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Growing Leaders project encourages consumers to Get Vegged


By Rachel Archbald, Senior Trials Officer – Seeds @Rachel_Archbald

It’s generally known in the vegetable industry that there is a growing disconnect between the desire of consumers for ‘perfect-looking produce’ and the ability of the value chain to meet these expectations. 

Along with a number of other up-and-coming industry professionals, I am involved in a Growing Leaders project which aims to bridge the gap between consumers and value chain members.

Growing Leaders is a leadership platform facilitated by Rural Training Initiatives and delivered through funding from Horticulture Innovation Australia.  It is the only national industry specific leadership program for the vegetable industry and develops the skills of participants across a range of disciplines, including handling conflict, effective communication, efficient meetings, high performance team building, managing change and media. 

As part of the program, the Growing Leaders participants are tasked with developing a nationally strategic project which will help secure the long term sustainability of the Australian Vegetables Industry through collaboration and education of all stakeholders. 

The “Get Vegged” project, in which I am involved together with Lachie Schreurs (Schreurs & Sons), Kaushik Mulukutla (Fresh Select), Tayla Field (One Harvest) and Alexandra Keith (Bulmer Farms), is one of the projects being undertaken by the 2017 Growing Leaders.  Our team members were drawn together by our common passion to address the disconnect between rural producers and urban consumers.    

The purpose of Get Vegged is to create a series of pilot videos showcasing the different links in the supply chain and highlighting the real and raw stories of vegetables to challenge the gloss and expectation of consumers for perfect produce. 

As a group, we are each contributing a video highlighting the importance of continuing to share the journey of vegetables – be it traumatic or triumphant – through the value chain.  These videos will form part of our Get Vegged package which we will pitch to key stakeholders in Canberra in September.  Our package will also include brief guidelines on what the video participants could discuss, how to film/photograph the participants, the simplest way to edit the videos and how to roll out the content.  This is to ensure that the Get Vegged concept can be used and rolled out by any organisation. 

Our ultimate goal is to run a minimum one month campaign across the vegetable industry through an industry body, such as AUSVEG.  This will result in a series of videos from growers, agronomists, researchers, market agents and quality assurance, providing a snapshot of their typical day and the challenges they encounter.  These videos would then be distributed on social media, as it is the platform of choice with our target audience, the millennials. 

The team continues to work on their pitch and Rachel promises to update Vegetable News subscribers on the outcome of their Get Vegged project later in the year.