Growing Grass Roots
Chelsea Millar is a bubbly soul, paving a different sort of path in agri. Developing the digital skills and capabilities of the agri sector is a passion for Chelsea, owner and founder of Grass Roots Media NZ. By completing the Kellogg’s Rural Leadership Programme on the topic of ‘Developing NZ Inc’s Primary Industry social capital’ it gave Chelsea the facts, figures and realities to motivate her to hatch her social media and marketing company that specialises in helping rural based businesses get social.
It can hardly be argued that technology and innovation isn’t the way of the future and agri is no exception. After several years of working in communications in the agri sector Chelsea is well in tune with the lay of the land in the Primary sector.
It is with this experience Chelsea has come to discover there is a spectrum of capability, particularly in the agri sector when it comes to technology and innovation. In general, the spectrum has a relationship that correlates directly with age. Chelsea finds herself relating directly to an age bracket of facilitators – people who may be young professionals, or who are coming into roles of influence on farms. To keep up with the changing times and ensure progression, a welcoming approach to innovation is a must. “It’s crucial we keep progressively adopting technology and innovation in our sector. People aren’t generally too receptive to change, especially in the farming community, so labelling progressive changes with positive connotations such as the improved efficiency innovation and technology can bring to a farming business, is the first step to helping, particularly the older generation get excited and involved,” explains Chelsea.
To bring this passion and wisdom brewed in the Manawatū to the rest of the country a series of seminars named “Rural Voice” have been contrived. The 12 seminars are open to all members of rural based communities and are designed to inspire and foster the use of social media for business and personal use.
Rural Voice is the brainchild of Chelsea and Innov8 Aotearoa owner Dr Lucy Griffiths. Together the pair are a powerhouse of knowledge and experience in the field.
Both Chelsea and Lucy were speakers at the 2016 New Zealand Agri Investment Week’s ASB Perspective 2025 thought leadership forum. Chelsea spoke about disruptive technology and Lucy about New Zealand’s ethnic branding.
“The opportunity to be in the same room to discuss some major topics with top women in agri was a fantastic experience,” says Chelsea. “Being able to involve the wider public via the livestream on Stuff and Twitter hashtag was progressive and exciting. The success that came with it was amazing!”
Chelsea is currently working on growing Grass Roots Media NZ. Aiming to walk the talk by staying on top of the latest social media trends through her ‘Ag Chatter’ blog on the Grass Roots Media NZ website and on the business Facebook page.