When I started Goterra, I was searching for an alternative livestock feed. Back then, I had been working on the idea of farming insects as a sideline to my main business, producing and raising poultry.
The idea of raising maggots that could break down organic food waste into protein became a thread that I kept pulling on until I saw an opportunity, right in front of me, to do something about sustainability in a more meaningful way.
I started asking myself, why is it so hard to do this? How can we make it easier and solve multiple problems with the same idea?
Today, the Goterra team has developed a high-tech, world-first solution in the ACT, in which maggots in robot-run automated containers turn food waste into animal feed and fertiliser.
I've always believed that sustainability needs to be business-led, and that every business needs to be sustainability-led. To me, that's what Goterra represents.
Human impact on the environment has become impossible to comfortably and quietly ignore.
It's a big ask for anyone to pretend climate change isn't affecting them when the memory of entire cities blanketed in bushfire smoke is still so fresh.
It's an impossible task when we've seen the impact of COVID-19 on our emissions, and when we've been asked more than ever to think about the wellbeing of every member of our community as we've seen our way through it.
When we can't ignore it anymore, that demand for change becomes shared.
I founded Goterra because I believe in that demand. I believe that consumers want to stake their flag firmly in the territory of every company that can show them how they're taking steps towards stewardship.
Our robot technology, which moves maggots to the feeding station and back every day so that they can eat their way through food waste, creating fertiliser and becoming protein-rich animal feed themselves, is designed to let businesses engage with sustainability in a key part of their chain.
Businesses like McDonald's, who are working with us to demonstrate their own readiness to invest in exactly what consumers want.
If companies aren't willing to start making that investment in a serious way, their rivals will soon recognise that doing so becomes a competitive edge, and they will take advantage of it.
To everyone's benefit.
- Olympia Yarger is the founder of ACT-based waste management company Goterra