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Big Pineapple joins FAN as Platinum Sponsor

The Food and Agribusiness Network (FAN) marked a further milestone in its impressive and expanding membership base with the Big Pineapple joining as a Platinum Sponsor in February. By taking the highest level of sponsorship, the Big Pineapple is further announcing its intention to again become a premiere part of the Sunshine Coast food and agribusiness community.

This milestone follows the lodgement of a whole of site Big Pineapple master plan with the Sunshine Coast Council in 2017, designed to underpin the successful renewal and re-emergence of the Big Pineapple. The Big Pineapple master plan references the agriculture and food based tourism history of the Big Pineapple site and proposes new agribusiness opportunities across the 169ha site.

Big Pineapple renewal project manager Jim Costello explained, “We are delighted to formally join the Food and Agribusiness Network, as we are completely aligned to the vision of the network to advance our region’s world class food production and associated agribusinesses.

FAN Chair, Jacqui Wilson-Smith said, “The addition of the Big Pineapple as a Platinum Sponsor is a highlight for our organisation, and we are thrilled that the owners support our vision for a strong future for the food and agribusiness industry across the Greater Sunshine Coast region.

“In its heyday, the Big Pineapple played a key role in showcasing the importance of agriculture and food production in the region, and the proposed activation of the Big Pineapple as a leading food tourism and events destination will add a compelling value proposition to the region’s food tourism landscape.

Explaining the master planning vision, Mr Costello added, “Through the future implementation of the master plan we can advance repositioning the Big Pineapple as a key destination for food related tourism, which can provide an opportunity for local producers to showcase their wares.

“Food and agricultural production will be highlighted through a proposed Agribusiness Centre and Tourism Business Centre, within a Food and Tourism Hub. The hub, a first for the Sunshine Coast, has potential to bring together a variety of organisations dedicated to the business of food, focusing on food production, processing, distribution and research.

“By facilitating a hub dedicated to expanding the existing local agriculture and food businesses, aligned with universities and the private sector, we can showcase the region’s world class products to national and international markets.”

FAN’s General Manager, Emma Greenhatch added, “A key ingredient to innovation is collaboration, and the proposed food hub presents exciting opportunities to accelerate growth for our food and agribusiness industry and to showcase our capabilities on a global scale.”

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How trade shows can boost your business

Trade shows can play a vital role in connecting businesses, industries and associations. They give the opportunity to place your brand and products directly in front of thousands of potential customers who attend specifically to view, compare, and purchase products or services.

Because trade shows are most commonly industry specific (and people who attend are involved or interested in that industry!), they give the chance for you to communicate face to face with a highly relevant target market.

They are a fantastic way to create brand awareness with an engaged audience, and exhibiting is one of the most cost-effective and proven sales and lead generation tools available today.

“Through the support of FAN and the Sunshine Coast Council we are now moving our vision and production planning from ‘suburb to suburb’ to ‘state to state and country to country’. Our potential reach has exploded within days of returning home from Fine Food and we are confident to go after larger opportunities knowing we have such supportive industry partners and successful businesses around us”. David Andrews, Walter’s Artisan Bread & Granola

We’ve put together our TOP 5 reasons for you to consider exhibiting at Food & Agribusiness Trade Show this year:

  1. SALES! – Attendees (whether trade or consumer) are there to shop, learn and discover and are often ready to invest in good products and services on the spot. You not only have the chance to create a loyal consumer base, but the opportunity to sign new accounts that could be worth a very significant amount to your business.
  2. CONNECT FACE TO FACE – Trade Shows give you the chance to connect one with existing and new customers, and get to understand them on a deeper level. Communication with your relevant target market also gives way to instantaneous feedback and the opportunity for two-way dialogue.
  3. BRING YOUR PRODUCT TO LIFE – Potential customers can see, taste, feel and hear first-hand why your product is so special. You will have the opportunity to provide tastings, demonstrations, and tell the story behind the business which you have put your heart and soul into.
  4. GATHER TARGETED LEADS – Highly targeted and lucrative business leads are generated, resulting in new business and an increased database of prospects.
  5. GET TO KNOW YOUR COMPETITORS – First-hand knowledge of a competitor’s offering is an effective way of keeping in touch with the latest innovations, trends, industry direction and its driving forces.

Across Australia there are many food industry trade shows that offer fantastic opportunities to help grow your business. FAN has connections with a number of these event organisers, including;



Fine Food Australia is the country’s leading trade exhibition for the food service, hospitality and retail industries. This year it will be held in Melbourne from 10-13 September, attracting more than 1,000 exhibitors and 26,000 visitors.

FAN has secured a prime location for 10 lucky businesses in the ‘Flavours of the World’ Australia Pavilion* – See floorplan here (M15 in pink)

To find out more about this exciting initiative & to apply click here

For further information email [email protected] or call 0466 634 465.

*Subject to 10 companies signing up.


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The Garden Shed Nursery & Home Grown Cafe Collaboration – Palmwoods

FAN Members Dave Jarret from Sustainable Soil Solutions and Sarah Wright from Homegrown Café have partnered for the formation of a nursery and coffee shop collaboration in Palmwoods.

Originally operating from Dave’s farm, The Garden Shed Nursery relocated in January to its new home opposite Homegrown Café, and the two businesses now operate within a shared garden known to locals as “The Lane”.

If you are after a freshly prepared seasonal meal with produce from local farmers, and in house roasted coffee this is the place to go. After you finish your meal, wander across the lane and pick up your organically grown vegetable seedlings & herbs, subtropical fruit trees, plant health products and get advice from experts on soil testing and amendment products.

The shared space also offers meeting facilities for groups, a large outdoor entertaining area for catered parties, long lunches, and Sunday sessions with flowing craft beer and live music.

Fostering a sense of community and championing the story of provenance, a major focus for Sarah and Dave was to promote and collaborate with as many FAN members as possible, including;

  • Walters Bakery
  • Maleny Dairies
  • Kenilworth Cheese
  • Sunshine Brewery
  • Good Harvest Organic Farm
  • Nutri-Tech Solutions
  • Maleny Cheese
  • Frozen Sunshine
  • The Greenshed

 “For Sarah and I it’s all about local. FAN is a great vehicle to drive and enhance the relationships between businesses, which will in turn strengthen our community and economy”, says Dave.

The Grand Opening for The Garden Shed Nursery is this Saturday 24th February.

Dave and Sarah hope to see you there for a coffee and meal, fruit trees, seedlings and advise for your garden, (or all of the above!)

“The Lane” is located, 4-6 Little Main Street, Palmwoods.

They also welcome any other members to get in contact if they are interested in supplying product for Homegrown Café or The Garden Shed Nursery.

Sarah 0458 270 368 – Homegrown Cafe

Dave 0401 541 962 – The Garden Shed Nursery

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Grow Coastal food accelerator announces 2018 cohort

Some of the most innovative food and beverage brands on the Sunshine Coast with high growth potential have been selected for the 2018 Grow Coastal program to help commercialise new products and scale their businesses.

Now in its 2nd year, the Grow Coastal program offers emerging businesses support with connections, expertise, seed capital and mentoring, and are helping to inspire and transform the local food industry.

After extensive interest in the program, 20 businesses were shortlisted based on innovation, product viability, growth potential and entrepreneurial tenacity.  Competing for just 12 final places, applicants participated in a one day bootcamp and product showcasing event on 30 January 2018.

A big congratulations to the following businesses who have been chosen for entry into the 2018 Grow Coastal Accelerator Program:

  • Barenuts – Totally bare, award-winning gourmet macadamia nuts and treats
  • Black Lemonade – Unique vegan and gluten free decadent chocolate cookies
  • Boneafide Broth Co – Organic chicken bone broth bombs and healthy savoury chips
  • Embassy XO – Steamed duck buns to die for
  • Good Harvest Organic Farm – totally local, organic, healthy fruit and vegie farm boxes
  • Hive Haven – Native Honey (Sugarbag stingless honey)
  • KOKOPOD Chocolate – Award winning premium handcrafted chocolate
  • LuvaBerry – Freeze dried strawberries made from the freshest sunshine coast produce
  • Mighty Bean – Certified Organic soy tempeh tasty treats
  • Sunshine Coast Cider – Traditionally crafted cider made with 100% apple juice & no additives
  • The Whole Food Artisan – Handcrafted artisan granola made with whole food ingredients
  • Ugly Duck Preserves – Gourmet preserves made with imperfect or surplus local produce that would otherwise go to waste

With funding from Advance Queensland, 12 businesses will access over $10,000 in value via the catalytic 12 week accelerator program, designed specifically for producers looking to scale fast, bring their vision to life and deliver new food and beverage innovations to the world.

Innovation Centre CEO Mark Paddenburg said “The Sunshine Coast has a strong reputation for quality food and I am excited to see that the 12 selected companies (and their teams) have big hearts and big plans to disrupt and inspire the Australian food industry”.

“Recent feedback from the 2017 cohort shows that the Grow Coastal Program has made a difference with a total of 17 new staff employed, a 130% increase in customer numbers, an 85% increase in revenue with two companies more than doubling their revenue over the last 12 months” he said.

 2017 Grow Coastal graduate – Lauren Brisbane, Founder of QCamel said “my team has really benefited from the Grow Coastal Program and I’m now a more confident entrepreneur – it’s really helped to catapult our business to the next level.”

The 2018 Grow Coastal participants will learn from industry experts and mentors covering topics like: lean startup, market research, customer engagement, business planning, financial management, public relations and marketing, legal and intellectual property, distribution and fulfilment, exporting, pitching and securing early stage capital.

The program is also fuelling a collaborative regional ecosystem of foodpreneurs – cultivating progressive business growth, exports and high value employment on the Sunshine Coast. The program designed by the Innovation Centre Sunshine Coast will be delivered with the Food & Agribusiness Network (FAN), commencing in April.

To welcome the 12 successful participants, the Innovation Centre Sunshine Coast, FAN, and TAFE East Coast are hosting a Celebration Dinner on Wednesday 28th February at Cartwrights Restaurant & Bar.


Date: Wednesday 28th February

Time: 5pm – 9pm

Where: Cartwrights Restaurant & Bar, TAFE Queensland, 34 Lady Musgrave Road, Mountain Creek

Ticket Includes: 7 Course Degustation Dinner featuring local produce from FAN Members, wine, beer & soft drink