Blogs (Media Centre)

Cannon gunning for a career in organics

TAFE NSW National Environment Centre

Cannon gunning for a career in organics

Cannon Vizl aims to use what he's learned at TAFE NSW National Environment Centre to brew up a career in boutique beer.

24 June, 2019

When your career is your passion, you never truly work a day in your life – just ask Cannon Vizl.

Mr Vizl, who is about to graduate with a Diploma of Organic Farming from TAFE NSW National Environment Centre (NEC), has been supporting his studies with a job at local organic olive and lamb producer, Whymah.

Armed with a diploma and industry experience, his ultimate goal is to move to Tasmania and grow organic hops and barley for his own boutique beer.

The father-of-one had an “awakening” to the importance of organics in his early 20s while working in Melbourne, and has embraced the movement with a convert’s zeal.

“I was working in landscaping in upmarket places like Toorak and was shocked at how much water and chemicals they would use on their lawn just to make it look pretty,” Mr Vizl said. “I started to look into food production in Australia and the crazy amount of chemicals they pour into crops just to get the biggest bang for their buck. I feel very strongly that people should know more about where their food comes from and be more in touch with the land.”

He said he was confident there was an emerging market for organic hops and barley in the rapidly growing micro-brewery sector.

“A lot of the big brewers buy their hops from overseas and they’re not as fresh,” Mr Vizl said. “I’d like to start growing organic hops in Tasmania and then introduce organic barley and ultimately, own a microbrewery down there.”

Organic farming is booming in Australia and is worth more than $2.6 billion annually, with the number of certified organic processors increasing by 45 per cent in the last two years. Australia also comprises more than half of the world’s certified organic land.

Mr Vizl said TAFE NSW NEC Head Teacher of Agroecology Rob Fenton, a nationally recognised figure in the organics industry, had helped ignite his passion for organics.

“Rob is one of the smartest blokes I’ve ever met and everything I’ve learned, I’ve learned from him,” Mr Vizl said. “The most important thing he has taught me is that if you get the soil right, you can grow anything.”

Mr Vizl’s employer, Whymah Organic Olives and Lamb owner Mary Done, said she had great success employing TAFE NSW organics students.

"I prefer TAFE NSW students because they have the right knowledge and right prerequisites for the job,” Ms Done said. “It’s such a pleasure to work with someone committed to the farming side of organics, rather than just the eating side.”

To find out more about studying a Diploma of Organic Farming at TAFE NSW NEC for semester two, phone 13 16 01 or visit www.tafensw.edu.au.

Media contact: Daniel Johns, TAFE NSW Media and Communications – Business Partner, 6938 1441, mobile 0477 722 428.