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We had a chat to Simon Townsend of 4 Business and Community about his involvement with Sprout and his vision for agriculture in Tasmania. 4 Business and Community are one of the six sponsors of the Sprout Producer Program in 2015. They are sponsoring Trish Macfarlane of The Fountain of Blues – a market gardener in Howell, northern Tasmania.

What do you do and what is your background?

I am a co-owner of 4 Business & Community who provide a range of small to medium business services to passionate Tasmanian business owners. I have worked in this area for 18 years either advising businesses or owning my own tourism business.

How did you first become involved with Sprout?

I did some work with Luke Burgess, formerly of Garagistes, and found out about Sprout. I then went to the 2014 Cross Pollinate conference and decided I would like to contribute to a great vision.

What is your vision for Tasmania’s agricultural future?

I think that Tasmania has a great opportunity for continuing to develop a rich and diverse agricultural sector. From small market garden producers to larger commercial productions there are endless ways that our creativity can be applied to create a range of wonderful products. As a society I would like to see a culture where we engage with our food including where it comes from, how it is treated and how it is enjoyed.

Who is your food hero: your greatest inspiration as a cook/grower?

Yotam Ottolenghi recipes are amazing, so fresh, light and flavourful. His recipes have provided my partner and I with lots of inspiration over the past years. They work particularly well with our fresh local ingredients.

What ingredient are you most excited about right now?

It may seem strange but the humble parsnip. It is great in a tagine, tasty when baked but the latest favourite is to slice very finely then coat with oil, coriander powder, chilli flakes and maple syrup and cook in the oven til brown and crispy then serve with a Tasmanian porterhouse steak.

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