“I’ve always been intrigued by the abundance and variety of fresh produce available year-round, and a family friend who is a passionate horticultural scientist spurred my interest in this sector.”
My name is Anna Drake and I am studying a Bachelor of Food and Agribusiness at the University of Sydney.
I’ve always been intrigued by the abundance and variety of fresh produce available year-round, and a family friend who is a passionate horticultural scientist spurred my interest in this sector. Although I grew up in Sydney, studying food science and agribusiness at university was a natural extension of my interest in biology and economics at school.
Now I’m interested in how research, plant breeding and post-harvest management can lift productivity and address challenges of disease, drought and fierce international competition. This includes crops where flavour, nutrition and adding value can be enhanced through scientific knowledge, and de-commodification can help growers improve returns while also pleasing urban appetites.
The hot dry plains of Narrabri where I spent my summer are a huge contrast to both Sydney and North Yorkshire where my Dad’s family had small dairy farm for several generations. Tariffs and a trend towards increasing international trade barriers mean Australian food producers must maintain an edge by embracing technology, science and logistics to ensure consistently high-quality food reaches our markets.
I’m also interested in the rising importance of plant-based sources of protein and changing attitudes towards plants as food. Improving production outcomes and increasing demand for legume crops have huge potential to enhance farmers’ incomes while contributing to sustainable farming practices to protect the environment, improve soils and generate export income.