Honorary Senior Fellow (April 2008)
Martha Shepherd was named an Honorary Senior Fellow in April 2008 in recognition of her contributions to agri-business within the Sunshine Coast region.
Martha Shepherd worked as a senior executive in the food industry in the United States for 30 years before moving to the Sunshine Coast. She enrolled in TAFE to learn about Australia’s native trees, discovered the fruits of native rainforest trees and established an orchard on her farm in the hinterland. With her partner, she developed an environmentally sustainable and commercially viable business from her small property, establishing a chain of independent producers to grow enough native fruits to produce a range of gourmet products. Martha’s work in developing a value chain model for the sustainable use of small parcels of farmland earned her the inaugural Australian Rural Industries Research and Development Corporation Rural Women’s Award in 2006. She was appointed Innovator in Residence in 2007 by the Centre for Rural and Regional Innovation in Queensland, and to the Board of Directors of the new peak body, the Australian Native Food Industry Ltd. In 2008 she received a government scholarship to explore new fruit processing technologies and market opportunities for her products in Australia and the United States.