Hungry for change

10 April 2017
Helping feed those most in need

From remote Aboriginal communities to the slums of India, Anstice MBA Scholarship for Community Leadership recipient Kelly McJannett is leading an initiative to end world hunger. 

Kelly McJannett is the driving force behind a social enterprise working to address food security and malnutrition in some of the world’s most disadvantaged communities.

As the co-founder and chief executive of Food Ladder, Kelly is establishing the latest hydroponic greenhouse systems to allow communities to grow vegetables in some of the world’s least fertile and most challenging environments.

Kelly McJannett in India

Kelly McJannett in West Delhi, where her work is transfroming communities. (Image credit: Matthew Abbott)


In one such feat Kelly has implemented her Food Ladder systems on the rooftops of impoverished schools in India, impacting more than 4000 children. 

“The Food Ladder hydroponic system gives us the ability to grow food anywhere in the world,” says Kelly.

“When you consider one in 10 people out of the current global population of 7.4 billion already goes hungry, and there will be a further 2.3 million more mouths to feed by 2050, we have a huge amount of work to do.” 

Ensuring each of the social enterprises it creates is sustainable, the organisation engages local people in jobs and educates the younger generation about nutrition. In recognition of her game-changing work, the Australian Financial Review named Kelly among its 100 Women of Influence in 2016.

Food Ladder in the Northern Territory and India

Left: On school rooftops in India, Food Ladder is providing nutrient-rich produce to support brain development in children.

Right: Food ladder is generating primary industry, employment and local food to address health and economic development in remote Indigenous communities, including this one in Ramingining, Northern Territory.


The Anstice MBA Scholarship for Community Leadership is inspiring Kelly to achieve even more. 

“The scholarship has been life changing,” Kelly says. “The acknowledgement has been a huge validation of my work and has given me a vote of confidence to drive forward as an entrepreneur in an extremely challenging sector. I hope this endorsement from the University of Sydney encourages more people to adopt the innovative model of social enterprise for meaningful change.” 

It hasn’t taken Kelly long to pay it forward. Off the back of this scholarship, Food Ladder has established the inaugural MBA Scholarship for Indigenous Leaders at the University of Sydney. They’re searching for an aspiring leader in a bid to support Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people to reach leadership positions and drive policy on issues affecting them.

The Indigenous Leadership Scholarship applications are now open. Applications close Sunday 4 February. Apply now.

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