The future of PR? Well, it’s not PR for starters… Frankie goes to London to find the answers

Frankie GFrankie Gallucci is the 2014 Liquid Ideas Employee of the Year, she is 24 and tomorrow night is a finalist for Best New PR Talent at CommsCon, the industry’s Logies. But she doesn’t reckon we should be in PR, or be called PR. . . . This is a good thought piece for those of us interested in, and fascinated by, the changing way we consume media and marketing messages:

The future of PR? Well, it’s not PR for starters…

Having studied advertising at University I grew a strong distaste for PR and those studying it. Advertising was more creative, we had more fun and the end result was clear – it was everywhere – on TV, billboards, you get my point. PR on the other hand was an unexplainable part of the marketing mix. I knew very little about what it entailed except for two words it was defined by: earned media.

I got my job at Liquid Ideas through the Communication Council Graduate Program knowing very little about public relations. The graduate program pairs up recently graduated hopefuls with advertising agencies but the year I entered one PR agency had entered the mix – Liquid Ideas. The decision to put Liquid down as my number one preference on the day was complete impulse, having only ever wanted to work for an ad agency, but Stuart Gregor somehow won me over in with his unique persona, scatter brain and ability to differentiate himself from the pack. I had never met anyone like him. Except maybe my dad. My dad played huge influence on why I wanted to enter the advertising world – having passed away far too young, he is well remembered and respected in the advertising and media landscape in Australia.

So, the point of my three paragraph introduction – had you asked me two years ago what public relations was I would have said earned media – simply getting other people to say nice things about your clients, while crossing my fingers behind my back hoping that I could ‘fake it until I make it’ at Liquid Ideas. Little did I know or expect that two years on I would be on the other side of the world in London sitting with 30 PR professionals from around the globe discussing the future of public relations and the communications industry.

Liquid Ideas is the Sydney partner of IPREX – a global consortium of communications agencies from around the world. A couple of weeks ago I was lucky enough to attend and participate in a global leadership conference in London. Over two days, together with my peers from Europe, America and New Zealand, we listened, learnt and discussed the future of public relations through the lens of ‘Beyond silos: operation and managing in an integrated communication industry.’

The first presentation (and my favourite) was from Arun Sudhaman, partner and editor-in-chief at the Holmes Report, one of the world’s leading journals focussed on our industry. Arun confirmed something we all already know and practice but don’t necessarily advocate within our industry – public relations is no longer defined or restricted by the term ‘earned media.’ Instead we need to start thinking in terms of converged mediapaid, owned and earned all together.

To stop myself from writing a novel about what we learnt and my thoughts on the communication industry below are some summarised learnings:

  • The term PR as it stands is no longer relevant. If we want to keep referring to ourselves as PR practitioners we need to change the stigma associated with it. We need to show (and then sell) all of what we are capable of. Education within the industry and to our clients is starting point. PR is NOT Edina and Patsy from AbFab . . .we wish they never existed, despite how funny they might have been.
  • Recruit and structure differently. We need to stop only hiring people with a traditional public relations background. Let’s expand the talent within our agencies to those with expertise in  digital, animation, creativity, analytics, behavioural science, cultural anthropology and the list goes on. Currently, the biggest form of recruitment in PR is talent from other PR agencies. In order to adapt to the changing environment we need to explore new talents that expand our capabilities (as well as upskill and train ourselves). On a global scale, talent is overtaking economic conditions as the biggest challenge in public relations.

The question here is does recruiting differently mean we need to change the structure of our agencies. Do we need to develop new teams such as social, editorial, film-making, planning and insight? Or can these areas of expertise work best as freelance? Traditionally PR agencies are structured differently to advertising agencies – is this something we should learn from? There is no clear answer here but something worth considering.

  • We need to think about changing the way we charge our clients. Agencies bill clients for staff hours. But at the end of the day clients are buying an outcome not hours. This was an interesting topic of discussion with at least half the room of delegates agreeing that billing hours may not be the most effective way of charging our clients moving forward. That being said there is no clear answer or direction of where change could come from but it does makes an interesting debate – charging for the calibre of the idea as opposed to the time for the idea.
  • Measurement is a mysterious beast. One challenge consistent across all agencies is measurement, how do we accurately show the value of our work? This topic is still very much up in the air globally but two things were clear. AVEs (advertising value equivalency) is NOT the answer. As an agency this is something we don’t do however many clients still use this to compare PR value to advertising. The other outtake was that we need to measure inputs, outputs and outcomes. Often we only look at the first two as outcomes can be hard to track – how do we measure the effect an article had on a consumer’s purchasing decision. If the public relations industry wants to prove their value in the marketing mix we need to make sure we are searching for these answers.
  • Leadership and management is not the same thing. Real leadership happens in the conversations you are having with people while management is about managing and allocating resources, capacity, projects etc. Leaders ask what, why, how while managers ask when, who, where. Leadership starts with empathy, which builds rapport and then trust. If you took the hierarchy away (of management) would people still follow? The worst thing you can hear within an agency is “that’s just the way we do it here.”
  • There is no such thing as a new idea, but there are new ways of thinking. Invest in creativity. Full stop.

The definition of public relations may be changing but the fundamental building blocks of what underpins our industry – understanding influence, relationships and storytelling remain the same. And public relations is not alone, traditional advertising and media agencies alike are also facing an unknown future as we no longer stand alone as silos. The black and white lines of the marketing mix have turned to shades of grey as the communications industry is at a tipping point of huge change.

A big thank you to IPREX Global President John Scheibel who created the wonderful GLC forum for me (and my peers) to discuss and learn what I just (briefly) touched on above. IPREX is a wonderful extended family that Liquid Ideas is lucky to be a part of. Check out more info here: http://iprex.com/

And Stuart Gregor – thank you for letting me take over your blog this week and for giving me the invaluable opportunity to represent Liquid Ideas at this year’s GLC.

Final words from John Scheibel, an age-old truism with a unique Ice Hockey slant:  “Skate to where the hockey puck is going…not where it’s been.”

The week that is… some reflections on a crazy weekend

Yesterday the business I co-founded, Liquid Ideas, turned 15 years old. Saturday night I attended one of the best sporting events I’ve ever been to in Sydney. Sunday morning I woke to the news that a good mate and Glenn Wheeler had been badly hurt in a scooter accident. Queensland, which has always been a rogue-ish unpredictable place, has just back-flipped better than a 14 year old Bulgarian gymnast on the floor. And meanwhile in the rest of the world (well the USA at least) the obsession with today’s Superbowl just seemingly knows no bounds. Oh, and our Prime Minister is a bit of an idiot and unelectable in 18 months’ time, but let’s be honest, we knew that already.

Some weeks there’s not much on, some weeks are pretty action packed – this very much feels like the latter.

A moment of reflection on my business and I wonder what it was, what was the motivation to go out and start my own business 15 years ago? Some think it some kind of entrepreneurial calling, an ambitious plan to be a “game changer”, a certainty that you can revolutionise the way your industry operates. Well I’m here to tell you that ain’t the case in my case. I started my own business because I couldn’t think of anything else to do and I’d met a smart chick at business school who agreed to be in it with me. So necessity was the father of this particular invention. A mere matter of 15 years later and it seems like it was all so pre-ordained, that it was obviously part of the master plan… #rosecolouredglasses.

I think more people should start their own businesses, I know the stats aren’t great but that’s because too many of the wrong people start-up businesses in fields about which they know little. If you’re going to start your own business here’s my one piece of advice – know loads more than most people about what it is you intend to do. And show some perseverance. It won’t come quick. People who want quick bucks should go into banking and finance – for the rest of us, its graft. Keeping at it. And staying fresh, staying young and staying real.

It’s a real temptation to believe your own bullshit after a while, even if you’ve experienced just moderate success like I have. Don’t do it. Apart from the fact you will become a wanker you will also start to get passed by smarter, younger turks as you revel in your own awesomeness. Stay humble.

Whatever you do, don’t write a blog about your own amazing success – that’d be the perfect example of jumping the small business shark.

So onto other things – jeez the Socceroos match was exceptional. Epic as son George called it.

A wonderful night where the very best of Australia was on show. In the Stadium Australia crowd I sat between a young woman in a headscarf with a blow-up kangaroo  and a couple of elderly Eastern Europeans with broken English, yellow and green wigs and huge smiles. The trains worked, the spirit was beautiful. The Korean fans were fabulous, loud and decent. Gosh I loved it. On the way home on the train I thought what the Socceroos represent. I have always been a Wallabies guy – I am after all white, Anglo-Saxon, from the North Shore with a private school background. I realised that while the Wallabies might be MY team, the Socceroos are truly OUR team. Our national team, representing all of us and the best of us. Much more than the cricketers ever could be.  And mention must be made of THAT play by Tommy Juric when he got knocked down twice, was double teamed and still got in the cross . . one of my great moments executed by ANY Australian footballer EVER. And Massimo Luongo, who my son had not heard of on Saturday morning, is now the household favourite.

Glenn Wheeler – please get better. The world needs people like you. People of unbridled enthusiasm, people who see the positive in everything, people who light up a room and are happy to wear terrible shoes and worse jackets. Come on mate, you’ll get through this, I know it.

And as for the PM, well if the National Press Club speech is the best he’s got… well that ain’t good enough for me. A call for consensus politics from this PM is akin to a call for sledging calm from D Warner. Not going to happen Mr Prime Minister, not on your watch anyway.

And the Superbowl? Well, I love it. It is now officially on the top of my sporting bucket list. I’m just going to have to make a lot more money in this small business to get myself a couple of tickets…

Back to the grind I guess.

I’m the luckiest bloke in the world.

Solve world hunger . . . one meal at a time

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Solving world hunger . . it’s no small topic to broach in the lead-up to Christmas but you can be thankful the issue has not been addressed by me but by Ronni Kahn, CEO and Founder OzHarvest, Australia’s leading food rescue organisation.

Ronni is, of course, the Founder and CEO of OzHarvest; she is strong-willed, single-minded and extraordinary. Ronni set up OzHarvest a decade ago and today there are 28 vans tootling about each capital city in Australia feeding people who would have once gone hungry. But OzHarvest, and Ronni, are becoming much more than just a pick-up service for leftover food. They are leading the charge on food waste – a $10billion waste in Australia alone. It’s a proper disgrace.

And yes, I am honoured to sit on the Board of OzHarvest.

This week Ronni is in Lima, Peru as a guest of the United Nations. Here’s what she is going to say:

Solving world hunger and climate change by addressing global food waste

Although you’ve heard this  before, we need you to hear some of the issues facing all of us again and perhaps pass this knowledge onto someone who hasn’t heard it, so they too can be aware…

On one hand, nearly one-third of the world’s food production goes to waste each year.

That’s some 1.3 billion tonnes of fruits, vegetables, cereals, meats and dairy products lost or wasted instead of being eaten according to the UN Food and Agriculture Organisation.

On the other hand, 870 million people across the globe are undernourished and without access to food.

Skip to Australia. OzHarvest, as part of our Education pillar (the other pillars being Rescue and Engage), repeats this fact year on year, that $8-10 billion of food is wasted in Australia every year. That’s 4 million tonnes of food that ends up in landfill.

Think of the staggering amounts of squandered water, energy, fuel and labour used to produce those products.

Horrendous for a country with a modest population of 23 million.

The terrifying reality is that 2.5 million of our fellow Australians actually live in poverty according to the latest ACOSS report released this year, and rely on assistance and food relief services such as those provided by OzHarvest, FoodBank and similar organisations to get by.

Without the basics of food and water, how can one survive?

This is what connects all humans. It’s also what provides a person with dignity and respect. It is our basic human rights. It’s also why some experts say food security and food sustainability are two of the most important issues necessary to solve in our lifetime.

I bring your attention to some of the global challenges that we at OzHarvest like to get our hands dirty with, and have a go at contributing our innovative thinking and solutions towards.

The global issue of food waste, food security, and how to feed a growing world population which will exceed 9 billion by mid-Century.

Another is Climate Change. It’s real. It sure is.

Believe it or not, food waste contributes significantly to Climate Change.

So if you’ve ever wasted the weekend’s leftover spag bol that you just couldn’t bring yourself to eating on Monday morning, or threw away a banana because it’s too brown and bruised…. we’re all a little guilty aren’t we?

Every kilo of food wasted or lost that ends up in landfill, rots and creates methane which is 20 times more harmful a greenhouse gas than carbon dioxide.

As the United Nations Environment Programme (UNEP) points out, if food waste were a country, it would be the third highest GHG emitter after the USA and China. Scary fact.

It’s exactly these issues that see OzHarvest invited by our international partners UNEP and Climate Action, to bring our decade of experience, learnings and knowledge – and proven track record – to activate a food waste themed educational, informative and interactive lunch event for 350+ delegates as part of the Sustainable Innovation Forum at COP20 Lima.

The Sustainable Innovation Forum brings together world leaders, CEOs, senior executives, national, regional and city leaders, investors and industry experts to share ideas and accelerate innovative solutions to address climate change, accelerate green growth and sustainable development.

It’s with pride and honour that our somewhat small actions at OzHarvest, in having saved 10 million kilos of food from landfill to date, and delivering 30 million meals to hungry Australians have left a huge positive impact on our environment and social world and continue to make an impact as we share our model and legacy with other countries.

I hope this encourages you all to think about what you too can do, to make a small contribution in your own way, to help solve hunger, reduce food waste and make a positive impact to addressing Climate Change which will affect each and every one of us , if not now, in some time in the not too distant future. Help us make the small changes necessary to make a huge difference.

RIP Gusman encore. A worthwhile reminder why we should fight cancer with all we got.

When you’re dealing with parents growing old and getting crook, as all of us in our ’40s undoubtedly are, you’re always struggling for perspective, for meaning and sometimes you get an unexpected clarion call.

On the weekend I got an email from Maz Larkin thanking me for a post I wrote a year ago about the death of her beautiful son Gus to brain cancer at age 15. She had been sent it from a friend on the one year anniversary of his death on October 24, 2013. She pointed me to a video tribute made to Gus that is now on the Cure Brain Cancer website here.

She also reminded me that this weekend right around the country you can walk for a cure; there are literally hundreds of walks on – so maybe try to do one or donate a few bucks.

Brain cancer is shit. We’d be far better off without it.

So following is the blog I posted the day of Gus Larkin’s funeral on October 30, 2013; I hope it’s worth reading again or for the first time. I did and cried like a baby. But somehow it also filled me with hope and so did Maz’s amazing note this week. It’s pretty amazing how strong we can be.

RIP Gusman – I wish I knew you better
Original post, posted on October 30, 2013

I didn’t know Gus Larkin real well. Met him a few times, seemed like a good kid – son of a mate, funny bastard, quirky sense of humour, loved the Simpsons. Nothing unusual about any of that. I got to know Gus a whole lot better today at his funeral. Gus Larkin passed away last week aged 15, courtesy of a horrible brain tumor, as if there is any other kind.

Gus lived shorter than all of us would want, he suffered more than most of us could imagine, yet he did it with the strength and attitude all of us would covet. He was an ordinary kid at 11 when he had a bit of blurred vision. That was 2010, he was tested and the news every parent dreaded was delivered. What made this impossibly worse was that at almost exactly the same time, in fact within the very same month, his old man, my mate Gav Larkin, founder of RUOK Day, was also diagnosed with an entirely unrelated Lymphoma. Gav died in September 2011, Gus went to join him last Thursday.

Today was impossibly difficult. It was hard enough for us, the congregation at the church in Waverley, but for Maz, Gav’s wife and Gus’ mum – well you just can’t fathom it. You simply can’t put any of your feelings into words; whether written or spoken.

And when Gus’ sister Josie spoke, and she spoke incredibly beautifully as anyone who knows her knew she would, she said that this one – burying her brother, was even harder than the last one, burying her beloved father – you just had to ask yourself – how can this be allowed to happen? How can life be so brutal, so unkind, so impossibly sad?

And when Maz spoke, so gently, so beautifully about cradling Gus in her arms at his birth and just 15 short years later, at his death – your heart just fair dinkum broke. In half. Shattered.

I’m not a religious bloke, so I’m not sure God is going to do it for me, but the Catholic father said something that resonated. He said “Trust”. You just have to have Trust and you have to believe that somehow things will get better. For Trust, read faith. And regardless of your denomination of faith, faith is the thing that binds us. Faith that somehow, something good can come of such tragedy.

I’ve never felt so despairing at a funeral. I’ve seen a few off in their ‘40s and plenty in their ‘80s, but seeing off a 15 year old is gut-wrenching. Your whole body aches, your head throbs and hours later your eyes still sting. As a mate said as we exited the church; “15 year olds should be at birthday parties, not funerals.”

To Maz and Josie and Van and all their extended family all we can do is extend ridiculous, sincere and wholly unfulfilling commiserations. From what I knew and now know of Gus, or the Gusman, is that he was awesome. That he celebrated every day – every sunrise and sunset; that he saw the great in every day. That he lived and fought and loved and celebrated as hard in his 15 years as many do in eight or nine decades might say something. What? I have no idea.

His was not a life fulfilled, it was a life cut well and truly short. But it WAS a life well lived. He was surrounded by love and heartbreak and joy and real, genuine sadness. He never reached the potential he might have, given time, maturity and worldliness, but he gave his short 15 years everything he had. And maybe we just have to trust someone or something or some entity that, that’s enough… Because let’s be honest – what other option is there?

One option is to donate money right here www.cureforlife.org.au

Yet another gripe about wine lists… #predictablestu

I write this column from atop my high horse. I’ve been riding this particular steed for quite a while and intend never to get off till I get my way. And trust me people I’m a hefty bloke with some pretty serious saddle sores right now, so for god’s sake please pay attention.

Australian wine does not have nearly enough representation on the better wine lists of Sydney and Melbourne. And it pisses me off. And it has done so for more than a decade. And I thought it might be improving, but it’s not.

Last month I was invited for the fifth year, to be a panel member judging the Sydney Morning Herald Good Food Guide Wine Lists of the Year. Big lists, short lists and regional lists and the winners will be announced on September 1. There are some terrific lists, cleverly constructed that understand that bigger is not always better, that empathy with the food is essential and that supporting local “producers” includes the wine grower as well as the pig farmer.

And then there are the “others”. The ones that think they are “on trend” by being deliberately obscure; ignoring local wines that might simply be too easily understood and accessible.

And then . . ., ooh baby, then  . . . . there’s my particular bete noir; the hypocritical locavore.

The bloke (and it’s ALWAYS a bloke) who forages the weeds from his median strip and  blends them with the whey from the cow he keeps in his yard and the salt he pans from the Alexandria canal . . . oh god, it’s all so painfully LOCAL and ON TREND, it might just make you grow a beard.

But when I see his drinks list, I really want to hurt a hipster because, yep no surprises here, 90% of his wine list has travelled halfway round the world, in big clumsy, heavy bottles with stupid waxy tops and contents that look like the urine sample of a man with just one functioning kidney.

I’m sorry but I call a big, fat, BULLSHIT on that sort of behaviour.

For mine it shows that the person in charge of this restaurant is a chef, not a restaurateur, and that’s bad for business.

I could understand this dire situation prevailing if we lived in, say Wales or Kenya or even Thailand but we don’t. We reside in one of the most clever, brilliant, diverse and exciting wine producing nations in the world and we are getting too widely ignored on our own shores.

If I was in government (and you can be glad I’m not) I would be bloody legislating against this sort of behaviour. I’d be banging on louder than Senator Crazypants from Queensland – and making a hell of a lot more sense.

I have nothing against wines from all over the world; I love them and drink them all the time, but I reckon an outstanding wine list should offer diners the best of both worlds – wacky wines and drinkable wines and an opportunity to discover something they didn’t know they had, possibly right here on their own doorstep.

So think local, eat local and drink local.  It will make you a better human.

Think. Eat. Save. Why we need to repurpose our fridge. @OzHarvest. #mealforameal

Bill Pritchard is the Associate Professor in Human Geography at the University of Sydney. I first read this post late last week and it was set for a run in the mainstream media but extraordinary events dictated otherwise.

Today Bill and I both participated in Oz Harvest’s incredible Think. Eat. Save initiative in Martin Place. He agreed to let me post his piece on my blog.

Thanks Bill.

Think. Eat. Save. Why we need to repurpose our fridge. @OzHarvest. #mealforameal

Take a look at your fridge. If it’s like those of many Australians, too many of its contents exist in situational limbo between being bought, semi-consumed, and then, some days, weeks or months later, discarded.

A fridge of half-consumed food might seem like the most implausible subject for serious intellectual enquiry. But in the quest to understand and repair the twenty-first century’s dysfunctional food system, it’s a good place to start.

Our current global food system leaves more than 800 million people under-nourished, makes more than 500 million people obese, and unsustainably diminishes our natural resource base. The current ways in which we produce food aren’t feasible for a future planet of nine billion.

Fixing these problems is tough work. It takes good science, clever policies, and political and civic leadership. However, sometimes the best strategies are also the most obvious. The World Bank has estimated that somewhere between one-third and one-quarter of all food produced in the world is wasted. If we can address this, a huge step forward would be taken.

Why is food wasted? In Australia, the ironic cause of much of the problem is our excellence in transport, logistics and packaging. Our easy access to a huge range of food that is packaged and presented for (apparent) freshness, make the problem of food waste seem invisible.

I’m old enough to remember my mum planning our meals. Sunday dinners would be converted through the week into stews and casseroles. My mum did these things because of the cultural repertoire that defined her generation’s attitude towards food. In an age less dependent on refrigeration and with less packaging, doing the most with the food you had was a moral and economic code. The cookbooks of the age celebrated the creative uses of leftovers.

We shouldn’t invoke nostalgia for its own sake. But remembering the past brings the shortcomings of the present into view. Social, economic and technological systems have seduced consumers into false economies. Buying food in bulk may give the suggestion of cost savings, but these savings evaporate if the food is later discarded. All too often, fridges have become transit zones of poor food choices.

The irony is that with microwaves and other supportive technology, we are better positioned than ever to organise food consumption in ways that minimise wastage. However, contemporary consumer mindsets treasure new and different meals every night, rather than planning weekly food cycles. Supermarkets construct and feed these mentalities by glamourising perfection. Misshapen fruit is filtered out of sight. Packaged foods are sold in increasingly idiosyncratic and expensive ways through manipulations of exotic combinations of ingredients.

The horizon is not all bleak. The Think.Eat.Save initiative by OzHarvest in partnership with the United Nations Environment Programme and UN Food & Agriculture Organization, brings these issues to the foreground. Among the hipster communities of the younger generation, food is sexy. In my experience as a lecturer at the University of Sydney, the best and the brightest of the next generation all understand the importance of food politics. Volunteer community gardening is the new black.

These trends don’t reach everyone in society equally. For the many households on struggle street, getting a meal with greatest convenience and lowest price remains the priority. But as a society, we are now starting to have a different kind of conversation about food, and one which is bringing the problem of food waste front and centre. A good start is to look inside your fridge, and think about how and why its contents tell a bigger story about the global food system.

We live in a society where we think we’re still better off if we buy in bulk, leave the detritus of our choices in our refrigerators, and then dump it at zero personal cost for our local Council garbage collectors to pick up.

Whether we’re better off is questionable. Whether the planet is better off is undeniably not the case.

#thankful for Ester and her @dairygoodness

Ester

Ester Wimborne was not famous but she was much loved, almost revered by people who love great dairy, real people and beautiful produce.

She sold Country Valley yoghurts and milks at Eveleigh and Marrickville Markets every weekend for at least the past five years. She died in a road accident last Sunday.

Ester or @dairygoodness as she was known on Twitter, was remembered at the Delicious Produce Awards on Monday. She is a great loss.

Without prompting, our wonderful Business Manager Sophie Steverson drafted this #thankful tribute to Ester, who she saw every weekend for five years.

Soph has agreed that I can post this tribute on my blog. Thanks Soph.

#thankful for Ester and her @dairygoodness

By Sophie Steverson

We had a timely reminder on the weekend on the preciousness of life and how it can be turned upside down when least expected. 

We have been buying our milk and yoghurt from the Eveleigh or Marrickville Markets for the past five years. Once upon a time we brought milk at the supermarket and didn’t really give it much thought. Then we met Ester who sold milk, yoghurt and cheeses at the markets. 

Suddenly there was a story behind where the milk was coming from and every week she would tell us almost exactly the same story about how great her milk was, how many awards it had won and how we wouldn’t find better. We were slow to adapt. I wasn’t convinced. But over time and many a free sample we became addicted. 

We started to share Ester’s love for the product, her never ending and tireless campaigning for the small guys who believed in what they produced. When we had our babies, Ester would personally deliver milk and yoghurt to our house at no extra cost but would love a simple conversation on how we were all going. 

We went for our usual trip to the markets on this Sunday morning just past. As one of the first people to arrive we were told the terrible news that Ester had died in a car accident on her way to the markets, only an hour earlier. 

We were stunned, in shock, not sure how to process the information. While not being close by any means, Ester has played a big part in our weekly habits of the past five years and suddenly she would now not be involved any more. Ester will no longer tell us how much our children are growing and how it must be because of her milk and yoghurt.  

The last time I saw Ester my son was having a meltdown that not even a free sample of juice, yoghurt or butter could abate. I was looking forward to having a real conversation this week but it didn’t happen, and now never will. 

I can’t remember if I ever expressed my real thanks to Ester for being there every week but I’m thankful that we were able to share our Sundays, that she shared her story with us and that we can continue to enjoy her beautiful products and remember her when we do.

Thanks Ester. Rest in beautiful dairy peace.