International sensation Dirtgirl sang and danced some of her favourite songs at the Clarence Valley's annual celebration of local food at the Grafton Showground 'Gate to Plate' on Sunday. Photo: Debrah Novak/The Daily Examiner
International sensation Dirtgirl sang and danced some of her favourite songs at the Clarence Valley's annual celebration of local food at the Grafton Showground 'Gate to Plate' on Sunday. Photo: Debrah Novak/The Daily Examiner Debrah Novak

Dirtgirl creator guest speaker at Grafton breakfast

WHEN speaking with Dirtgirl creator Cate McQuillen this week she was gushing about Leonardo DiCaprio. Not for the usual reasons the leading men of Hollywood get women excited, but because she was in the midst of watching the Oscars and was blown away by his speech.

"He thanked everyone really quickly and then I thought he's going to do it," an excited Cate said.

'It' was to use his position of power and fame to deliver an important message to billions of viewers across the world that "Climate change is real, it is happening right now, it is the most urgent threat facing our entire species and we need to work collectively and stop procrastinating. We need to support leaders around the world... who speak for all of humanity."

The other Cate in Leo's posse of supporters was overwhelmed. "I was in tears by the end of it. I love him even more."

Of course our own Whiporie (digital) Emmy Award-winner dirtgirl has too been chipping away with that message since she turn her first soil sod on TV back in 2009 and was very happy to see Hollywood use its clout for the greater good.

>> DIRTGIRL: Love of gardening inspires new TV show for kids

Cate has just returned from the United States herself attending the annual Kidscreen conference of which she is now a veteran.

Held in Miami (New York previous years) said it was another amazing gather of about 1700 people including all the new players like like Netflix and Amazon.

"Content is changing fast. When I started there wasn't a lot of choice but now there are many different ways to share stories with the planet."

cate mcquillen
cate mcquillen Sassy Lane Photography

Cate said it has been a rambunctious start to the year for her production company Mememe, with their first musical at the Opera House in January before heading to the US and now back home to get ready for a 10-day shooting block at their Whiporie property before Easter.

That filming will be for the webisodes the team are creating for the Compost Rocks program which will be rolled out across the state.

I don't want to be talking about what goes in yellow bin and green bin in five year's time. It should be second nature to us - like putting on undies.

Cate will be coming to Grafton next Tuesday morning, nice and early, to be guest speaker at the International Women's Day breakfast at Vines Restaurant.

"I haven't caught up with the women of Grafton for quite for a long time so I'm looking forward to having a yack with them. I'll be up early to make the 7am start."

Cate said she will be talking about a few different things including an updated history of dirtgirl and what's been happening on screen and focussing on "what we are doing off-screen" including working with the Thursday Island indigenous community project as well as the latest in planet protection action.

"We no longer have to wait for governments to set targets for us. We can start doing something now, a call to action like Paris.

"Keeping our ears and eyes closed is no longer an option. It's a really serious situation with the planet and a lot of things need a lot of our attention. Easy things we can do now but will make a big difference."

"I don't want to be talking about what goes in yellow bin and green bin in five year's time. It should be second nature to us - like putting on undies."

Despite the importance of the message Cate is spreading she said next Tuesday won't be a heavy day. "It's about celebrating women and being able to do and feel what you want to. It will be great to spend some time together and have many faces and hearts represented. We are all in this together."



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