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Certification, Crowdfunding and Meaningful Conversations; 2021 in Review

25 January, 2022 5 min read

It’s the beginning of 2022 and as always, we like to reflect on how the last 12 months were for us. So see below the highlights of 2021 for Aggie.

First up, thank you so much for making 2021 another huge year for Aggie Global. Without everyone’s support we wouldn’t have been able to double our farmer network or quadruple the number of people Aggie was able to impact through the last 12 months. So a huge thank you and didjurigura to you!

In Australia, we had another year of growth and many more Gift Boxes.

In February, Aggie created a new Valentine’s Day themed gift box which highlights and supports the work of a small florist in Wollongong with her dried ‘forever’ flower posies.

Following this, a big win for Aggie in March was being able to donate 10% of all Australian sales to NSW Farmers Natural Disaster Relief Fund, to assist producers who were affected by the widespread flooding in NSW.

In April, we were lucky enough to onboard 2 interns for various work experiences in design and marketing. It was lovely giving these interns experience and having them work alongside our Aggie team, and they helped Lisa and Zoe focus on higher level tasks.

In May, Aggie was interviewed by Rodger from the Farm to Table Talk Podcast, where we talked about bushfoods and our social impact in both Australia and Fiji. We love doing these podcasts and sharing our experiences with new audiences, to get people thinking about things that are a little outside of their normal way of life. With this in mind, we followed May with another podcast, theThriving Farmer Podcast, where we discussed our Crowdfunding Campaign in Fiji.

During this time, we connected with Natasha and Mary from Kimberley Jiyigas (birds), which gave us great insights into how we can better support, connect and respect Community and Country. Connecting with these women is hugely rewarding for us at Aggie to ensure what we do is for the best of Indigenous People in Australia and isn’t simply causing more harm than good.

To celebrate NAIDOC week in July 2020, we released 3 gift boxes containingproducts only supplied by Indigenous producers. This put us in contact withBush Medijina, which is an incredible and lovely group of women creating wild harvestbeauty products whilst helping women escape and deal with some very difficult situations. Their work is something we are very passionate about, and is empowering these women in a way that allows them to reconnect to their culture and Country.

During NAIDOC we also tried to educate non-Indigenous Australians about Indigenous culture and traditions, to raise awareness about Indigenous businesses and ethically sourced bushfoods is crucial to working with Country to sustainably growing the First Nation’s (bush) food industry. IT’s something we know we can improve on and hope to do more so throughout 2022.

Locally, Lisa and Zoe were featured in 2 Community papers,The Dooral Roundup and the Galston Community News magazine. These articles mostly talked about our Crowdfunding Campaign and work in Fiji, to highlight the impacts of COVID on Fijians during 2021. 

September was a huge month for Aggie. We rebranded to Aggie Gifts in Australia, to have our lovely new logo, branding colours, website, photography etc. We really love our new branding and website, which was supported by the work from Harvey Marketing, who is a lovely family run business in Melbourne, who also have a Cavoodle, like our ‘lil Ollie (our team mascot who featured in many instagram stories throughout 2021).

At the same time, we began planning our Christmas campaign and locking in what these boxes would look like, to reach out to corporate buyers.

When we reached out toGulbarnabout buying their tea for our boxes, we were told due to COVID they hadn’t been able to get on Country to harvest the leaves, and make their tea. So unfortunately, we weren’t able to support Gulbarn this year like we did in 2020, but we will be keeping an eye out for when they’re restocked as their tea is amazing (it literally tastes like the Aussie bush!).

Another big win for Aggie in September, was gettingSocial Traders Certified to validate our impact, and potentially work with government bodies for social procurement of gifts. Social Traders Certification had been a year in the making, due to being pulled in so many directions, so finally getting this was both a relief and big accomplishment for us. Next up will be B Corp Certification!

In October, Lisa and Zoe did 2 panel discussions, both Sydney Universities Technology for Good Panel and Australian Women in Agriculture Association (AWIAA) panel discussing International Agricultural Development. Both events were amazing, especially to give back to university students and inspire them to think outside the box for their career development. We also followed these with a Panel Discussion hosted by the Crawford Fund and RAID, where we met some other great Agricultural Scientists working in Papua New Guinea and other Pacific Islands, all having some incredible impact overseas.

We also attended a digital networking event with The Social Enterprise Council of NSW/ACT (SECNA) pitch night, where we met like minded founders and government members interested in social procurement. Here we came across Kylie from Green Connect, who we keep bumping into (she also won theSecretary General’s Commonwealth Innovation Award for Sustainable Development inPlanet for the Pacific in September 2021).

Coming into December, we didn’t slow down. We attended 3 Christmas markets to sell our gift boxes over 3 consecutive weekends, with the last market being held at Birkenhead Shopping Centre Friday to Sunday, 10am-6pm. 

An exciting insight into our Christmas campaign is that our All Indigenous Boxes were the most popular amongst buyers. To us, this highlights how much people do want to support Indigenous suppliers within the Bushfood Industry and make positive social change which is awesome.

Throughout the year, Zoe continued to onboard more suppliers, focusing on Indigenous suppliers creating unique bushfood products. By the end of the year, Aggie Gifts was working with20 suppliers, 7 of which identify as Indigenous. Of these 20 businesses, our Indigenous suppliers provided 55% of our Christmas products, which was over double the Indigneous contribution to the same campaign in 2020. So this growth in the space we wish to create impact in is awesome! There is definitely still some room to grow here, but we do think we are heading in the right direction.

Overall, 2021 was another full on year, with this summary only highlighting what we achieved in Australia! As an indication  of our work in both Australia and Fiji here is a quick summary:

  • Aggie doubled its farmer network from 98 to 220, with Australian Indigenous representation increasing from 16% to 36.8%.
  • We delivered a total of 80 food boxes to families in need in Fiji, including literally feeding an entire village. Of these recipients, 54% didn’t have an income due to Covid-19, whilst 14% of these families had a disadvantaged or disabled family member.
  • We also had 78 farmers attend our workshops in Fiji.
  • With all of our work combined, we have impacted approximately 1,400 people throughout the year, which is insane!

Although our work can be hard, seeing the impact and scope of our work makes it worthwhile.

Fiji, with 3 times the number of employees, had many more wins and updates as hinted to above. To read Aggie Fiji’s updates, check it out here:Lockdowns, Community Impact and New Industries; 2021 in Review

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