Ecotera

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 Image Source: Melanie Temple 

Image Source: Melanie Temple 

Sebastian Petrik is one of those guys who aims for the sky and this time he looks set to get it.  Sustainably and locally though, of course.

Following one of those “what am I doing with my life” breakdowns two years ago, Sebastian wanted to change the world, he just didn’t know how.

“I asked myself, is what I’m doing now really the change I want to make in the world” Sebastian said.

This bigger picture thinking fuelled the creation of Ecotera.  Ecotera is a social change company providing city slickers the chance to buy fresh produce grown locally, from locals, at lower costs.

While Ecotera is still in its development stage, the nuts and bolts are firmly laid down.

"Prices will naturally be lower given Ecotera cuts out the middle man."

Ecotera looks to set up in vacant lots or free space and build above ground urban farms capable of sustaining the local community.

Members pay an annual fee and then pick the seasonal fruit and vegetables they want planted in their allotted space, in various urban farms around Brisbane, via an online portal.

“Per acre we can probably support about 200 people using high density techniques” Sebastian said.

The annual fee goes towards maintenance and materials for the farms, alongside paying the farmers.

Sebastian uses a labour strategy called hard/soft labour that divides work weeks up into hard labour such as planting and harvesting, and soft labour, such as tertiary training to ensure farmers get the most out of their experience.

Farmers are also given time and resources to work on their own dreams because, as Sebastian knows, you need time to make the change you want to see in the world.

“If you are working forty hour weeks for the man you can’t change the world” Sebastian said.

“We say to them what change do you want to make in the world, how much time do you need to do it and what resources do you need to do that?”

Sebastian says his personal dream is to become an employee working on the farms, following his dreams.

“Even though I am CEO, my dream is to become an employee” Sebastian said.

Where can these farms be set up? The beauty of it is that the farming techniques used are all above ground and ideally can be set up wherever there is available space; in car parks, on rooftops etc.

The simplicity of Ecotera sits in stark contrast to current food fights between traditional farmers and large corporations.

While lowering produce costs isn’t the main agenda, Sebastian says prices will naturally be lower given Ecotera cuts out the middle man.

 “What we want to do is stop the food fights between farms, between large corps and between people” Sebastian said.

 “We want to do this by enabling people at the grassroots level to be able to produce their own food, within their own community and keeping that money within their particular interests.”

Ecotera is looking for as much support as possible.  If this is something you’d like to be involved with, jump online to ecotera.com.au and sign up to be involved.