Understanding > Interpretation > Models > Action

The scope of my project is to uncover what is currently being done in sustainable horticulture around the world, with a distinct focus on the urbanisation of the farming of leafy greens.

From the understanding gained my goal is to present three new business models that could be taken up by industry to change the value chain of fresh greens in three industry sectors; Consumers, Hospitality and the plants for Health industry.

Understanding phase

As part of the Nuffield scholarship, I need to participate in a global focus program where I will join a cohort of 10 other farmers and head out on an investigatory journey through six countries with a key focus on Japan, Israel and Netherlands. These countries are making major advances in high tech farming. I think that this will give me an understanding of the technologies that have already been established, and the potential solutions or adaptions of these solutions that may be incorporated into my models presented.

Understanding and uncovering extreme conditions and what is possible is part of my objective. My thinking is that if food can be grown in the most arid and desolate conditions then growing produce in a reasonable climate will be achievable.

On my private travels I am planning on travelling to Antarctica to visit the three Australian Stations; Casey, Davis and Mawson. Since the early 70s most of the stations from around the world have been experimenting with growing fresh vegetables to supply the Stations. My company Australian Fresh Leaf Herbs has been supply the Australian bases with fresh herbs every month via the Hobart port. This trip is scheduled for January 2017 pending government approval from the Antarctic division. I intend to investigate three areas:

  • Current technology deployed
  • How the operational procedure works and how new farmers are training
    • What are the growing challenges and results, with a particular focus on cost of establishment and energy use per square meter

I will also be heading to Dubhai, Quartar and Abu Dubi in 2017 to attend the middle east farm technology convention and analyze the opposite extreme of the growing conditions.

In both these parts of my private studies, I chose to focus on extremes of climatic conditions to really try and understand the challenges at both ends of the spectrum.

Below are the key areas that I will be looking into and where most of the challenges are being presented:

  1. Energy required
    1. Light required for photosynthesis
    2. Heating and cooling required to stimulate growth
    3. Fertilizer requirements for growth
  2. Management of climate
    1. Keeping control of humidity
    2. Temperature control
    3. Plant disease management
  3. Capital costs and operating costs
    1. Capital outlay vs Return on Investment
    2. Operational costs vs yield
    3. Overall Economic feasibility
  4. Environmental impact
    1. Water inputs
    2. Carbon outputs
    3. Types of energy input
  5. Adoption and Scalability
    1. Innovative uses of technology to operate a farm
    2. Education and training techniques
    3. Capacity to be scaled as a global solution

On my study tour, I’ll also be furthering my knowledge on the supply chain process in other countries to better understand how fresh leaf greens flow through a respective value chain and ultimately end up in the hands of the consumer. This is an important focus as every country has a slightly different way of distributing its produce to its consumers. This presents both a challenge and plenty of opportunity for reform.

Interpretation and emerging models

Once I’ve completed the travel study I will be working through both the commercial and environmental challenges and opportunities that are presented.

I intend to have some key discussions with research organisations in Australia and abroad, as well as deliberate with my engineers and key customers to discover 1-3 feasible next generation models to intensify, urbanise and connect our farms and urban communities back to their leafy greens.


Using my position as Chief Executive Officer of Australian Fresh Leaf Herbs, it is my plan to work with all shareholders, investors and key stakeholders and commercialise one of these models to showcase a proof in concept and prove the results from my findings.


Singapore 7th June – 10th June, 2016

Indonesia 11th June – 15th June, 2016

Jakarta | Sumatera

Japan 16th June – 25th June, 2016

Tokyo | Obihiro | Shimizu | Sapporo | Kobe | Kyoto | Akoh

Israel 26th June – 2nd July, 2016

Tel Aviv | Lake of Galilee | Dead Sea | Jerusalem

Netherlands 3rd July – 9th July, 2016

Amsterdam | Averis | Eersel | Yrseke | Rotterdam | Volendam |

United States 10th July – 2nd August, 2016

Washington | Illinois | New York | Florida | Atlanta | San Francisco | Los Angeles

Antarctica –   4th January – 7th of February, 2017

Mawson | Davis | Casey

Middle East –   1st May – 14th June,2017

Dubhai | Qatar | Abu Dubai

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