4S: Sustainable & Social Suppliers' Stories
There are more than 6,500 bush foods in Australia, many of which have been part of the Indigenous diet for generations. And unbeknown to most of us these foods are all around us! Take pigface, for example, which grows prolifically along many Australian beaches and produces an edible fruit. Other delicacies include Saltbush, Five Corners Berry, Finger Lime, and Native Mint.
Bush foods are a bit of unknown and untapped market with only 20% of species in Australia being produced for commercial markets. But with the World Bank reporting that agriculture development is the most powerful tool to boost shared prosperity and end extreme poverty, there seems to be an opportunity to not only raise awareness of these delectable and historical foods, but also support local communities.
Aggie Global is a social business empowering farmers and Indigenous communities in Australia and Fiji to share their culture and earn a living through agriculture.
WHO ARE THEY
Aggie Global was founded by twin sisters Lisa Paisley and Zoe Paisley. After spending some time in Fiji they noticed that making even small changes to farming practices could result in significant positive environmental and financial impacts for the farmers. They hosted their first educational workshop for farmers in 2018, and although only one farmer turned up, he was able to increase his income six times the national average after implementing what he learnt from Lisa and Zoe. It was results like this that spurred the sisters on to establish Aggie Global and help farmers access new markets for their produce.
After their first workshop, Lisa and Zoe decided to focus on food production and consumption in the Fijian tourism market. A staggering 70% of the tourism industry imports food, while at the same time almost half the Fijian population work in domestic agriculture, and live in poverty. The disconnect was absurd.
Pivoting from educational workshops, Lisa and Zoe established an eCommerce platform where local hotels and resorts in Fiji could connect with, and purchase directly from local farmers.
Around the same time that Aggie Global pivoted to become a marketplace for fresh produce, Australian farmers were struggling with extreme drought, followed by the Black Summer bushfires of 2019-2020. Individuals, communities and businesses wanted to support these farmers in any way that they could, so in April 2020 Aggie Global launched in Australia.
Through their launch in Australia, Lisa and Zoe want Aggie Global to become a platform to promote Indigenous agriculture communities, a sector that is severely underrepresented. Their mission is to connect buyers with local producers, with a focus on raising awareness of Indigenous culture and native bush foods.
AN INTRODUCTION TO THEIR PLATFORM
Their eCommerce platform makes it easy for buyers to support local farmers, discover new foods, and learn more about the communities behind them.
Right now farmers around the world struggle to connect directly with buyers. They usually have to go through middlemen or wholesalers with whom they aren’t in a position to negotiate and often have to accept minimum prices at very little profit.
Simultaneously, buyers struggle to find local produce and have difficulties understanding the seasonality of locally available food. When buyers do try to work with farmers directly, they are often overwhelmed with logistical and communication issues that take too much time to deal with.
Aggie Global is creating a virtuous food supply chain that helps businesses support local communities in a time effective manner. They look after the logistics and other details so that buyers and farmers can spend their time doing what they love. Aggie Global helps buyers discover new produce, learn about farming practices and support rural communities.
Farmers set their own prices on the platform and 80% of Aggie Global’s revenue is paid directly back to them, ensuring that they benefit most. All the farmers are local, so buyers are guaranteed to support their local community.
Aggie Global aims to engage with underrepresented community groups like family-run farms or Indigenous communities, whilst also promoting sustainable farming practices. As a result, 75% of their farmers are organic growers. For any deliveries, the company tries to use carbon neutral distributors to limit detrimental environmental impact.
Aggie also partners with social businesses and impact aligned organisations, such as the Enterprise Learning Project (ELP) in the Northern Territory, Australia. ELP works with Indigenous communities on capacity building projects to empower the community and fight inequalities.
HOW CAN YOU BRING AGGIE GLOBAL INTO YOUR BUSINESS?
Supporting Aggie Global and local farmers is easy.
They currently offer bulk buying of locally produced goods, such as non-alcoholic cocktails for networking events, traditionally brewed kombucha, finger limes and other bush foods. They also sell corporate gift boxes that come with a mix of local products.
If you are in charge of stocking your office fridge and pantry, contact Aggie Global below to see how they can help you support local:
Aggie Global is focused on giving you a taste of what your local community has to offer while creating a greater awareness of agriculture communities in Australia and Fiji.
When you buy from Aggie Global, you are able to contribute to many of the UN Sustainable Development Goals such as Goal #1 No poverty, Goal #2 Zero hunger, Goal #4 Quality education and Goal #10, reduced inequalities.
If you are a sustainable, social or inclusive supplier ready to expand your business opportunities by connecting to the corporate sector, we can help improve this experience for you.
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