Salisbury Farm-to-Door Innovator Food Connect Enters Voluntary Liquidation, Leaves Enduring Legacy

Food Connect

Pioneering farm-to-door company Food Connect has announced its voluntary liquidation, a decision made by fourth-generation dairy farmer Robert Pekin, who established the business after losing his farm. 

Founded in 2005 by Robert Pekin and his wife Emma-Kate Rose, Food Connect aimed to create a fairer food system for farmers and buyers by reconnecting consumers with local producers who farmed sustainably. Over the years, the company has worked with more than 120 farmers and producers.

In 2018, the couple launched a crowdfunding campaign to raise $4 million in order to purchase the warehouse they had been renting for a decade on Textile Cres in Salisbury. The campaign received support from Australian gardening guru Costa Georgiadis, and the funds were successfully raised within 30 days. 

The warehouse, known as Food Connect Shed, became a central hub for the company’s operations.

However, declining customer orders and the increasing costs faced by farmers forced Mr. Pekin to start winding down the business in early 2023. Despite the challenges, he prioritised ensuring that all farmers and producers were paid before filing for voluntary liquidation. 

Food Connect Shed Limited, the public unlisted company responsible for operating the warehouse, is not affected by the liquidation and continues to operate as normal, along with its tenants.

Food Connect
Photo Credit: Google Maps

Food Connect Shed has become an essential space for various initiatives and organisations. It currently houses OzHarvest, Australia’s largest food rescue organisation, which diverts food that would otherwise go to waste to charities that support those in need. 

The warehouse also features for-rent commercial kitchens, hosts local bands, and eco-friendly community events, and supports micro-enterprises with a community or green focus. As Brisbane’s first community-owned food hub, it has provided a stable market for local growers.

Whilst the voluntary liquidation of Food Connect Pty Ltd marks the end of an era for Robert Pekin and Emma-Kate Rose’s pioneering venture, the impact and legacy of their farm-to-door business and community-driven initiatives, as exemplified by Food Connect Shed, will continue to thrive.

Published 28-June-2023