Two seachange innovators are tapping into the skills of generations-old Bega Valley farmers with an ingenious idea that could be used to market just about anything.
The Crowd Carnivore platform is the brainchild of Tathra’s Zachary Sequoia and Dan Tarasenko of Greigs Flat, who both epitomise Malcolm Turnbull’s push for an Australian “ideas boom”.
The two 36-year-old entrepreneurs have collaborated to create a unique online crowd funding platform that brings individuals or groups of people together and combines the pledges into a single order used to purchase whole animals directly from a producer.
Their concept of small farm, grass-fed beef delivered straight to the consumer’s door in an esky has just launched to markets in Sydney, Canberra, Newcastle and Wollongong that are chomping at the bit for cheap, fresh, additive-free food.
“The ethical side of this is that if you walk into Woolworths or Coles you only get a part of the animal, so we are really pushing the whole ethical side,” Mr Tarasenko said.
Farmers cop a lot of flak from causing climate change to causing cancer, but these guys do it at a massive loss to them all to end up in a hamburger in America.
“There is no such thing as a cow made from just T-bones or Scotch fillets, so one of the really cool things we have done is learn how to break a whole cow down into 12 very equal in size boxes so the consumers get the one cow without necessarily buying the whole cow.
“We don’t do anything unless those 12 boxes are sold because the farmers can’t sell half a cow and leave the other half in the paddock,” he said.
The entire process cuts out middlemen, supply contracts heavily swayed in favour of the supermarkets, the need for farmers to make a loss on unsold stock and avoid ever increasing shop front rental prices.
The money goes straight from the customer into the pockets of the farmers with the pair only taking a small marketing fee.
Three Bega Valley farmers are currently involved in the initiative.
Sixth generation farmer Bryce Garnock of South Bukalong Beef, John Walker of Palarang Partnership Organic Meats and Quaama’s John Tracey of Barrabarroo Farm Fresh Meats have been invited on board with the innovators looking to source lamb producers in the near future.
“Farmers cop a lot of flak from causing climate change to causing cancer, but these guys do it at a massive loss to them all to end up in a hamburger in America,” Mr Tarasenko said.
“We are taking the anonymous factor out so the consumer knows their farmer, connecting them and educating people about animal ethics and how to use cuts that people aren’t necessarily used to.”
The busy pair collaborated with a team of developers to create the unique proprietary software.
The result is a platform where the community and the farmer receive the best possible value for their hard work, with local consumers forking out around $4 per meal for paddock to plate meat shipped free to their front door.
“We’ve built the core of the software to be non-product specific and ultimately we can sell anything using this methodology,” Mr Sequoia said.
“By keeping it as local as possible you are keeping the money in the community and out of the pockets of the big two supermarkets.
“They make such big margins while they promote the wrong kinds of farming and all the wrong kinds of meat and pay the farmers as little as possible, we split that difference by giving more to the farmer and keeping some for ourselves by having made the platform.”
This key concept used by Mr Sequoia and Mr Tasarenko and across the startup universe – being disruptive – was once considered a negative trait.
Disruptive innovation is a process by which a product or service takes hold at the bottom of a market and then relentlessly and efficiently moves upward until eventually displacing already established competitors.
Originally from the city, the pair have been collaborating on various projects from the scenic backdrop of the Far South Coast since meeting in 2012 and are excited to spark interest in metropolitan customers who unlike rural shoppers currently have little access to ethically sourced grass fed meat and no connection to the farmer, Mr Sequoia said.
After the launch of Crowd Carnivore the two foodies are both hoping to apply this concept to everything they enjoy and beyond – next on the list?
“We're already in discussion with wineries in Victoria about using the platform to crowdfund cases of wine,” Mr Sequoia said.