We are pleased to introduce Kristy Banks as our new Queensland State Manager for the Harvest Trail Information Service.
Kristy brings with her a wealth of life experience and has several years of direct involvement with horticulture operations and labour coordination.
A rural upbringing
Growing up in Gisborne in rural Victoria, Kristy got a taste of farm life, even if it was just a hobby block. She got her hands dirty working with horses and raising vegetables, and was a regular visitor on ‘real’ farms run by relatives nearby.
She learned to drive and to hunt rabbits, and picked fruit and veggies from her Nan’s garden. She has fond memories of the whole extended family cooking sauces and making delicious ravioli in the style of her Maltese forebears.
Valuable people management experience
A career in in the city beckoned for Kristy involving people management, training, quality and compliance, working for several multi-national organisations.
After interruptions for four children, now aged between nine and 16, she studied and worked as a nurse. Midwifery studies were under way when the family decided on a tree-change and moved to Queensland – to the Lockyer Valley.
Proving her skills on real farms
Nursing took a back seat when Kristy started working as a QA Supervisor for one of the largest farms in the region, looking after internal auditing and managing Freshcare and HACCP compliance. After two years in that role she took over the farm’s training, looking after their properties from Stanthorpe to Bowen.
The tree-change turned into a sea-change with a move to the Sunshine Coast, which is where MADEC discovered her. When the regional Harvest Trail Service (HTS) was established in the region in 2020, Kristy took on the role of Harvest Manager, based out of Caboolture. For the next twelve months she established the new office, servicing horticulture with both the supply of a rapidly diminishing workforce, and administering the Federal relocation assistance program now known as AgMove. Her background of people management added to specific horticulture experience was the perfect mix for the Harvest Trail program, and she quickly generated excellent relationships with farms in her region.
A new national focus
In June this year the Harvest Trail Information Service (HTIS) stole Kristy away for bigger and better things, looking after the entire State of Queensland under the national contract. She will also cover the Northern Territory and northern Western Australia. Her first working day was at the HTIS display at the Hort Connections conference held in Brisbane. With the number of industry people that greeted her at the event it was clear she had made many friends in the horticulture sector.
Sun, sand, beer and rounding up the kids
Kristy loves the Queensland sun and likes nothing better on a weekend than to relax overlooking the beach with her favourite craft beer, a Glasshouse Brewery Lager. The whole family enjoys training and competing in martial arts, specifically Zen do Kai as their base Karate style and they also undertake Mauy thai, Krav Maga, and Brazilian Jiu Jitzu. They have recently all received their Bushido and Ishoa crosses which apparently is a great honour in Karate.
A love of traditional home cooking inherited from her Maltese grandmother has resulted in an excellent bolognaise as Kristy’s claim to culinary fame. Her garden challenge is micro-farming and permaculture which involves fighting the fruit bats and bugs. She also has three beautiful working Australian Shepherd dogs which are trained to locate and round up the kids! So for anyone involved in the horticulture industry in Queensland, NT or Northern WA, Kristy Banks is now on board to help with information about anything to do with seasonal labour, and to assist resolving the current supply issues.