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Cross Pollinate 2024 HOBART Speakers


Felice Jacka

Felice Jacka OAM is Alfred Deakin Professor of Nutritional Psychiatry and Director of the Food & Mood Centre at Deakin University, and founder of the International Society for Nutritional Psychiatry Research. She has written two books for commercial publication, works with international organisations such as the World Economic Forum, and has had a significant impact on policy globally, as well as clinical practice in psychiatry. Her research has been regularly featured on multiple major media platforms, including TIME Magazine, the OPRAH Magazine, New York Times, and many others, as well as international documentaries and Australian television series.

Felice leads a team of 50 researchers and staff at the Food & Mood Centre, with multiple studies of various aspects of diet – fermented foods, different dietary strategies, pre and probiotic formulations, polyphenols – and their impact on mental and brain health. She leads studies focused on the prevention of mental disorders in children, real world trials of diet and exercise support for serious mental disorders, and FMT (poo transplants) for major depressive disorder. She has a particular interest in the human microbiome (gut, oral, skin) and how it contributes to mental health. More recently her focus has included food systems, regenerative farming, soil microbiology, and the relevance of all of these to mental and brain health.

Felice spoke to Ollie in a pre-recorded interview, to discuss the opportunities for farmers that will lead from the data she is collecting linking food grown from regenerative systems to the benefits this has for human health.

THE NEED FOR DATA – proving the claims of farmers

Mitch Thiessen

Mitch is the head gardener at The Agrarian Kitchen. After training as a chef and doing stints cooking in NSW and in Japan, Mitch had an epiphany: he could take care of his ethical concerns around food consumption, around environment and around community not by cooking, but by growing.

After working with Tony Scherer at Rocky Top Farm it led Mitch to becoming head gardener for the Agrarian Kitchen restaurant in New Norfolk. When owners Rodney Dunn and Séverine Demanet decided to consolidate their operation and create a whole new 1-acre walled market garden on the Willow Court site in New Norfolk, they hired Mitch to do it.

Mitch will be discussing how the lack of research into regenerative farming and practises related to it is a hamstring to the growth of the space, how data is required to prove the claims of farmers, and how this actually presents real opportunities for producers.

working directly with farmers

Peter Gilmore

Peter Gilmore is the Executive Chef at two of Australia’s most dynamic restaurants; Bennelong at the Sydney Opera House and Quay restaurant across the harbour in The Rocks. Peter was born and bred in Sydney. He was inspired to cook at a young age and started his apprenticeship at 16, then spent his twenties working in kitchens overseas and in country New South Wales, developing his own style.

Across both restaurants, Peter describes his cuisine as food inspired by nature and as a passionate gardener himself, he was one of the first chefs in Australia to embrace heirloom varieties of vegetables and continues to work in partnership with small producers who cultivate produce exclusively for both Quay and Bennelong. Peter collaborates with a range of producers across Australia and his appreciation of nature’s diversity and his endless experimentation in the kitchen and garden are the driving forces in his cooking.

Peter will be having a live discussion on stage with Sprout CEO Jen Robinson, about what he sees drivers are for chefs to become interested in sourcing local, seasonal produce.

big picture trends and tech that supports regeneration

Sam Bartels

Sam Bartels is an agribusiness strategist who seeks to elevate, amplify and connect the people, businesses and ideas either side of the factory/farm gate that are actively improving the food system.

She has areas of expertise in development and strategy and stakeholder engagement, has developed and launched products and built investment materials and relationship, and is actively engaged in the ag community in order to foster the required connection to the land and trust of the communities who steward it.

Sam will be taking a broad look into big picture trends and tech that support regeneration, including hyperspectral imaging, virtual fencing and remote land health verification.


Keeley Bytheway & David Simmons

“Groups of people working together collaboratively with a common purpose can pool ideas, build wise strategies, support each other and have some fun along the way. Well-functioning collaborative groups hold transformative potential far greater than the ‘sum total of the parts’. There is something quite amazing about all that synthesised energy – all of us are smarter than any of us.” Getting our Act Together, Glen Ochre

Keeley and Dave are two thirds of the Sparrow Foot Collective. Bringing together Keeley’s business, Fat Pig Produce, with Sparrow Foot Farm, run by Dave and his partner Ines, they have formed a collaboration that aims to bolster each farm, share workloads, create a diversity of ideas, produce more food, and increase productivity.

In their presentation they will discuss the benefits of the partnership, how their collaboration offers both their businesses hope, and how you have negotiated any potential conflict resolution.

Sowing the seeds of stability – a case for basic income for farmers

Jo Poulton

Jo Poulton is a UK based farmer and campaign co-ordinator for Basic Income 4 Farmers.

The campaign was created last year by a working group of farmers, growers, academics and union co-ordinators with personal and professional experience of the issues explored. The aim of the campaign is to encourage farmers, farmworkers and food producers to discuss possible solutions to the financial barriers they face.

Jo and the team working on the campaign have called for a Basic Income that would provide unconditional cash payments to farmers, farmworkers and food producers to provide them with essential financial stability, and have recently published a report outlining the case.

In a recorded interview with Ollie, Jo spent some time explaining the idea, how it offers hope to farmers, what the outcomes would be, and what the future of the campaign looks like.

Institutional Procurement and the Opportunities for Farmers

Leah Galvin

Leah Galvin is a qualified project consultant and Churchill Fellow, brining over 30 years experience of project and program management in all areas of regional development and community health and wellbeing.

Each year, 9 million government-funded meals are served in Tasmanian public institutions, providing huge opportunities to source and serve a lot of healthy Tasmanian food in our institutions. Leah’s project, Sustainable Institutional Food Procurement Tasmania (SIFPT), calls for investment in a new Tasmanian Farm to Institution Program that would provide benefits for the economy by creating new local markets and more jobs in our regions on farms, with processors and wholesalers.

In her presentation, Leah will discuss the opportunities for farmers that this program would bring, and what it will take to get the program off the ground.

Calls to Action & Community Engagement

James McLennan & Ben Shaw

James and Ben are co-founders of Farm My School, a ground breaking model of food education that transforms unused land within schools into regenerative market gardens that feed, educate and connect communities.

In October 2022, 600 community volunteers travelled from across Victoria to work with students from the Bellarine Secondary College and FMS founders to lay the groundwork for the first pilot farm in a unique 24 hour ‘Build a Farm in a Day’ event. Together they transformed a disused soccer pitch into a one and a half acre market garden with over 2km of no-dig garden beds.

In their presentation, James and Ben will explain how the call to action resulted in an incredible 24 hours, and how potential engagement with a diverse range of partners within the local community, including collaborators from the education, health and water sectors, can provide hope for farmers.

Translating Climate Science into Decision Relevant Tools for Farmers

Tom Remenyi

Tom has over 10 years of research focusing on translating global climate science into decision-relevant tools for operational and strategic decision makers in industry and government.

He has experience working with industries such as utilities (Hydro Tasmania, TasNetworks), emergency services (Tasmania Fire Service, Tasmania State Emergency Service), agriculture (Wine Australia, FRDC, State Gov), and tourism (the Victorian Alpine Resorts Coordinating Council), helping to transform the broad-scale global climate model outputs into fine-scale regional climate projections to produce outputs of direct relevance.

Tom will be discussing how climate change is influencing operational, tactical and strategic decisions within agriculture, and the opportunities it may present for farmers.

The future of food

Dr Alana Mann, Matthew Evans & Sam Perkins – facilitated by Felicity Richards

The Future of Food is a panel discussion that will be facilitated by Felicity Richards. Felicity is a farmer and currently chairs the Tasmanian Livestock Processing Taskforce.

The discussion will involve three individuals who are deeply entrenched in understanding the future of our food. Matthew Evans (farmer, chef and food writer), Dr Alana Mann (communications scholar, author, and food politician), and Sam Perkins (CEO of Cellular Agriculture Australia) will be on stage to discuss and debate how our future food will be grown, raised and produced, the potential knock of effects to human and planetary health, and also the opportunities they see for farmers.