The Dirt in Summer 2020

The beginning of Summer brings the buzz of the festive season and the longing for our beautiful Tasmanian summer to begin! This year especially we feel the positive shift towards the end of a challenging year and the hope of a safe and positive 2021. 

Message from the General Manager

When we began the year of 2020, I had a feeling that it was going to be a year of achievements, a year of great outcomes and a year of getting back to what was important to me.  In my personal life, I was looking forward to enjoying being in my new house, which had been an 18 month long massive effort being an owner builder.  Then, the unexpected occurred, and a pandemic seriously rocked our 'way' of being, across the world, and I thought to myself, "how did I think that this year was going to be amazing!?". Then, slowly but surely, throughout all the hardships, there have been silver linings appearing everywhere. I don't mean to diminish the struggles and challenges of many, as I have seen close friends go through some really, really tough times. But, I have been witness also to the amazing community spirit, that seems to show itself during times of hardship and adversity.

The amazing achievements have been producers managing to pivot their businesses in very short periods of time, to enable them to stay afloat, it has been support programs being able to continue but in an online format. The outcomes have been all of us in the extended food sector, connecting with a real energy to work together to take the steps we need to build our robust locally focused food system.  It has been customers realising that farmers jobs are really important, and absolutely integral to their survival really, and even reaching out to learn more about those farmers near them. It has been the permission we were given to stop; stop filling our lives with too many activities, to turn inwards and focus on ourselves and our families, and to think about what really matters.

It has been the reviews undertaken by advisory councils and research undertaken by many, to understand the impacts of this pandemic, to plan for how we can not only recover from it, but grow stronger from it and foster a way of working together that is BETTER than we were doing it before. Let's be honest, there was a lot of room for improvement! If I think about what I 'thought' 2020 was going to be, and how it actually unfolded, I think that in a strange way we have managed to achieve all those great outcomes, but just in a completely different way than how we were expecting. 

I really feel that we as a community are moving together in the right direction, with all the right people working collaboratively.  I am excited for what lies ahead, and I know we are #bettertogether. 

I wish everyone a restful holiday period, time with family and friends in the sunshine, enjoying what our amazing state has to offer.  I might see you on the beach at Binalong Bay where we will be camping! #bestplaceintheworld 

Happy Holidays!

Warmest wishes, 


Latest News

  • Sprout Small Producer of the Year - The Winner
  • A wrap up of Cross Pollinate 2020

Sprout Producer News

  • New cohort for SPP 2021 announced


  • Spirit of Sprout Christmas Auction
  • Sprout Annual General Meeting

Our Community

  • Free Farm Biosecurity signs available 

Latest News

Sprout Small Producer of the Year - The Winner

Two vibrant young chefs turned farmers were announced as the winners of our Sprout Small Producer of the Year!

Meet Lauren Byrne & Michael Layfield of Felds Farm our Sprout Producer of the Year for 2020.

This community nominated award showed just how much passion and commitment these two have behind their venture. Becoming primary producers of vegetables, fruit, eggs and bread was a natural progression for them to continue their food passions and to offer delicious, local food to the community. 

Supplying neighbours, local farmers markets and restaurants with a diverse range of healthy and sustainably grown produce, Felds Farm support sustainable growth for their local community.

Moving to Tasmania and seeing the local food industry and meeting the equally passionate people involved in it has inspired them to fulfill their own goals of producing good quality, local food on a small scale farm.

In 2020 they have adapted to the challenges produced by COVID19 and produced their own online marketplace for their Vegetable Boxes to be delivered to the customer direct. Stepping outside of their comfort zones and developing a service that meets both the needs of their business and their loyal customer base. Check out their new site and see what they have on offer. 

We look forward to visiting Lauren and Michael on their farm in 2021, to sit down for a chat about their farming life and their desire to grow local and support local. We will share their full story and farm visit with you in our upcoming newsletters. 


A wrap up of Cross Pollinate 2020

Cross Pollinate 2020 - we did it! For much of 2020 we were uncertain if the we could host our annual conference, with so many restrictions in place throughout the year, we monitored, shifted dates and eventually were able to confirm it was a go! 

With our theme set as Growing Stronger, we were excited to bring together our Sprout Family and supporters to reflect and celebrate on one of the strangest, most challenging years we have all faced. Set at the inspiring Spring Bay Mill site with over 60 producers, foodies, industry reps, chefs and more, we feel this was one of the most rewarding experiences we have had during our Cross Pollinate conferences.

It was an incredible event with great outcomes of openness, problem solving and knowledge sharing in a safe space. It could only turn out this way, because those that attended the conference were honest, collaborative and vulnerable and they were all there to get the most out of the day, by putting in 100%.

CP2020Thank you. For being a part of the day, the discussion and ultimately a part of the ongoing action that will be required to Grow Stronger together into the future.

We will definitely be continuing the conversations, ideas and action that is required in supporting our Tassie food system to be sustainable, robust and locally focused.

Sprout Producer News

New cohort of Producers for the Sprout Producer Program in 2021

We are excited to announce the new producers who will join us for the 2021 Sprout Producer Program:

The cohort will begin with an Induction Day in early 2021 where they will meet our graduates of 2020, we we will sit down over lunch and share our thoughts and experiences of farm life, and the skills and mentoring that each participant hopes to benefit from during the 2021 program. 

We look forward to sharing with you their full stories, and their progress throughout the year. 

Lavender Farm Tasmania

Photo Credit: Tourism Tasmania & Dan Fellow


Spirit of Sprout Christmas Auction

This year we are hosting an online Spirit of Sprout Christmas Auction, showcasing local products and experiences, generously donated by supporters of Sprout. You can jump online now until 12 noon on Monday 14 December 2020, to place your bids and secure some amazing prizes. Money raised will continue to help Sprout support our small producers in 2021.

Mitch McPherson | SPEAK UP! Stay ChatTY Suicide PreventionWe have also chosen to donate 20% of the money raised to Speak Up! Stay ChatTY - in the spirit of our beliefs to support our community and feel that this is the perfect choice for 2020. 

We can't wait to see you get involved!

All prizes can be collected at our Annual General Meeting on Monday 14 December 2020 at Hamlet Cafe in Hobart, or from the Sprout Office on Wednesday 16 December 2020. Those prizes suitable for postage can be delivered to the winners at the winners cost.

Check out the selection of goods you can bid on thanks to some of our amazing supporters:

Seasonal Bouquet of Flowers from Nelipot Giftware & Flowers

Twin White Wine Pack from Nocton Vineyard

Gourmet Mustard & Sauces Hamper from Lean-To Kitchen

Scrumptious Lavender Gift Hamper from Tasmanian Lavender

Tasmania Platter Board from Turner & Co Design

Tassie Pinot Twin Wine Pack from Cospack 

Bellebonne Bis Non-vintage Rosé

Zanzo Portrait Experience Gift Pack from Zanzo Portraits

3 x $20 Burger Vouchers from Billy's Burgers & Bar

Start Bidding Now!


Sprout Annual General Meeting

Our Annual General Meeting is on Monday 14th Dec! Come along.

Come along and hear us share our achievements and ideas that have come out of 2020. Meet our Board, hear stories about our producers - past and present, and mingle with like minded people!

All Sprout Members are welcome to attend. Due to COVID restrictions, if you are interested in attending you will need to book your place. Tickets are free, but numbers are capped at 20 so book your ticket now.

Monday 14th December @hamlet_hobart, 5.30pm to 7pm.

Register now to secure your spot. 

Catering will be provided and drinks can be purchased on the night. See you there!

Our Community

Farm Biosecurity Signage now available to all producers for FREE

Tasmanian Farmers and Graziers Association have large corflute biosecurity signs available (as pictured) to producers at no cost. The signs can be collected from the Launceston Office (56a Charles Street, Launceston), or they can be delivery statewide for $15. If you are interested in getting sign for your farm, contact Mandy Bowling via email or phone on 6332 1800. Or you can jump onto their website and place an order.