Introducing the new AMGA RD&E Manager

AMGA Members Update

Anthony Leddin

The AMGA are thrilled to announce a significant addition to our team, as we warmly welcome Anthony Leddin as our new AMGA Research, Development and Extension Manager.

Based in Yambuk in Victoria’s South-West, Anthony grew up on a dairy farm, later dedicating his 20+ year career to RD&E in plant breeding. His impressive background in innovation and proven track record of success, Anthony is well positioned to lead our industry R,D&E initiatives into an exciting new era.

After a year in the investment pipeline, months of recruitment and over 100 candidate applications, Anthony was co-appointed by Hort Innovation and the AMGA. Anthony is employed by the AMGA in a fulltime, 3-year contract position, to facilitate two roles in support of the Australian Mushroom industry:

1. Research Development and Extension Coordinator: 3-days a week (0.6FTE)
Funded by the Hort Innovation Mushroom Fund, Anthony’s role is to assist in optimising the performance of the Hort Innovation Mushroom RDE investment program by supporting Hort Innovations delivery of programs to industry.

In line with the Mushroom Strategic Investment Plan, Anthony will ensure the Mushroom RD&E program is well coordinated, responds to industry needs and delivers on expectations. He will be focused on interacting with growers and researchers and liaising with the Hort Innovation RD&E team, to influence the impact of mushroom RD&E levy funded programs.

Anthony will work closely with our Hort Innovation Industry Service & Delivery Manager (ISDM) Dumisani Mhlanga, to facilitate the new Mushroom Industry Advisory Mechanism, including the two-day Ideation workshop, and (except where a conflict of interest is present), will sit on the RD&E Strategic Investment Advisory Panel (SIAP) in an observer capacity, and will concierge Hort Innovation Mushroom Fund RD&E investments from ideation, to investment recommendation, through the Request for Proposal (RFP) stage to tender evaluation, be a part of Project Reference Groups (PRG) to oversee the execution phase, and finally, project evaluation)

2. AMGA Research and Development Project Manager: 2-days a week (0.4 FTE)
Funded by the AMGA, Anthony will manage and deliver all RD&E projects facilitated by the AMGA and apply for future project funding. Anthony will also support other initiatives of the AMGA.

Reporting to Leah Bramich, AMGA General Manager, Anthony will be the first point of contact for Hort Innovation, Growers, Researchers, and Industry Stakeholders.

Anthony started on 12 March 2024 and will allocate his first few weeks connecting with Hort Innovation, and spending time with growers, to get to know the industry. We encourage you to reach out to Anthony directly to welcome him to the industry, and to help him get up to speed. Anthony will report to AMGA Members via an article in each edition of the AMGA Journal.

CONTACT: Anthony Leddin
AMGA Research, Development and Extension Manager
M: 0408 333 046

Introducing Anthony Leddin, AMGA R&D Manager:

Anthony Leddin grew up on a dairy farm in Yambuk in the southwest of Victoria, and in his tertiary years, attended Melbourne University to complete a Bachelor of Agriculture Science and went on to complete a Master of Science at La Trobe University.
Anthony has a passion for research and began his working career as an agronomist consulting to farmers. This gave him the understanding of how to work with farmers to help solve the problems they were experiencing on their farms.

For the past 20 years, Anthony has been facilitating private company research with different companies ranging from broadacre farming to horticulture. The last 16 of which spent in research management, involving many years of project writing, funding proposals, delivering efficient programs within budget, and interacting with many industry bodies.

Anthony was actively seeking a role to have more of a holistic industry impact, and hopes that his experience from other industries can be used to bring some new ideas into the Australian mushroom industry.

His previous role as Research, Development and Extension with Ausallium seeds saw him being one of the only two microgreen breeders in the world. Microgreens have many parallels with mushrooms, having a lot of potential in a market where growing produce with the least impact to the environment is at the forefront of consumers’ minds.

Anthony’s passion for helping farmers isn’t restricted within our Australian boarders. Anthony is the founder of the non-profit organisation Plant Breeders Without Borders, an organisation which helps train smallholder farmers in developing countries understand how to breed their own varieties of underutilised crops. These are crops which have received minimal research and development, and once such varieties are developed, will be owned by the farmers to help improve their farm sustainability and future livelihoods.

Anthony is looking forward to starting his role with the Australian mushroom industry, working with both Hort Innovation, the AMGA and growers. He intends to visit as many mushroom growers as possible and ‘kick some compost,’ so that together solutions to industry challenges can be found through robust research, development and extension activities, to maximise the return of the mushroom industry RD&E investments. 

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
  • 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.