Interview with Ms Jodi Smith

Ms Jodi Smith, Director of The Earth Care Agency

Ms Jodi Smith is the Director of The Earth Care Agency (TECA), a consultancy company specialising in regenerative organic solutions for the agriculture industry.

We at the Pacific Green Business Centre wanted to learn more about what a company called ‘The Earth Care Agency’ was doing. We asked Jodi Smith a few questions.

Q1: What does The Earth Care Agency do and how do you operate?

The Earth Care Agency Pte Ltd was established in Fiji to promote earth care and people care through the sharing of knowledge about regenerative, organic, agricultural and sustainable agri-industry practices appropriate to developing nations. TECA works across the agricultural value chain from grower to consumer, specializing in organic & food safety certification, capacity building, soil regeneration, location specific planting systems, food security, climate change resilience, record keeping & audit management, management and value chain problem solving, logistics & market linkage. The key beneficiaries are subsistence farmers in Fiji, women and girls, businesses and the environment.

Q2: What have been TECA’s major successes thus far?

Since its establishment in early 2017 TECA has:

– set up Fiji’s first organic certified Fairtrade grower group in 2018 (the Wainunu Organic Growers’ Association);

– assisted Bula Batiki Ltd with its Virgin Coconut Oil Production, specifically Pacific Organic Standard and British Retail Consortium (BRC) Certification. Batiki Island, through TECA’s guidance, is set to become Fiji’s 5th organic certified island;

– created the Fiji Queen Organics Association, a women’s grower group which also includes husband / wife and mother / son teams) the association currently has 11 husband and wife farmer teams it is a “women focused” supply group, where women farmers grow niche organic products (with a focus on crops that are culturally more acceptable for Fijian women to grow). The group will focus on the supply of USDA NOP, EU and JAS organic and Fairtrade certified ginger, turmeric and vanilla.

A harvest of organic ginger

Prior to setting up TECA, its Director Jodi Smith  won the 2016 Global GAP Award, in her role as CEO of Ranadi Plantation.

In addition to working with private clients, TECA continues to work with the NGOs Organic Matters Foundation and Sea Mercy on the Remote Island Soils Education (RISE) Program to assist outer islands such as Batiki in regenerative, organic agriculture training at the grass-roots level.

Q3: How have you improved operations to make them cleaner and greener?

For its own operations TECA recycles paper, cardboard and food wastes, uses natural and LED light, rechargeable batteries, and non-chemical cleaning products. This has helped TECA reduce energy and required physical space by replacing on-site servers with the Cloud to backup data, share files, and making its data accessible from anywhere, with very little environmental impact. TECA also collects plastic bottle waste from Pacific Harbour beaches and uses these bottles to plant seedling trees. TECA will be applying for third party organic certification (USDA NOP and EU Organic) of its 1 acre property in 2018.

In the wider community TECA’s primary goal is earth care, and it achieves this through teaching actors across the agricultural value chain how to grow and value add in a way that regenerates the environment with minimal use of fossil fuels.

Q4: What do you intend to do to make your operations greener?

As TECA expands, it will continue to promote earth care and people care not only through its business ventures but will ensure to maintain its green company initiatives by discussing and engaging with its employees of the easy ways they can contribute. TECA will also be switching to solar energy in the near future for the running of its office, and will promote solar solutions for the village-level processing facilities we work with.

Q5: How can the PGBC help your business?

PGBC can assist TECA by linking us to community and private sector agri-business initiatives that need assistance with becoming organic, Fairtrade, GAP, HACCP and food safety certified.

TECA’s produce processing training


Jodi Smith during field training

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

One can reach Jodi Smith and the TECA staff at 27 Waikalou Road, Deuba, Fiji, or through email at info@theearthcareagency.com or phone: +679 345 0215. We suggest you also visit their website at www.theearthcareagency.com

 

 

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If you enjoyed reading this Exec Interview you may also enjoy our interview with Mr. Mosese Lavemai, Chief Executive Officer, Ports Authority Tonga and Mr Faiz Khan, Executive Chairman of Airports Fiji Limited .