FIMBY is the brainchild of Juliet Chapman and Christina Giudici, two great friends who love pottering in our own gardens with the sun on our backs.
During 2007 and 2008 we mused and wondered and dreamed and chatted about ways to earn a living from sharing the delight and satisfaction of creating and working in a suburban back yard vegie patch. In early 2008 we began to talk about creating a small business, and got excited and energised by the idea. Christina fizzed madly with ideas and churned out lots of spreadsheets and ideas for brochures and software, and Juliet stayed grounded and encouraging and came up with the fantastic business name FIMBY - Food In My Back Yard.
In August 2008 we began working with three sets of friends to set up new gardens and test out some ideas about how we might work with people. So FIMBY's 'birth' date, although hard to pinpoint, is somewhere around 8th August 2008, or 08-08-08 (very auspicious!).
The pilot gardens went well, and by early 2009 we had a website, brochures, and some clearer ideas about services and costs. The train was moving, and gathering speed! Since then its been a matter of hanging on, and saying 'yes'.
During 2010 and 2011 FIMBY had over 150 customers in southern Tasmania, and we both worked full time on and in the business, and had a team of casual and contract workers and volunteers to help us keep up with the ever growing demand for our services.
Since then FIMBY has had some busy times and some quieter times, as the team turned their attention to other things (Juliet to her grandchildren, and Christina to a wind farm development in NE Tasmania). Now Christina works part time on and in the business with contract workers, and enjoys keeping in touch with the "original" FIMBY clients and friends, as well as meeting and working with new people ongoingly.
My family moved to Tasmania 51 years ago and yes I was already walking and talking!
I have lived in Tasmania all my life, mostly in the southern suburbs of Hobart. I have also been gardening all my life, first following my Gran and Dad around, then creating my own gardens. I don't consider myself to have a green thumb but I am excellent at weeding, compost making and worm farming and usually manage to grow the things I want along the way. I started out as a teacher, then later completed a Master of Environmental Studies degree, which led me to work mainly with community and school environmental education programs. I have volunteered and undertaken paid work in Waterwatch, Coastcare and Bushcare and continue to be involved in that sector.
I am passionate about finding ways of living more gently in our world. Working with my great friend and business partner Christina encouraging and guiding people to grow yummy food in their own garden and teaching ways to give back to the earth seems like a joyous and enriching path to follow. The bonus, since I like to practice what I preach, is that I get a great vege garden as well!
Christina wanted to be an entomologist when she was about 8 years old (and a ballerina, but that didn't last). A tragic experiment-gone-wrong with coloured paint, coloured cards, sugar water and bees only strengthened her resolve to explore the natural sciences. On uni enrolment day she discovered that entomology was a subject in an Agricultural Science degree at Tas Uni. So she proceeded with an Ag science degree, and studied bees in her honours thesis.
Then she got a job as a soil education officer with the Tasmanian Ag department. After a happy year or so exploring Tasmania while conducting Whole Farm Planning courses with farmer groups around the state, she headed off to Cambodia to work in an agricultural extension training program there (this despite never having seen a rice plant growing).
After a very formative year and a half, she returned to Tas and found work with the newly established Environmental team at Hydro Tasmania. Initally working on land remediation programs, Christina was fortunate to be in on the ground floor of a fast growing team with ever broadening reach within the business. Many rich and rewarding years followed, with consulting stints in Laos, Cambodia (again), the Philippines and Papua New Guinea.
Finally, after an extended stay in Melbourne to establish the consulting office there, Christina took leave from Hydro Tasmania and started planting trees and vegies at home. She then spent several years providing environmental management consulting services to a range of Australian energy businesses. This consulting work has wound up and down in balance with FIMBY's growth, surges and lulls.
For Christina, FIMBY is a constant source of inspiration, energy, delight and satisfaction. She loves the idea of changing the world one garden at a time, where the politics of each customer is irrelevant, and empowerment is more important than the size of your pumpkin.