About the Talk: Wide Open Agriculture is transforming the Wheatbelt through diversified, regenerative farming systems. The first diversified project is a 5000sqm retractable roof production system (RRPS) located 25km from Wagin. The first growing season demonstrated the RRPS’s capacity to produce leafy greens, herbs, cucumbers, capsicum and tomatoes with yield above industry benchmarking. Water capture and storage from roaded catchments alongside strong support from adjacent land owners has been critical for success. The crops have been sold via a vegetable box scheme available in Kojonup, Wagin, Williams, Narrogin and Katanning. Excess crops have been sold to Perth-based retailers and wholesalers. Ben will present an overview of WOA’s mission, growing system and business model during his presentation to Techspo.
About Ben: Ben Cole is the Managing Director of Wide Open Agriculture, a food and agriculture company that is transforming Western Australia’s Wheatbelt through diversified, regenerative farming systems. Ben has 15 years experience founding and managing start-up businesses that improve health and well-being of the planet and people. Ben has a PhD in environmental engineering and has previously worked with the Asian Development Bank, UNICEF and Save the Children. Ben founded a profitable social enterprise in Vietnam that produces anti-pollution facemasks and won the International Business in Development start-up competition in 2007. The business is still operating and offers employment to women living with or caring for people with HIV.