Martha's bush food a winner
By GEMMA STENNER
THIRTEEN years ago she didn't know a wattle from a banksia. Now Martha
Shepherd's bushfoods products have earned
her Queensland's 2006 Rural Women's Award.
The Cooroy businesswoman beat four other finalists to win
the prestigious Rural Industries Research and Development
Corporation (RIRDC) Award, which encourages women's
contributions to agricultural and rural Australia.
Ms Shepherd was awarded the $10,000 bursary for her plans
to develop a management model which will enable Sunshine Coast
producers and processors to work together and maximise
But for the new Australian, the award came as a
I'm just flabbergasted, it's a tremendous honour,¨ she said. I don't know why they chose me instead
of the other amazing finalists but I think maybe they perceive
that the potential of the model goes beyond our business and
American-born Ms Shepherd moved to Australia in 1993 with
20 years of experience in the food industry but no knowledge
whatsoever of Australia's native bushfoods. Four years later,
she and partner David Haviland established Galeru, a small
business transforming fruits of the rainforest into delectable
It was then she realised the need for a model that would
help small farms in the area become more economically and
I realised an alternative growth model, in which everyone
worked together, would help small producers and small players
on the land secure their futures through sustainable growth.¨
The Value Chain Management Model is a business model in
which producers and growers work with suppliers and processors
to increase the value of the crop.
The idea is that a synergy is created and because
everybody has interests in the crop, everyone is working
together to build the value of it,¨ Ms Shepherd said.
Director General for Primary Industries and Fisheries Jim
Varghese said Ms Shepherd was making tremendous
contributions to sustainable agriculture in Queensland¨.
And, as for her unique business, Ms Shepherd said she would
be teaming up with other small players to ensure its future
There is so much more potential in a group than by
ourselves and if small players team up we can find ways of
keeping our agricultural land instead of letting it go to
Galeru is also looking forward to exporting its products
As state winner of the award, Ms Shepherd will attend the
Australian Institute of Company Directors Course in Canberra
and is in the running for the National Rural Women's Award.