It is Christopher's dynamic approach to farming, and need to solve problems, that sees him awarded the 2018 Young Farmer of the Year, sponsored by McDonald's, along with the Award for Excellence in Technology, sponsored by New Holland.
In little over three years, Christopher has grown his organic mushroom business, Mycelia Organics, into a company enjoying more than 90% share of their category supplying product to all the major Australian retailers and more than 750 independent stores nationwide.
Described as a ‘go-getter', Christopher's ability to transform under-performing farms through innovative implementation of new and current technologies ensured he could achieve his goals.
The technology development he has been involved in includes:
• compostable packaging solutions;
• escaVox, technology based on distributed cryptographic ledger technology combined with cold-chain tracking capabilities to solve several historical and significant problems facing horticultural, meat and other chilled good supply chains;
• software and hardware solutions to assist with automation and efficiency in harvesting of mushrooms.
As founder and Director of Development, Christopher operates Mycelia Organics over three sites in Diggers Rest, Lockwood, and Newbridge in Victoria. Alongside business partners Bill Littleson and Mick Surridge, Christopher recently merged with a larger group now including a composting operation.
They currently employ more than 80 people and have a diversified ownership model with key staff being made shareholders.
Christopher is deliberately evolving from a traditional ‘owner/operator' model into a corporate structure that can outlive any individuals in the business.
McDonald's has long been a supporter of the Australian agricultural industry and is the sponsor of the 2018 Young Farmer of the Year Award. Robert Sexton, McDonald's Supply Chain Director for Australia and New Zealand, said that Christopher's drive and ambition illustrated that he was well aligned for leadership within the industry.
"Christopher has done a tremendous job scaling his organisation in a short period of time," Robert said.