Working at the forefront of high-tech food production while also being able to enjoy the benefits of a regional lifestyle has proved to be the ideal combination for Tal Kanety.
Tal, originally from Israel, moved to the Armidale region in 2011 after he and his wife decided to settle in Australia, after many years of travelling between the two countries.
“I met my wife travelling and she is Australian, from the Blue Mountains. We lived in London, Europe and spent almost 10 years going back and forth between Israel and Australia,” Tal said.
“When we came to Australia we planned to travel around and find somewhere to live, but by that time we had our second child on the way, I was fortunate enough to get the job with Costa in Guyra.”
Now with three children, Tal said he felt extremely lucky to live in Armidale, which offered a great natural environment and plenty of opportunities for his family.
“At first we came here for the job, but now we really want to stick around.
“With the university in Armidale, it is a very multicultural community and there are such great opportunities for education, sports and music for the family as a whole.
“It’s a really nice balance with a great combination of opportunities and an easy going lifestyle.”
Tal grew up in the city, but gained a love of agriculture during his compulsory military service in Israel, which included working in rural communities.
“I started working in irrigation and I loved it and stayed on after I left the army. After travelling for almost three years I realised I loved agriculture and realised to make a career I needed to do it properly. I wanted a line of work which combined the outdoors with practical scientific and intellectual challenges.”
He completed a Bachelor’s degree in agronomy specialising in soil and water science and then a Master in Environmental Science and Natural Resource Management, with his thesis focusing on advanced irrigation techniques.
“Where I was working in Israel it was based on traditional open fields horticulture, but here in Guyra it is at the very high-tech end of agriculture. This is really the future for the sustainable and efficient production of food,” he said.
Tal is one of the head growers for Costa’s operations in Guyra, and he described the facilities at the glasshouses as good as anywhere in Australia and internationally.
“The technology we are using for water and energy is really exciting,” he said.
“I love the aspect of physically growing something, watching it from seed all the way through to the end product and getting feedback from our consumers about the tomatoes.
“To top it off, the combination of a highly professional and diverse multicultural team of managers and staff has been a key attraction and source of pride and joy.
“Folks think we just grow tomatoes here but, in reality, the tomatoes are just the excuse – we actually grow 600 families, supporting their livelihood, education and future prospects.
“I don’t think I could ever get sick of it.”