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Published: 5 Apr 2022

The Masterclass in Horticultural Business is offered through the  University of Tasmania and was developed in partnership with some of the world’s leading names in horticulture. It is a flexible course, with online delivery and three face-to-face workshops scheduled throughout the course duration. In this column we meet 2017 graduate Lisa Brassington, who outlines how the course has benefited her career and how it continues to shape her thinking today.

has been five years since Lisa Brassington graduated as part of the first intake of students to complete the inaugural Masterclass in Horticultural Business in 2017.

Lisa is a specialist in sustainable food systems. She is a passionate advocate for the agri-food sector, horticulture, agriculture, and agribusiness – particularly at a localised level – and was drawn to the Masterclass for the opportunity to build on and formalise her existing skills.

“Each week since graduating, I have used some element of learning and solution focused thinking from the course,” Lisa says.

“As the curriculum was designed by Hort Innovation in partnership with the three universities, plus horticultural industry leaders, it was a great intersection and learning balance between vocation, education and application of horticultural agribusiness.”

Lisa works part of her week in local government and her role focuses on growing a healthy, delicious, sustainable, and fair local food system as well as a vibrant and flourishing local food community.

“That is my day job’s mantra – to collectively make community-wide change for all,” Lisa says.

“In the local government food system’s role, we have a single agenda that I work towards on behalf and alongside my local community.

“My role has a focus on a paddock-to-plate community food system that is aligned to a food strategy action plan for better health and nutritional wellbeing of all residents.”

Course reflection

Lisa said the Masterclass’s wide range of subjects – including supply-chain management, life cycling, agriculture and farm business accounting and economics – were insightful and useful.

“The knowledge enables me to interpret relevant industry data in a localised manner to tailor my horticulture and agriculture conversations with the people and community I consult with, or the agri-food services I provide in my day job,” Lisa says.

“Because my background knowledge was formalised, the course has given me the courage to set up a consultancy as well as undertake specialised professional development and provide client services.”

Lisa recognises that the Masterclass’ mix of remote and in-person learning – designed to provide flexibility to participants who may be juggling full-time work – was inadvertently ahead of its time.

“That was innovative, because this was pre-pandemic collaborative working and learning,” Lisa says.

There were many highlights of the course, but Lisa points to forums where business leaders presented to the group as being a stand-out.

“They were excellent. We got to work in pairs or small groups, and each business leader would come in with a challenge or an opportunity to apply that thinking we had at that time,” she says.

“Not only did we benefit from the guest speakers and the site visits, the people we visited or who spoke to us also received our insights into the challenges that they brought to us.”

For her final assessment, Lisa presented a business case scenario that drew on an amalgamation and accumulation of all her learning in all the units through the course.

“It felt like you were giving back to the horticulture industry as a way of saying thank you for supporting my learning,” Lisa says.

The profile was first published in the AusVeg autumn 2022 edition of Vegetables Australia.