Board Member Profile | Polly McGee VP


Produce to the People Inc is supported by a fabulous Board, including the amazing Dr Polly McGee.

Please tell us who you are

I’m a jack of all trades, one part author, and many parts assorted thinker, do-er, teacher, self-explorer, yogi, kirtaneer and dog patter. I’ve worked in kitchens, bars and restaurants from frantic to fancy, managed multi-million dollar innovation grants programs, advised hundreds of start-ups on how to refine their business ideas and source funding, taught commercialisation and entrepreneurship for MBA and undergrads, and championed causes from a variety of soapboxes, lecterns and stages. I’m co-founder and Vice President of Startup Tasmania and run a boutique digital strategy consultancy advising Government, Not for Profit and private sector clients. My novel Dogs of India has been out since December 2015 and am currently writing my new book and retreat program called Bhakti Business, due for release in March 2017, devoted to helping people to create heart centred enterprises through combining the ancient principals of yoga with contemporary lean startup practices.

What role do you fill on the PttP board and what strengths do you bring to that position?

I’m the Veep, and it’s one of my favorite board roles. I offer support to the President, step in when she isn’t available, sing the goodness of the organization to the rooftops, support our awesome Founder in her endless quest for funding and security. I bring a fair amount of experience on boards to this role, and understand the issues of governance that we are all responsible for. As PttP is largely funded through small contributions which leads invariably to concerns about ongoing operations, part of my role is to be able to move in an agile way from working in a governance role to an operational mindset. My commercial business background, work with social entrepreneurs and strengths in product development and ideation all come into their own here.

How does being a part of PttP enrich your life?

I choose very carefully the organisations I work on volunteer boards for as time is limited and I want to make sure that the ones I work for I wholly give myself to. I love the PttP ethos and philosophy, as a bhakti yogi the giving of food and love and all that entails in terms of helping people are core to my values, so that enriches my life a lot. In a wealthy State like Tasmania, it is inconceivable that the volume of people in the NW alone are seeking food support, and making any contribution to allying that situation is meaningful work.

What is your favourite vegetable and why?

Oh, the hardest question of all. I feel I want to do this by seasons so I can fit a few in. There is definitely not a single desert island vegetable, but for its diversity alone, I’ll go with cauliflower.

Recipe share – the one thing you cook over and over again?

My absolute go to comfort food is soft polenta. I love it and can (and do) eat it endlessly, for breakfast, lunch and dinner. Particularly in winter. Its quick, simple, rib sticking and so tasty. This will serve 4, or one, depending on how much you love polenta and who is watching how much you can smash into your polenta hole.

1 cup quick cooking polenta

3 cups vegetable stock

big lump of local butter

grated parmesan cheese volume based on how much you love it

1 bag spinach leaves

salt and pepper.

Boil stock, slowly pour in polenta and whisk until it is combined, and begins to bubble like lava. Being careful of lava splashes, stir regularly and turn down and put a lid on it. Chop spinach and stir through, until wilted, throw in a lump of butter, stir though, the consistency should be of a thick soft porridge. Stir through some parmesan, serve in deep bowls with more parmesan, close your eyes and thank your personal deity for having nutritious food so readily available.

If money was no object, what would be your PttP dream?

I would like the organization to have secure ongoing funding. I would like several staff members to grow significant amounts of fresh food, staff to train people in growing food, staff to train in value adding and cooking and preservation. I would have a fully functioning kitchen on site at the farm to train in, and a fully loaded food truck as a mobile training kitchen to go out into remote areas and deliver services. I would have a significant delivery service for elders and those in our community that are unable to make it to the hub, with weekly deliveries of veges, fruit and staples. PttP as a concept is only limited by revenue. With funding security, value added products can quickly bring additional revenue and be invested back into the organization. More locals fed, more locals employed, more dignity, more respect, better heath and everyone wins.

You can find out more about our VP here 

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