Tasmanian tomato grower wins innovation award

A Tasmanian tomato grower from Turners Beach has won a national award for innovative approach to greenhouse production. Marcus Brandsema has been awarded the 2010 TQA Australia Global Insights Award, which recognises excellence in environmental assurance, quality assurance and food safety. The Tasmanian Minister for Primary Industries and Water, Bryan Green, congratulated Mr Brandsema:

“It is a wonderful achievement.”

“Innovation in farming and production methods is critical to make the most of our opportunities and to address the challenges of the future.”

“Food safety and quality assurance systems are the means for Tasmania to remain as one of the world’s most favoured producers of high quality, safe food and agricultural products,” Mr Green said.

Marcus works in the family business, J & A Brandsema Pty Ltd, which has been growing vegetables in Tasmania since 1958. The business now concentrates on the ‘Perino’ style cherry tomatoes, which it supplies to supermarkets and green grocers throughout Tasmania, Victoria and NSW. The Brandsema family has a strong environmental focus; using Integrated Pest Management strategies and the latest in greenhouse design technology to reduce their reliance on chemicals. Reducing their carbon footprint is next on the agenda.

Marcus will use his $10,000 award to travel overseas to research alternate energy sources to heat greenhouses and reduce their carbon footprint. He plans to investigate the use of bio-mass gasification to replace LPG natural gas to power greenhouses.