Worimi man and Gloucester resident, Joshua Gilbert is one of the most influential young men in agriculture in NSW, especially when it comes to the environment.
On November 6, 2021 Joshua won the Rising Star Award, awarded to an outstanding environmentalist aged under 30, at the Nature Conservation Council's 2021 NSW Environment Awards.
"I was pretty surprised but honestly I'm just really humbled. For me its obviously a really important award and its good to have the recognition," Josh said.
He is keen to not take the credit just for himself. Reconciliation NSW nominated Josh for the award, and he says the award is also a celebration of the work that organisation does. Josh is the Indigenous co-chair of Reconciliation NSW.
The citation for his Rising Star Award says that Josh is "developing a new narrative in the agricultural sector that represents Indigenous agricultural interests that have a strong links to environmental land management and stewardship."
Josh's resume and achievements are vast and impressive.
He was instrumental in campaigning against the NSW Biodiversity Conservation Legislation that has led to broad acre land clearing.
Previously the chairperson of NSW Young famers, he resigned that position over the organisation's stance on the legislation and worked with conservation groups to advocate against the policy changes.
He developed the first pro-active climate change policy of a political farming organisation (NSW Farmers Association) that recognised that farmers were on the frontlines of climate change.
This led to him attending the 2015 Paris Climate Change summit as a representative of the agricultural sector.
Josh was a founding member of Farmers for Climate Action in Australia which led to him attending the 2015 Paris Climate Change summit as a representative of the agricultural sector.
He was a Young Australian of the Year finalist, and in 2016 was named Australian Geographic's Conservationist of the Year.
He produced a documentary for inclusion in Al Gore's Climate Reality Project, viewed by more than 100 million people all over the world. He also gave a TedX presentation in Canberra.
Currently Josh is working as a researcher at the University of Technology, Sydney while working on achieving a PhD from Charles Sturt University. He is the first Aboriginal person to conduct higher degree research in the agricultural sector, exploring the role of Indigenous identity and culture through Western agriculture, post colonisation, the citation for the Rising Star Award notes.
While he currently lives in Gloucester, his family has a farm at Nabiac, breeding Clydesdale horses and braford cattle. He and his family are regulars at local shows
Josh is on the Wingham Beef Week committee, and, further afield, is also on the committee for the St Heliers Heavy Horse Field Days near Muswellbrook.
He tries to spend as much time on the farm as he can, continuing the family tradition. His family have been farming since 1825 using Western agricultural methods, but have been living on the land for 60,000 years before that, he says.
"I'm sure that we will have young Aboriginal people farming on my Country for the next 60000 years," Josh said.
"I think the biggest narration that comes out of this is that we need the combination of Indigenous people and knowledge interwoven with Western agriculture to make sure that we have the best benefit for all into the future."