Meet Our Team
Passionate about horticulture and sustainability, Chris was able to incorporate his values and interests into Gibbston Microgreens over the course of the last seven years.
Originally from China and with a degree in Electrical Engineering, Sunny found Queenstown a place she loves to call home. She appreciates community involvement permacultural principals and enjoys working in a small business environment.
A civil engineer by trade, Mark brings his process driven skill set to the team. After living in Queenstown for over 18 years and having interest and knowledge across multiple industries (including horticulture), he adapted very quickly to his position with our now team of three.
It all began with a want to sustain ourselves with our own home grown produce. Living out in Gibbston gave us the space to experiment and working at Sherwood gave us the vision and motivation to begin our project.
Our primary focus was minimising operational waste, direct distribution of our greens, year round production and offering a nutrient dense, locally grown leafy green option to the Queenstown market.
We noticed alot of imported wholesale produce spends days deteriorating in transit and would arrive in less than ideal condition. This doesnt even take into account the carbon footprint incurred shipping around items that can (with a little innovation) be produced locally. The growing season in Queenstown is one of the shortest in the country so we decided to look into climate controlled vertical agriculture so we could ensure availability & consistency throughout the year without stressing about climatic challenges.
Our evolution over the last year has taken us from growing our microgreens in a hobbyist glasshouse, to operating out of five fully converted growtainers. These are retrofitted insulated shipping containers which house vertically tiered flood tables, an autonomous irrigation system and energy efficient LED lighting to be able to produce the most consistent, fast yielding, nutrient dense crop possible for local wholesale distribution and residential home delivery. This vertical indoor farm model allowed us to optimise productive growing space whilst minimising our physical business footprint in an environment with such varied climates
Our strategy was to build direct relationships and be able to control our own distribution channels and quality of our product. We established a network of support over the first couple years which gave us ability to stick to our strategy of only local distribution (within 100km from site).
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Our Commitment to the Environment
All of our spent growing medium is recycled onsite. It is either composted, fed to the chickens or utilised in our Food Forest project for supressing grass and allowing our perennial plants & trees to out compete weeds (more on this project below).
We also incenivise a zero waste system with our living trays of microgreens. The tray and punnets are returned back to us for another round of production.
Electric Delivery Service
We use an LDV E-Deliver3 electric van for our delivery service. This zero emission vehicle allows us to zip around the basin whilst maintaining our commitment to sustainability and demonstrating our dedication to reducing our carbon footprint and environmental impact.
Our power provider is Ecotricity - New Zealands only carbon neutral power supplier which generates 100% of its electricity from renewable sources.
We have been experimenting with native propogation in our growtainers (Kowhai, Manuka, Five Finger, Flax, Tussock). It allows us to germinate our seeds in the winter and nurture them inside our grow rooms until spring, when we can then harden them off outside for repotting and/or planting. This gives us a 6 month headstart as opposed to starting in spring. The trees end up being planted in the food forest for productive reasons (like the nitrogen fixing Kowhai), or are planted as landscaping to provide a diverse habitat and screening of our facility.
Food Forest Project
In 2021 we established an onsite food forest utilising around 750 squared meters of land to create a self fertlile, edible landscape which incorporates multiple layers of perennial plants including fruit & nut trees, mushrooms, berry shrubs, root crops, nitrogen fixing species, edible ground covers, mineral accumulators and flowers to attract pollinators and beneficial insects.
The idea was derived from our determination to improve our food resilience and to create a place we could experiment with different edible varieties and share with our friends and family. It is also a space we are able to utilise our waste medium from microgreen production, support the EDF team with flower production, Remarkable Fungi with their wasted blocks and in the near future incorporate some beehives with Bee The Change for the extra assistance of pollination and honey production.
Supporting Local Projects
EDF tend a plot of space in the Food Forest for flower production which in turn attracts beneficial insects and pollinators into the ecosystem we are trying to establish. A true win-win!
Remarkable Fungi & Waste To Wildnerness donate us their production waste (spent blocks of grain & mycelium) which are piled into the food forest and covered in wood chip. The mycelium will continue to improve soil structure and biology whilst also providing further flushes of culinary mushrooms for our own personal consumption.
Bee The Change donate from every kg sold to the Wakatipu Reforestation Trust in a effort to help regenerate the local flora of the area. They have apiary specific raw honey varieties and are one of only a few locally registered honey producers.
With a rapidly expanding population & with increasingly unpredictable weather patterns, we feel that vertical agriculture, innovative use of space and agricultural technologies will aid in the global demand for nourishment. We want to be apart of the solution towards local food resilience here in the Queenstown Lakes Region and we hope our business provides some insipration for others looking to make a small difference where they can.
We are always interested in telling our story and enjoy showing those who support us around the farm. Please feel free to contact us if you would like to come check out our operation and meet the team.