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Cross Pollinate Speakers


Lauren Byrne

Lauren is one half of Felds Farm, a market garden that’s split across two properties – one in North Lilydale and the other in the Coal River Valley.

Lauren will look at what growth means to her and husband Michael, and how their attitudes to scaling have changed since they started farming in 2017. She’ll examine if growth is actually bad, the pros and cons of scaling up and what scaling might actually look like, and the ways they’ve changed their approaches to market gardening to become more financially viable.


Jake Wolki

Jake is an entrepreneur, businessman, and first generation regenerative farmer located in Albury, NSW. He farms cattle, sheep, pigs and chickens on 300 acres of leased land and runs his own butchery.

In a recorded Zoom session, titled ‘A Conversation With…’, Ollie sat down to ask Jake about his life before farming, how he became a farmer, why he set up a 24/7 staff-less butchery, his thoughts on capital, debt and scaling, and whether regenerative farming can be profitable.


Daniel Sih

Daniel is an award-winning author and productivity expert, with 15 years experience working in senior leadership and strategic consulting roles across Australia and the UK.

His first book, “Spacemaker” won the American Axiom Business Book Award in 2023 for Work-Life Balance / Time Prioritisation.

Daniel will be speaking on how to make space for rest and deep thought in order to help increase productivity. He will also be helping us throughout the day with short facilitated sessions.


Kate Field, Matt Tack, Coral Warren & Paul Hallier

Dare to Ask is based on the well known ABC show, You Can’t Ask That.

We take four respected small-scale Tasmanian farmers – Kate Field of Leap Farm, Matt Tack of Our Mates’ Farm, Coral Warren of Rise and Shine Farm, and Paul Hallier of Lone Goose Farm* – and dare to ask them what you’ve always wanted to know.

Unscripted and unplanned, these four brave farmers are happy to share financial information on their businesses. What could go wrong?

* originally it was Paul’s partner Bec speaking, however Bec is unable to make it so Paul is taking her place. Bec insists she hasn’t thrown him under the bus! 🙂

enoughness in farming: A Conversation With…

Mikey Densham

Mikey is a respected market gardener, podcast host and Nuffield Scholar. Having previously run Mossy Willow Farm, he and his partner now run Five Tales Farm on leased land in Victoria.

Last year, for his Nuffield Scholarship, Mikey travelled to Europe, Japan, North America and Israel investigating how the design of intensive production systems can drive increased productivity and profitability of small-scale farming operations.

In the second ‘A Conversation With…’ Ollie spoke to Mikey over Zoom and a beer to discuss his Nuffield research, the uses of technology in small-scale farming, and the concept of ‘enoughness’ in techniques to produce food.


Grace Gammage & Dylan Lehmann

Grace and Dylan run Broom & Brine, a 1/4 acre market garden in southern lutriwuta. They grow a diverse range of vegetables for their CSA with excess being sold to restaurants.

Grace and Dylan will discuss their recent efforts on process improvements that has helped them increase the number of customers they sell to.

Having started off selling to 35 CSA members they reached 50 members in January, which had begun take it’s toil physically and mentally. The solution? They increased their work to reduce the work!

They will share what this means, what it looks like, and how you can implement similar practices in your business and lives.


Chez Orchard

After leaving a corporate career in marketing to centre her work around her values, Chez dabbled in oyster mushroom, vegetable & flower farming, and revelled in the joy of being muddy most of the time.

She has worked for the Open Food Network, a global organisation working to create a food system with social and ecological health at its core; for Acres & Acres Co-op in North East Victoria; she is on the management board of Young Farmers Connect Australia, a peer-to-peer support network for new, young and aspiring farmers across Australia; and is now Producer Liaison for the Tasmanian Produce Collective.

With a passion for community development Chez will be speaking about how local food systems and infrastructure is fundamental to the success and viability of small-scale farming.

connecting THE arts with agriculture

Dr Simon Spain

Dr Simon Spain is a visual and socially engaged artist, leader of arts initiatives, fund raiser and innovator. He is co-Director of all that we are which provides residency and capacity building opportunities for artists, and a Australia Council Fellow for Arts Community and Cultural Development. On top of all that, he is also a Tate International associate, and Chair of Regional Arts Australia.

Simon will be speaking on the importance of connecting the arts with industries such as health, education and agriculture, demonstrating through his research that collaboration with artists can produce increased productivity and success within small businesses.


Briony Patterson

Briony Patterson is one half of Fat Carrot Farm, a market garden set within 3 hectares of alluvial soils in putalina/ oyster cove, (Tasmania). They sell their veggies direct-to-restaurant and via CSA shares.

Briony will be speaking about a project she has recently worked on, collaborating with other small-scale Tassie growers to help understand the best ways to price their products.


Dan Miller

Dan is founder & CEO of Steward, a US based company transforming agriculture by equipping regenerative farms with the capital they need to grow.

Steward provides access to flexible financing and expert support services for agricultural businesses looking to scale their operations, improve the health of their lands, and bolster local food systems.

In the last of the ‘A Conversation With…’ recordings, Dan spoke with Jen and Ollie about the lending platform he has created that brings together a community of values-driven individuals to participate in loans that help regenerative farms.


Ollie Benson & Jen Robinson

Sprout Tasmania’s CEO Jen Robinson will join Ollie on stage to discuss Sprout’s share farming project.

Unsurprisingly, Sprout’s 2021 survey identified that access to land and lack of capital were two of the main issues facing small-scale farmers, and a barrier especially for emerging and aspiring young farmers. With 50% of Australian farmers expected to retire within the next 10-15 years we also know that we have an ageing farming population looking for creative succession plans that keep them living on farm while also ensuring their land stays productive.

Jen and Ollie will discuss how Sprout’s project is demonstrating that share farming and tenant farming can be a solution to these problems. They will also present some of the case studies they’ve uncovered, and will speak on the intended outcomes of the project.