#028 Transforming Food, Finance & Society

A conversation with Food Connect's Rob Pekin & Emma-Kate Rose


Today we feature an Australian first, in an area that is developing fast globally, and potentially helping to redefine how money, business and the economy work. It’s called equity crowdfunding. It’s based on the crowdfunding model most of us are probably familiar with, though here it’s used to raise investment capital. The federal legislation for this is new in Australia, and Food Connect seeks to become the first social enterprise in this country – or as they would say, ‘systems enterprise’ - to successfully use the tool. 

Emma-Kate Rose and Rob Pekin outside Food Connect in Brisbane. Pic: supplied.

Emma-Kate Rose and Rob Pekin outside Food Connect in Brisbane. Pic: supplied.

Food systems change, in Australia in particular, will happen when there’s a highly distributive network of local food hubs or local food relationships.
— Emma-Kate Rose

Food Connect is no ordinary enterprise. It’s really a phenomenon in Brisbane, that has germinated other developments in its mould all over the country. It began with the dramatic transformation of farmer Robert Pekin, and a model connecting farmer to eater more directly, fairly, and healthily, called Community Supported Agriculture (or CSA). 

The business has since developed, with the help of his now wife Emma-Kate Rose, into so much more. And most pointedly, in their sights now, are the inter-related food, farming and economic systems, along with the cultural stories underpinning how we organise those systems. Now they aim to raise $2-4 million, to enable a transformative vision, beginning with the purchase of the premises they’ve been operating out of for a little over a decade.

This is the remarkable story of a dairy farmer gone broke and ‘mad’, as he puts it in all sincerity. And a chance meeting with a woman who ended up selling her house to invest in the enterprise, such was her belief in it, while dedicating her life to making it work. 

So how does Food Connect and equity crowdfunding work? What would investing in Food Connect look like with this crowdfund model? And how does it change the systems and stories we live by, from ‘back-end’ food ‘rescue’ operations, to impact investing, to our broader economy and culture? 

Join Rob and Emma-Kate as they chat with Anthony upstairs at the Food Connect warehouse.

Get more:

Food Connect Shed equity crowdfunder, open till 10 November 2018.

Food Connect Foundation, including a series of events happening throughout the crowdfund.

The bio’s of Emma-Kate and Robert.
Food Connect enterprise.



Spirit, by The Waterboys.

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