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11 Everyday Women changing the business of food

11 Everyday Women changing the business of food

Women's work. Food sustains us, but what is on a plate is only part of the story. How it's grown & distributed before it's plated & eaten, then rescued or recycled is the whole-food story

Food, and plenty of it, is the ultimate display of abundance. Like the perfect Insta shot, the truth of course is that carefully manufactured display of abundance is just a display. Food is increasingly not abundant and respecting it's production, distribution and consumption is something we all need to understand.

There are many many people working in managing the food chain better and we chose these 11 women, as much because of who they are as because they represent parts of the sustainable food supply chain - working to putting better food onto everyone's plates or back into soil every day. 

Hayley Blieden, The Australian Superfood Co.

Hayley Blieden is in Indigenous Superfoods. She is an accredited Dietitian / Nutritionist and founded The Australian Superfood Co, because she didn’t want to follow the traditional dietitian’s path, choosing instead to focus on designing foods to enhance the way people feel and perform.

From her time in the Northern Territory, Hayley had explored the nutritional content and current farming practices of Australian bush tucker and she knew Australian bush tucker had superfood nutritional status. She also believed that indigenous communities could benefit from collecting and cultivating bush tucker.

The Australian Superfood Co aims to enhance respect of the traditional practices and culture of Indigenous people and to promote their communities through the growing awareness of Australian Superfoods.

Kylie Pheils, Mama P

Kylie Pheils founded a business to heal her son and is typical of many mothers in the sustainable food industry, as founded Mama P business 5 years ago when she needed easy and accessible healthy nourishing food after her youngest son suffered many allergies including eczema, asthma and behavioural issues.

She removed all processed food and artificial additives from his diet, along with common allergens (gluten, soy, dairy) and allowed his gut to heal. Fast forward 5 years, he is a different boy and almost has no symptoms whatsoever and Mama P is the outcome. 

"WE ARE ALL ABOUT REDEFINING WHOLEFOODS THOUGH, WITH HEALTHY, TOXIN FREE LIVING OUR DRIVING FORCE AND OUR CAFE REFLECTS THAT!  WE SCRUTINISE EVERY INGREDIENT ON OUR MENU AND MAKE (95%) OF IT FROM SCRATCH. WHAT’S NOT MADE BY HAND IS CAREFULLY SOURCED ORGANIC AND ADDITIVE FREE."

Ninna Larsen & Kaitlin Reid, Reground

Ninna Larsen & Kaitlin Reid collect coffee waste and rehome it. Ninna founded Reground via a crowd fund campaign in 2014 after experiencing the unnecessary coffee waste while working in the industry. A minimalist and sustainability fan, Ninna is an active follower of the ‘less is more’ lifestyle. Kaitlin joined her in 2016 and the rest is history.

Together, they help businesses help the environment by not letting their coffee, chaff or soft plastic waste end in landfill.

Sas Jacobs, Swan Valley Gourmet

Sas Jacobs is the founder of one of the few gourmet cafes in Australia with a Coeliac Australia certification - Swan Valley Gourmet Cafe. Sas grew up in a coeliac household so understands proper food management from personal experience. The cafe is set in a completely recycled building on her farm in Swan Valley. As well as running the cafe and the farm, but she is ekko.world's Chief Engineer. 

The cafe offers a range of rustic, paddock-to-plate gluten free, dairy free, vegetarian and vegan dishes with a gourmet twist and her engineering skills offers you this website, which you can't eat of course! But there is a lot of yummy food here, made by incredible people.

Kayla Mossuto, Crema Joe

Kayla Mossuto started Crema Joe as an online social start-up selling eco-friendly coffee pods and other sustainable coffee machine accessories with the idea that she could attach a Recycling Program, and work with other local businesses and individuals to collect and reuse used packaging materials for shipping products to customers. 

As a mother, Kayla also wanted to support mothers as she understood the challenges women face when juggling work and family life so she built a business that is focused on doing social good, giving back and supporting community.,

I BELIEVE THAT MANY BUSINESSES WOULD BENEFIT BY FOSTERING A BETTER BALANCE BETWEEN WORK AND FAMILY. AS SMALL BUSINESS OWNERS, WE HAVE THE CHANCE TO MAKE A BIG IMPACT.

MUMS ARE THE ULTIMATE JUGGLERS AND SHOW REAL COMMITMENT TO THEIR JOBS, AND THIS IS CERTAINLY THE CASE FOR OUR TEAM OF WORKING MUMS HERE AT CREMA JOE!  WE WORK HARD AND LOVE WHAT WE DO, BUT WE ARE ALSO ABLE TO BE THERE FOR OUR KIDS AND THAT’S WHAT MATTERS MOST. THAT’S WHAT LIFE IS REALLY ABOUT.”

Stephanie Alexander, The Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden Foundation

Stephanie Alexander is food establishment in Australia. As one of the original 'master chefs' of Melbourne, she started her foundation as a means to convince policy makers that learning about food, how it grows, and the pleasure it can bring are vital to a healthy, happy society. And she did. So much so that today, there are many people and organisations who have followed in her footsteps.

Stephanie Alexander is the author of fourteen books, including the Australian kitchen bible The Cook's Companion, and is a renowned chef and restaurateur. In 2009 she published the Kitchen Garden Companion, an inspirational family guide to growing and using edible crops. 

In 2014, Stephanie was named an Officer in the General Division of the Order of Australia (AO) for distinguished service to education through the design and establishment of schools-based learning programs promoting improved food and eating choices for children, and as an author.​​

Debbie Parsons, Magic Meadow Produce

Debbie Parsons is a true farmer's friend, rescuing otherwise wasted produce. Her business, Magic Meadow Produce sells their own produce as well as rescued and direct produce from other farms in the area. Debbie started her chemical free farm for self sustainability, but ended up opening it to the public for tours and running workshops on basic cheese making and traditional sourdough bread that can be reproduced easily from your own home.

The product rescue project started when she discovered how many farmers had their produce rejected by supermarkets for size or simply being late to the delivery dock. What started as an occasional rescue has become a viable alternative outlet for local farmers. Produce is sold at her farm gate every Friday night or delivered in weekly boxes to customers.

Emma Rose, Food Connect Shed

Emma Rose made a great fresh produce business even better. She is the co-founder of the new Food Connect Shed venture and the brains behind turning the Food Connect business into a community bricks and mortar shed. With the help of an organic social campaign and the fabulous Costa Georgiadis, Food Connect Shed have raised $2 million in equity crowd funding through Pledge Me.

The Food Connect team raised the funds through the immediate and broader community to set up a sustainable food hub - to house business like the established Food Connect, and new tenants like OzHarvest and many more new smaller businesses.  

Ronni Kahn, OzHarvest 

Ronni Kahn is one of the original voices for food rescue. CEO & Founder of OzHarvest Ronni Kahn founded OzHarvest in 2004, driven by a passion to make a difference and stop good food going to waste. 

Ronni started with one van in Sydney and was responsible for changing the law so companies could safely donate surplus food. From there, she has grown OzHarvest into a national food rescue organisation and opened the first rescued food supermarket. Her work has spawned many other food rescue operations and really changed the way we view food.

Vanessa Kwiatkowski co-Founder of Melbourne City Rooftop Honey

Vanessa Kwiatkowski, with partner Mat Lumalasi, are the original roof top bee hive beekeepers in Australia. On a mission of bringing bees back to the city and the suburbs of Melbourne, their hives are placed on unused roofs, balconies & gardens. In may places in Melbourne, you can literally buy the honey from shops on the street, like Pope Joan, made on the rooftops above. 

Other cities in Australia have since now joined Melbourne and others around the world with hives and gardens on rooftops - Paris, London, Toronto, San Francisco, New York, Hong Kong and many others where urban beekeeping is thriving. 

Lynn Jahnke, Charley’s Chocolate

Lynn Jahnke, with partner Chris own Australia's only bean to bar chocolate company. The pair founded Australian Chocolate and Charley’s Chocolate Factory in Mission Beach, Far North Queensland Australia in 2012.

Growers of cocoa and manufacturers of their own chocolate from scratch, 5 years later, they were recognised as a world class chocolate maker and judged to be one of the 18 finest cocoa producers is the world.

Lynn and her partner moved to Mission Beach from Melbourne to escape Melbourne’s cold. A segment on ABC Landline talked about growing cocoa in Australia’s Tropics and incredibly, with no knowledge of growing cocoa and even less about chocolate making they decided to go into the chocolate business, planting their first beans in 2012.

The first cocoa pods were harvested less than two years from seed in August 2014 and these made just 50 chocolate bars under the Charley’s Chocolate Factory brand.

"OUR CHOCOLATE IS A WORK OF LOVE, ALL 70% COCOA AND METICULOUSLY MADE FROM EITHER THE DRIED COCOA BEAN TO CHOCOLATE BAR OR FROM THE COCOA TREE TO THE CHOCOLATE BAR. WE ARE CONFIDENT THAT IT WILL BE SOME OF THE FINEST CHOCOLATE THAT YOU’LL EVER TASTE."

Images: Main image of Ninna Larsen & Kaitlin Reid, Reground - Veneziano Coffee Roasters / Ninna Larsen & Kaitlin Reid by Tegan Sullivan for Dumbo Feather / 
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