Celebrating Women in the Australian Mushroom Industry this International Women’s Day


“Our women don’t always fit the traditional mould, but are intuitive, unique and bring their own perspective and drive to our workforce”. Jess Toth, Costa Group WA State Manager.

There are few industries in Australia that owe so much to the contribution of women as agriculture does. At Australian Mushroom Growers Association (AMGA), we are proud to fly the flag for women – on International Women’s Day and every day.  

While only 32 per cent of the Australian agriculture workforce are women*, Costa Group’s WA mushroom farm in Perth’s urban fringe is possibly one of the most women-forward horticultural businesses in Australia, with 76% of its 260 workforce women.

Most levels of the operations at this farm are led by women, including Jessica Toth, WA’s State Manager and Deniz Kansak, HR Manager. Out in the compost yard, women are equally represented, with Elizabeth Byleveld (Liz) supervising compost production at Costa’s Nambeelup yard (the only female yard supervisor in Australia) and women dominating the forklift crew.

These women are examples of a successful grassroots program, demonstrating the endless opportunities within this sector, their trajectory is highlighted below:

  • Elizabeth Byleveld - Liz was hired as a Costa Cadet in 2017 and has worked across four main areas, including phases 1, 2, and 3 compost, pre-production, growing, and harvesting before transitioning full time as Compost Yard Supervisor - a highly specialised and critical role in the mushroom growing facility here in WA. Liz is just one example of women not only entering the industry, but staying, learning, and thriving.
  • Jessica Toth, Costa Group WA State Manager - Jessica herself is a testament to the opportunities available to young women, having grown up in the industry, worked in the growing rooms, and supervised pickers to her current role as State Manager, WA.
  • Deniz Kansak, HR Manager - Deniz began her journey in horticulture as a pre-pack operator before commencing her university degree, moving into a junior HR role during her studies, which led to her promotion and relocation to lead HR for the state.

Both Deniz and Jessica are quick to note the importance of a positive workplace culture for their team and have well and truly ‘sent the ladder back down’ to encourage and foster growth for young women. Both women strive to be collaborative and fair leaders, empowering their junior staff.

“Our goal has always been harnessing the skill set and ambition to bring people up regardless of gender,” Jessica said. “Plus, women are indeed great at multitasking, gentle on the equipment, and willing to give everything a go, qualities that all farms need to be successful.”

As HR manager, Deniz is committed to creating a workplace culture where all this ambition feels possible in reality, not just in theory. “Our goal is to create an inclusive work environment that has no barriers or limits to what is possible,” she said. “We can cast our net wide when recruiting, which is particularly useful in the current environment with major staff shortages impacting the industry. In most cases we know we can accommodate various needs in terms of day and hours worked because we are doing it already,”

As for advice for young women considering a career in the mushroom industry, both agree that the opportunities are endless.  “The industry is unique and will require many skilled workers as the world scrambles to feed more people with less resources,” Jessica said. But it’s not just in the growing room or compost yard. In finance, HR, management, quality, and safety roles, the work is important and rewarding”.

So, as we celebrate International Women’s Day today, let’s be proud of all our wonderful achievements and the contribution women make to Australia, agriculture, and the lives of those around us.



*AgForce, 2022 Report: Aussie Females in Agriculture.


International Women's Day is a day celebrated annually on March 8 as a focal point in the women's rights movement. IWD gives focus to issues such as gender equality, reproductive rights, and violence and abuse against women.

This International Women's Day, 8 March 2023, join UN Women and the United Nations in celebrating under the theme DigitALL: Innovation and technology for gender equality.

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2. Aldi On pack stickers

Partnering with key growers who supply Aldi supermarkets nationwide, 675,000 stickers will be applied to white and brown mushroom punnets, promoting the Scan to Win competition. Last year 2,695 Stickers were scanned via specially marked Aldi mushroom packs, and we are hoping for a greater uptake this year.

3. ‘A Better Choice’ Marketing Partnership

Partnering with A Better Choice we will reach independent grower networks and consumers in a partnership package that includes:

  • In-store activations of 50 Retail Stores Total (NSW, VIC and SA)
    • Activation includes installation and reporting of on-shelf POS items including shelf wobblers, recipe cards, A3 posters.
    • Includes Print and distribution of POS items
  • 2 x Mushroom Retail Store Cooking Events (VIC, SA) – with Celebrity chef Callum Hann
    • A better choice! Sampling Staff Member in attendance
    • Boosting of 3 x Social Media Posts
  • Consumer Magazine Advertising
    • 1 x 5-Page Section in Autumn
  • Trade communications
    • 4 x EDM Features to all A better choice! Retailers
    • 2 x EDM Features in Central Market EDM’s
  • Consumer Communications
    • 8 x Banners Ads in Weekly Consumer EDM
    • 7 x Supporting Recipes in Consumer EDM
  • Social Media & Website
    • Social Media Feature Week
    • 14 x Mushroom Social Media Posts
    • All recipes loaded to ABC Website

 4. Dr. Emma Beckett interview on Australia’s #1 Parenting Podcast

Embracing the podcast phenomenon for busy Aussie parents, Dr Emma Becket, Australian mushroom nutrition scientist from FoodIQ Global, will be interviewed on Australia’s #1 Parenting Podcast Beyond the Bump, to talk about mushrooms important role in children’s nutrition, and how adopting The Blend as a ‘stealth health’ way to reduce meat intake and boost the nutritional value of everyday meaty meals, that kids will LOVE to eat.


5. Influencer Marketing –

Targeting foodies, parents and budget conscious consumers, we have locked in some of Australia’s favourite content creators such as @cookingwithalisha @danroberts and @thefoodarrondissemen – who will be creating content across platforms such as TikTok, Instagram, and Facebook. Our aim for this tactic is mass engagement with mass uptake. We want the combined audiences to feel so inspired by the content that they head over to our Blenditarian website, find a recipe and cook it for their family that day!

Other campaign features include:

  • Updated website www.blenditarian.com.au
  • Competition PR strategy
  • Nutritional PR strategy with AMGA Dietitian Jane Freeman
  • Marketing partnership with ‘A Better Choice’ to reach independent grower networks and consumers
  • A hefty Digital Marketing strategy, including:
    • Social ads
    • Google ads and re-marketing
    • Existing 50,000 Mushroom Lovers and Blenditarian database re-engaged
    • Educational email marketing journey
    • New Blenditarian Recipes

Please keep an eye out for a full campaign update via email and in the Winter edition of the AMGA Journal.