Alex Arnold is Co-founder and CTO of Bardee, a Victorian-based agri-tech startup that transforms food waste into certified organic fertiliser and protein for animal feed. Every tonne of food waste offsets 1,900 kg of CO2e. Alex has a Master’s Degree in Agricultural Science - Food Security and earned first class honours in a Bachelor of Science (Hons), Genetics from the University of Melbourne. Alongside co-founder and CEO Phoebe Gardner, ex-Architect and CEO, Alex has built Bardee’s pilot facility Moonbase to become Australia’s largest insect breeding, protein and fertiliser facility in less than a year.
Taronish Patel is a qualified Chartered Accountant and holder of The Harvard Certification on Sustainability, working as a Senior Consultant at PwC, Melbourne and has about 5 years of professional experience in providing a range of assurance and advisory services to Financial Service clients across the Indian, South East Asia and Asia Pacific markets. With extensive experience in the Financial Statement Audits and Controls Reporting Assurance space, her inclination now lies towards all things Environment, social and corporate governance (ESG) and Sustainability – This includes Assurance over ESG Reporting, understanding the Company’s ESG engagement strategy, screening new investments for ESG metrics, risk analysis from an ESG Context and quantifying project impacts like greenhouse gas emissions reduction, among other such ESG Consulting roles and practices. To summarize very briefly, Taronish is driven by a passion for research, business and communication and an undying desire to never stop learning. She loves reading, music, travel, baking, playing badminton and the piano and writing poetry when not number-crunching.
Hannah Presley is an Aboriginal curator based in Melbourne. She is a Director of Agency and Senior Curator, Museums and Collections at University of Melbourne. Presley was recently curator of Indigenous Art at National Gallery of Victoria and is the curator of Primavera 2021 at Museum of Contemporary Art and Observance at Buxton Contemporary (with Sam Comte), 2022. Presley was the inaugural Yalingwa curator at Australian Centre for Contemporary Art, where she curated A Lightness of Spirit is the Measure of Happiness in 2018 and was First Nations Assistant Curator for Tracey Moffatt at the 57th Venice Biennale.
Emcee: Jess Vovers
Jess Vovers is a radically hopeful potter, maker, secret poet, and doctor of biochemical engineering. Terrified by the realities of climate change, Jess focused their doctoral research on bio-based alternatives to fossil fuel solvents in the extraction of pharmaceuticals from plant matter. Beyond research, Jess is a scifi-fantasy dork nerd who is passionate about diversity and creativity in STEM. They seek to explore the plurality of queer, neurodiverse, regenerative futures and how we can enmesh art and science to cultivate them. Jess is also a hair model, avid meditator, tutor, and experienced speaker. They are driven by curiosity, awe and connection, and can often be found settling in with clay in soft coloured lighting, or wandering in the bush near the Birrarung with a thermos of tea searching for mushrooms and fluid dynamic patterns.
Associate Professor Michael-Shawn Fletcher is a descendant of the Wiradjuri and a geographer interested in the long-term human-environment interactions. Michael’s research group focusses on understanding how landscapes evolve through time using microfossils stored in sediments. Michael’s recent research has a particular emphasis on how Indigenous burning has shaped the Australian landscape and how Indigenous knowledge needs to be meaningfully incorporated into landscape management to tackle many of the environmental challenges we face today. He is Director of Research Capability at the Indigenous Knowledge Institute and the Associate Dean (Indigenous) in the Faculty of Science at the University of Melbourne.