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Women in Business in Rural Australia - successful innovators
05 November 2018
Krista Watkins (above left) was chosen as one of AgriFutures state winners for 2018 and has since been awarded the national prize as Rural Woman of the Year. She and her family live in Far North Queensland, produce bananas and run Natural Evolution Foods.
Krista is a leader in agricultural innovation and is the co-founder and managing director of Natural Evolution Foods, a world-first company specialising in green banana flour products.
Her motto is “to solve the world’s problems and make people’s lives better”. She is a keen advocate for innovation and disruption, and passionate about reinvigorating the Australian food manufacturing industry.
Krista’s interest in reducing waste and finding uses for unsaleable produce led to the development of Natural Evolution Foods in 2012. Following tireless work and research, she and husband Rob built the world’s first pharmaceutical-grade green banana processing facility and pioneered a gluten-free banana flour and skincare range. The business has experienced remarkable growth, expanding into international markets and winning sustainability and innovation awards in Australia and overseas.
Her aspiration is for all rural industries, businesses and communities to succeed and thrive in their field of work. She wants the next generation to see the value in an agricultural career and to demonstrate that being a farmer is more than driving a tractor – “we are strategic, we are strong and we are world-class.”
Krista believes that innovation, sustainability and science will be integral to the success of the Australian agriculture industry.
Using her expertise and knowledge gained from the banana industry, she will use her bursary to work with farmers in her local area, and empower them to create an alternative industry and revenue stream for unsaleable sweet potato products.
She will use the bursary to nutritionally analyse the characteristics and value of sweet potatoes and research the market opportunities and potential to create new, high-value food sources.
Krista’s long-term goal is to create a dreams factory, where rural and regional innovators can work together in a creative space to bring their ideas and visions to reality.
For more information on the awards and to nominate for 2019, see here.