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The 2019 Closing the Gap Report states that Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander natives have a lower life expectancy, an average of 10-17 years, than non-indigenous Australians. Nutrition has been cited as the key contributor to preventable health challenges, and yet 22% of indigenous people report not having enough food to eat.

Food Ladder, a not-for-profit, came up with an innovative solution to address this nutrition gap by empowering those facing food security and nutrition crises. Environmentally sustainable technologies were put in place to provide communities with access to fresh, nutrient-rich produce while simultaneously creating social enterprises that deliver economic, health, education and employment outcomes. The road block for the organization was, the communities were often far-flung and hence difficult to provide resources, teach and monitor. This is where TCS leveraged its technology capital.

foodladder kids

As part of its Community Innovation Program, TCS developed a new website for Food Ladder, helping to connect with the remote communities with food production. The website provides free access to high-quality content and tools focusing on in-ground gardening, hydroponic greenhouse gardening and business development. As a result, Food Ladder can now continuously engage with the communities virtually than physically go to these remote locations.

Food Ladder’s association with TCS has allowed the not-for-profit to weather a difficult phase and it has also allowed them to scale much faster, stated Kelly McJannett, CEO and Co-Founder of Food Ladder.

Innovative, hydroponic climate-controlled greenhouses are installed as the vital asset of the enterprise in each location. The remote and Indigenous communities are engaged to own, manage and run the business. They plant, grow, harvest, sell, prepare and learn about nutrient-rich fruit and vegetables and other bush tucker products. The food growing systems are five times more productive than ground-grown agriculture, with most utilizing solar power to reduce dependence on traditional carbon-intense forms of energy.

The website also offers educational content and data analytics, with free training and education resources to help users understand the crops and food production basics. Users can also track progress and extract their information and contribution, which helps them enhance production and access funding to augment their food system. 

“The wonderful thing about working with TCS is the alignment we both have around the sustainable development goals and that culture has really made the whole process incredibly easy. We are feeling optimistic and looking forward to future and all of those communities that have benefited as a result,” said Kelly.

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