nutrient rich. Some of the things we do is grow legumes which improves soil health and reduces the need for fertiliser.

We try to minimise the impact on the environment as much as possible. The Reef is important to our local towns and communities.

I think more education and understanding about the issues affecting the Reef is needed. I’m proud in my family we are doing all we can to reduce our impact, and that my dad is teaching me and my brothers how we can be sustainable and viable, and producing healthy nutritious food.

Why is this important to you?

Working sustainably benefits our local environment and our farm, and it also saves money. It’s important for our local environment, so future generations get to enjoy the Reef and our rainforests. It’s also important to me because I want to make sure the farm continues in our family for another generation.

What have been some challenges and how did you overcome them?

Some people think I am not as capable as the boys. Once, I had a teacher tell me I won’t make a living or a career out of agriculture. My family has been farming for nearly 100 years. We’ve adopted new and different practices and continue producing quality crops for Australia.

When I hear this kind of talk, I just be myself and focus on the goals I want to achieve.

What support do you receive?

I get a lot of support and encouragement from my parents and my family. Some of my teachers and the locals have also been great.

Who or what inspires you?

I fell in love with agriculture at a young age. I love everything about it. Currently I’m doing a school-based traineeship, Certificate III in Agriculture, and I’m already following my family’s footsteps in farming.

I’m inspired by Zoe Carter. She does a great job promoting agriculture to young people across Australia.

What advice would you give other young women in agriculture?

If your heart is in it, don’t be afraid to give it a go – keep trying even if you fail.

Thank you, Gemma for sharing your story.

For more information about Eco-Markets Australia and participating in the Reef Credit Scheme, please explore our website.