‘George the Farmer’ founder Simone Kain talks Bluey, staying motivated and what she’s doing now


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“Just go for it. It’s an enormous opportunity to help you get on your way quicker.”

Seven years ago, Simone Kain won the AgriFutures Rural Women’s Award in South Australia and the National Runner-up title later that year.

Since then, her work with George the Farmer has made significant strides in promoting agricultural education for young children both nationally and internationally.

In 2017, George the Farmer had already garnered a strong following on social media and become a star in various mediums including apps, picture storybooks, songs, and live performances. Simone’s character became a household name, with the free curriculum-aligned teacher resources downloaded thousands of times in six months after their release, educating around 40,000 children.

Simone estimates that number has quadrupled since, but the numbers are only part of the story.

One thing that hasn’t changed is Simone’s determination to bring George and his agronomist partner Ruby to television screens, to reconnect children and families with the source of their food and fibre.

Simone worked with the South Australian Film Corporation to flesh out a pitch and write a pilot episode script, with a sizzle reel animated by an international company who undertake animation work for Disney.

“The whole process was really interesting, and I learnt a lot, even though it didn’t get off the ground. At the time I was told ‘You will never be able to have an Australian voice or make it feel too Australian, because Australia is too foreign for international audiences.”

Although initial attempts with her animated TV series didn’t succeed, since 2017, international attitudes have changed.

Around the time that Simone won the runner up title for the AgriFutures Rural Women’s Award, pre-production had started on a co-commissioned ABC and BBC Studios children’s show – Bluey.

The stratospheric success that Bluey found overseas started millions of conversations about Australia, our values, interests, culture (and even our accents!) with parents and children in more than 60 countries.

For Simone, the knowledge that exporting an honest version of Australia and still being hugely successful is possible, was a game changer.

“I’ve watched the enormous popularity of Bluey unfold over the last couple of years, which has opened up so many opportunities for Australian creatives. Over the last few months, I have been reaching out to different TV production houses to gauge interest.”

Simone remains determined and has continued to release new products while exploring new opportunities and partnerships domestically.

“We’ve produced more curriculum-aligned resources which are free for teachers to download, we’re still producing ‘Paddock to Plate’ videos which have been acquired by the ABC, and we now have 18 children’s books in our catalogue.”

Simone has cultivated successful partnerships with Australian organisations and brands like Iris and Wool, National Farmers Federation, Farmsafe, National Book Week, Westpac and Rabobank, and is now looking further afield.

“I’ve picked up a few suppliers for the books in the last six months in the US and Canada, the teacher resources have just been converted into the New Zealand curriculum and I’ve also had interest out of China, the US and Scotland.”

Recently, she opened a concept store in Penola, South Australia, which stocks the entire George the Farmer range, along with other food, fibre, farm and educational products.

“We had over 1500 people travel from across South Australia, Victoria, and even Perth to attend the grand opening.”

Winning the AgriFutures Rural Women’s Award provided Simone with another platform in addition to the one she had already built, expanding her reach and taking her one step closer to achieving her goals.

“The first time I applied was in 2001, the next time was 2015 and then 2017 when I was National Runner-Up. The Award propelled my message on a broader scale. The credibility of the endorsement from AgriFutures really helped what I was trying to achieve with George the Farmer.”

“It has been great to see the Rural Women’s Award program evolve since then in such a positive way – especially with the addition of media training and the wellbeing program for the National Finalists.”

She emphasises the importance of staying connected and showcasing your presence in the industry.

“It’s always good to touch base at events like the State Announcements and reconnect with the alumni and industry.”

Simone encourages aspiring entrepreneurs to “just go for it” and pursue their passions without (or despite) fear of failure. She stresses the importance of fine-tuning one’s project and embracing continuous evolution based on feedback.

“I applied three times. Those with any sort of startup or self-made project know that you’re in it for the long haul, it’s a continual hustle. Don’t be discouraged if you’re not successful on your first try.”

“And if and when you do win the Award, that doesn’t mean your hustle is over. It’s just the beginning!”

In addition to being the 2017 AgriFutures Rural Women’s Award National Runner-up, Simone was the 2015 NAB Women’s Agenda Regional Entrepreneur of the Year, 2015 winner of the Arts category in the Innovative Women in SA Awards, Advantage SA Regional Speaker in Schools and the South Australian Young Achiever Award (Regional Initiative). Simone lives in Penola, South Australia, with her husband Justin and three boys – George, Frank and Louis.

Find out more about the AgriFutures Rural Women’s Award here
Find out more about George the Farmer here

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