Owner of Alive And Well, a pop-up stall providing healthy food and wellbeing products to rural communities, Ellen is a passionate advocate for the health and wellbeing of people on the land. Based in Kimba on South Australia’s Eyre Peninsula, she and her husband run a broadacre mixed-grain and livestock farm along with their three children and her husband’s family. She’s self-proclaimed netball nut and this humble, quiet achiever is happiest when she’s creating – whether that be a new recipe or memories with her family. 

When asked what concerned Ellen about the health and safety if those in rural industries and communities, she spoke of dangers associated with remote work, particularly if something were to go wrong. She and her husband use the My Operations app to monitor the location and use of machinery, so that if there was an incident they would be alerted quickly. She’s of the firm belief that rural men and women should view health as an investment rather than an expense, and encourages other rural women to keep learning about health and safety, to not underestimate the value of small changes and to lead by example to shape a safer, healthier future for rural communities.

How would you describe yourself in three words?

Genuine, caring and passionate.

Tell me something interesting about yourself...

I’m a wife, a Co-Director of our family farming business, a full-time mother of three, a netball nut, a volunteer and everything in between. I am intensely passionate about health and wellbeing within our rural communities.

What's one achievement you are most proud of?

Our three children.

What makes you truly happy?

Creating in all forms, from experimenting with food / cooking to creating memories with our children and family.

What do you love the most about being a rural woman?

The diversity, freedom and flexibility that being a rural woman allows is amazing. One day I’ll be out in the paddock shifting sheep, the next I’ll be in the kitchen cooking up a storm.

Tell me about a time when you felt worried about your own or someone else’s health, safety or wellbeing on the farm, boat or in some other aspect of rural life.

There’s also always that unsettling feeling when my husband is out working. You might know that they’ll be in for tea eventually, but no phone coverage or UHF in some areas can sometimes have you worried that something could happen and you could go hours before actually hearing about it.

What practical things did or could you, your partner and / or others do to prevent someone from getting hurt?

We now have an app on our phones, My Operations, that allows us to see if tractors  or other machinery are mobile and being used.

"We regularly service our cars, tractors and machinery so they run efficiently… so why not place this kind of importance on ourselves? Our health is an investment, not an expense."

Ellen Zibell, Kimba, South Australia AU Tweet

Is there a time, place or scenario when your partner/workers are more willing to make changes to the way work is done? 

When they are under less stress, have had adequate sleep and can see / think clearly, we’re able to analyse areas that need improvement at our meetings and try to come up with a better solution. 

If you could give any advice to another rural woman about work health and safety in rural industries, about influencing change in business - or just in general - what would it be?

Lead by example. As rural women, we have the power to shape the future of rural industries and our future generations. Don’t underestimate what little changes can produce – a small rock can make a big ripple. Keep learning and implementing what you learn, through small changes in my life I am teaching my family about health and wellness so they, too, can create ripples in other’s lives. 

Is there anything else you'd like to share?

Our health should be a major focus in our rural lives. We regularly service our cars, tractors and other machinery so that they run efficiently and perform as they should; so why then do we not place this kind of importance on ourselves? Our health is an investment, not an expense. A healthy lifestyle not only changes your body, it also changes your mind, your attitude and your mood.

Share your story!

Everybody knows someone who could be making smarter, safer and healthier choices.

No matter what role you play, where you live or what you do, we all have a responsibility to look out for the health, safety and wellbeing of ourselves and those around us.  

30 years ago no-one wore seatbelts. Today we do it without even thinking about it.

Join the conversation today.

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