Growing up on Christmas Island, co-founder Mark Bennett was hungry for fresh food from an early age. Mark’s interest in food security and passion for sustainable farming practices was inspired by his first- hand experience of living in an isolated community where you could wait months for fresh produce and delivery was dependent on the swell which often prevented container ships docking. Once unloaded there was still no guarantee of freshness, with food often spoiling on the voyage. Paying an exorbitant price for low quality fruit and vegetables was and still is the reality facing Christmas Islanders. It is not uncommon for a normal bag of groceries to cost over 250% more than the price of mainland staples, and individual items such as iceberg lettuce and cauliflower can easily fetch $12 and $15 respectively.
Our motivation (understanding the need)
Will food become the final frontier? It is estimated the world’s food production will need to double by 2050, a fact we see as both a threat & an opportunity.
A hungrier world with less land to farm…
By 2050 the footprint of the world’s cities will be the size of China and some of the world’s best farmland will be forever lost. This puts vital soil at risk. Already we have seen too much top soil and 70 % of its carbon lost from Australian farms and other nations are in a far worse state. If we continue at this rate most of the world’s top soil could be gone within two generations. Our methods of farming need to change if we are to feed ourselves into the future.
We believe people should have the opportunity to put fresh food on their plates no matter where they live. It shouldn’t have to travel far, and it should be affordable. We don’t believe in waste, but we do believe in its potential to become a truly valuable resource.
Mark Bennett – Co-founder & director – guru environmental management
Mark Bennett has over 12 years’ experience in environmental management with an emphasis on rehabilitating degraded landscapes into productive systems. Having worked across Australia and Micronesia, he is regularly drawn back to Christmas Island where he has strong ties and a long affiliation. On the Island Mark established an enviable track record of successful rehabilitation projects through his consultancy CChange Sustainable Solutions and was previously the Environmental Manager for Christmas Island Phosphates for many years. CIP won a finals berth in the prestigious Banksia Environmental Awards of 2004 following implementation of Mark’s strategies.
Christine Campbell – Chairwoman
Christine has over 40 years’ experience in both financial and corporate management in the agricultural, natural resources, manufacturing, investment and property development industries. In 1977 she joined John Kahlbetzer, founder of the Twynam Agricultural Group, which by 1979 expanded its activities acquiring most of the British Tobacco-Amatil Australian agricultural portfolio. Becoming Executive Director of the Family’s Australian businesses interests in 1986 she expanded its agricultural portfolio with the acquisition of substantial irrigation and cropping farms and downstream logistics investment in processing. During her career Christine represented the Group’s interests in management and board roles which included off-shore ventures, acquisitions and international commodity trading. Christine’s experience includes trading in the Asian markets as well as a sound knowledge of the financial markets supporting international trade.