Published On: 7 March 2024Categories: Stories

A family farm started to provide work for the long term unemployed in the North-West has also been feeding vulnerable Tasmanians in record numbers.

Johann and Mariette Joubert’s Lillico farm, New Life Industries, has donated 91,000kg of capsicums and cucumbers since 2019 to Loaves and Fishes Tasmania. Other charitable organisations including Devonport Community House and the Burnie Food Hub have also benefited from Joubert’s generosity.

“We were ministering full time at Ulverstone Christian Reformed Church in 2000 when we started what we thought was a hobby farm,” Mariette said.

“My husband, who is a psychologist as well as a minister, saw the results of the economic downturn in the late 1990s with several industries closing, leaving people depressed and suicidal,” she said.

“About 17 years ago, the business received a $200,000 Federal Government grant to assist with upskilling our long term unemployed workers. The families who started the farm have invested roughly $12 million of which over a third is still owed in a bank loan.”

The farm began as a partnership with friends and fellow ministers, Ron and Frances Van Leerdam, and has provided work for hundreds of people in the past two decades. New Life Industries is the largest Tasmanian Capsicum growers, with 30 000 square metres of growing area.

These days, the farm employs up to 20 people including Johann, Mariette and three of their four children.


“We are so thankful to be able to donate so much of our produce to Loaves and Fishes and know it’s going to those most in need as either fresh produce or in ready-to-eat meals,” Mariette said.

“There is such an enormous amount of waste in agriculture which breaks our heart.”

New Life Industries sells its produce to various Tasmanian outlets including Woolworths, IGA, Young’s Vegie Shed, Island Fresh, and Fresh Cut which supplies the hotel industry.

New Life Industries is one of 70 farms and producers donating around 1 million kilograms of food annually to Loaves and Fishes.

Loaves and Fishes general manager, Aaron Kropf, said the organisation was thankful for the generosity of its many suppliers who were nourishing the State while sparing good food from landfill.

“Each year we receive the equivalent of $3 million worth of food in donations,” he said.

“In turn, this feeds up to 16,000 people a week or 832,000 people each year.”

By Paul O’Rourke

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