Hort Innovation is a not-for-profit, grower-owned Research and Development Corporation for Australia’s $9 billion horticulture industry. Hort Innovation invests more than $100 million in research, development and marketing programs annually.
2021 Scholarship winner
Michael Densham from Main Ridge, Victoria, receives a Nuffield Scholarship supported by Hort Innovation. Through his research, Michael will investigate how the design of intensive production systems can drive increased productivity and profitability of small-scale farming operations.
Michael co-established Mossy Willow Market Garden and is the outgoing farm manager at Mossy Willow Farm, a mixed-production organic farm that produces a diverse range of organic vegetables and cut flowers for fine dining restaurants, farmers markets, farm gate sales and grocery stores.
“Small-scale farming operations are valuable contributors to regional economies and community development, boosting farm-gate sales and agri-tourism,” Michael said.
“But growing population pressures and disruptive events have demonstrated the need to expand the small farm sector beyond the agri-tourism model.
“To build an economically and environmentally sustainable system for small farming enterprises, greater focus must be placed on leveraging the strengths of small farms and utilising innovative intensive farming methods.
“There is immense opportunity to optimise the management and production of small farms for greater profit and employment opportunities in Australia’s agricultural sector. Through my Nuffield Scholarship, I want to explore how small farms can enjoy high productivity and profit and become a point of difference in an increasingly competitive global market.”
Michael aims to support Australia’s growing interest in small-scale farming by directing his study around small farm developments and business models across the European Union, Spain, Japan, North America and Israel.
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