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Cross Pollinate 2024 LAUNCESTON Speakers


JM Fortier

Jean-Martin Fortier, or JM, needs very little introduction. Born and raised in Quebec, Canada, he started his farming journey in his early twenties and for over 20 years, he has developed and tested a biointensive growing method on his microfarm, Les Jardins de la Grelinette, that increases the soil’s biology and works with nature to achieve maximum yields on small surfaces.

He is now dedicated to sharing the results of this research, testing and development with others to support the multiplication of regenerative microfarms and thus promote a global transition towards food systems based in nature and community.

JM spoke to Ollie in a pre-recorded interview, sharing the reasons he stays hopeful and how he intends to keep the hope alive. This interview will be shown at the Launceston event as a 15 minute edited video.


Bec Rumble

Bec Rumble is one half of Lone Goose Farm, and farms pasture raised Muscovy ducks.

For years Bec and partner Paul dreamed of leaving corporate life in Melbourne to move to their own patch of land where they could grow our own food, have lots of animals, and have a greater sense of community. After searching in NSW, Victoria, and Tasmania they finally found the perfect spot – 50 acres of pasture and a 120 year old weatherboard farmhouse, needing a little love, in Birralee, Tasmania.

Neither Bec or Paul had prior farming experience, however they did bring with them a lot of skills developed in their previous corporate lives, and Bec’s experience teaching people how to run their businesses in a more agile and human focussed way, is something that’s completely relevant in a modern farming environment. In her presentation, she will unpack what this means and how her skills have translated to running a successful farming business.

Joel Salatin once published a book called You Can Farm. Maybe, with Bec’s approach, you can.


Elliott Gee

Elliott is the co-founder of Golden Brown Tasmania, a community circular waste initiative, collecting coffee grounds and food waste from businesses around Launceston and diverting them from landfill, then turning them into compost for backyard growers and their own farming business.

Elliott’s talk will centre the story of Golden Brown, how he’s turning waste into life and the impact they are having, the power of community in a town like Launceston and how his work provides him with hope.

We will also hear how this can be replicated by other small-scale farms, how much time is spent on the business and whether it is possible for small vegetable growing farms to be closed loop.

Opportunities for Waste – Large Scale Circular Economies

David Holman

Dave Holman is a waste and materials management specialist, working in the fields of strategy, project management, and customer and stakeholder engagement. He has held roles at TasWater and City of Hobart and is currently Senior Environmental Consultant at MRA Consulting Group.

Dave will be discussing large scale circular economies, and the opportunities he sees for utilising solid and liquid waste materials on farm.


Christina Giudici

Christina is an agricultural scientist with a long standing interest in Regenerative Agriculture. She heard about biochar many years ago, and became interested in its potential benefits in home gardening with her FIMBY gardening customers. The opportunity to sequester carbon from waste streams, while providing soil and plant (and human) health benefits led her to making biochar in pit kilns for use in her own garden and with customers.

The New Black Biochar project emerged from conversations between Christina and friend Bodie, who runs a timber business, and was kick started by a crowd funding campaign in 2017 which raised funds for the purchase of some of the equipment needed to bring their vision to life.

Christina will be presenting on the opportunities biochar presents for farmers, the various applications, and it’s role in a changing climate.


Lydia Hana

Lydia Hana is a PhD Candidate in the Management Discipline in the College of Business and Economics at UTAS. She holds a Master of Business Administration from the University of Tasmania, researching the impacts of start-up accelerator programs.

In 2022, Lydia was awarded fully funded PhD program with The University of Tasmania. Her research focus shifted towards the regional innovation landscape, aiming to understand the factors influencing the adoption of novel food processing technologies in regional areas. Her research aims to contribute to policy guidelines that will facilitate the seamless integration and uptake of cutting-edge technologies in the Tasmanian food processing industry.

Lydia will be discussing the drivers and barriers for farmers adopting value adding technology.


Robyn Hewson

Robyn is a keen proponent of food sovereignty and sustainable agriculture.

Robyn has trained in Dr Elaine Ingham’s Soil Food Web method, and is training to become a Soil Food Web consultant. In 2020 she stayed at Navdanya, an Indian-based non-governmental organisation which promotes biodiversity conservation, biodiversity, organic farming, the rights of farmers, and the process of seed saving. 

Robyn will be discussing broader ideas for seeding hope.


Speakers to be announced

Beyond Business: The Beauty of Persistence 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 explore ways farmers find joy in farming, outside of the business, examine instances where farmers persisted through tough times when they could easily have walked away, and hear stories from those that have had an awakening, a crisis, or a particular event in their lives that has led them to look for the joy in what they do.