Future of Farming Photo Gallery

July 30, 2018

Local Foodpreneurs Graduate from 2018 GrowCoastal

July 30, 2018
On July 17th, twelve of the Sunshine Coast’s most innovative local foodprenuers showcased their products and learnings at the conclusion of the 2018 GrowCoastal program Demo Day. Now in its’ second year, GrowCoastal is the Sunshine Coast’s first food accelerator, a partnership between the Innovation Centre Sunshine Coast and Food & Agribusiness Network, sponsored by Advance Queensland.
“It was our biggest Demo Day ever,” said Mark Paddenburg Innovation Centre Sunshine Coast CEO. “The Sunshine Coast region has a well earnt reputation for quality food. We have a huge variety of small, medium and large producers with innovation built into their DNA. This region is highly competitive on the world stage and we have been privileged to play a part in the transformation of our GrowCoastal graduates.”
“Demo day is much more than a graduation celebration, it’s a celebration of innovation, talent, great products, collaboration and the acquisition of new skills used to grow — what a powerful mix,” said GrowCoastal Program Manager, Jacqui Price. “Demo Day is also about shining a light on our 2018 graduates and their passion to bring local, quality products to their customers.”
According to Mark Paddenburg, the two-year program has achieved much success during both 2017 and 2018. Some aggregated metrics for the 2017 cohort over the last year include 17 new staff employed, 273% increase in customer numbers and a 140% increase in revenue. Aggregated metrics for 2018 cohort over last four months includes seven new staff employed, 34% increase in customer numbers and a 23% increase in revenue.
The GrowCoastal program is a proven economic driver for the Sunshine Coast region and our local food entrepreneurs.
Applications for GrowCoastal 2019 are now open for the next intake. To apply, please visit: https://bit.ly/2hADv7y
The 2018 GrowCoastal program graduates are:

Social Media Benefits for Farmers – by Sophie Hansen of My Open Kitchen

June 28, 2018

At our June Networking event we heard from deer farmer and social media expert Sophie Hansen from My Open Kitchen. She engaged the audience and showed how farmers can embrace social media to tell their story, the art of the #felfie, and how they can create an open dialogue to build trust in online communities.

Just in case you missed it on the night ‘#felfie’ is a farmer selfie, a photo of a farmer, by a farmer, shared on social media, and there are currently over 50,000 felfies on Instagram alone!

We wanted to share some are some of the key benefits of social media and take aways presented by Sophie at the event:

  • Social Media is not all about creating new business opportunities for us farmers. Just as important are the social and mental health benefits; farming is a lonely business, sometimes farmers can work for 8-10 hours without having a conversation with anyone. But what if you had a community in your pocket? A tribe of followers, peers and supporters who are only ever a message away. It’s not about ego – it’s about supporting each other.

What happens when we have connected, engaged farmers using social media strategically and confidently?

  • They are better able to grow their businesses; connect with new customers, suppliers, peers and media.
  • They will be more connected, open to new ideas and technologies and kept more up to date with research, ideas and relevant news as they break.
  • They will receive daily endorsement for what they do and encouragement to keep doing it.
  • They will collectively inspire hundreds of thousands of people to seek their produce out, cook and share it with joy and care.

Sophie poses that social media isn’t the answer to all our problems BUT it is an affordable, achievable and powerful way to connect, increase transparency, trust and support. She finished her presentation with a powerful quote by Simon Sinek, leadership expert and the man behind ‘the concept of why’ and the second most watched TED talk of all time ‘people don’t buy what you do, they buy why you do it”.

2018 Grow Coastal Wrap & Demo Day

June 28, 2018

Demo Day Graduation event: 10am – 1pm, Tuesday 17th July at the Innovation Centre.

Words by Grow Coastal Program Manager – Jacqui Price.

It’s hard to believe that the GrowCoastal program is nearly over for another year. It’s been so much fun and a lot of hard work. The 2018 cohort of twelve companies have forged a strong bond as they’ve worked through the last eleven weeks of coaching and workshops covering pitching, legals & business structure, customer centric design thinking, brand narrative, social media, essentifrom als for food packaging, understanding different personalities and much more. They’ve supported each other with the display and sampling of their products at a variety of events including a visit from the global TCI Cluster Conference attendees, the TEQ Conversations with Industry Forum, a visit from the John Dillon Foundation SE Asian members, the Heather Mackenzie event at the Innovation Centre, and the FAN Networking event at the Big Pineapple.

Hear what some of our participants had to say about the program:

“The GrowCoastal program has given us a great focal point and shown us how we can transform and change. After our ten years of hard work, we’re taking it to the next level and turning it into something far bigger than it is now,” Nick Grivas, The Wholefood Artisan

“The GrowCoastal program is a great platform for scaling-up our business in a collaborative way – it’s been absolutely fantastic so far. The network of people we’ve met has been amazing and this is just the start of the program so I’m really looking forward to what’s coming next. There is so much education and insight into the industry,” Megan Dean, Embassy XO

Below is a list of our 2018 Grow Coastal participants who are currently madly practising their pitches for the Demo Day graduation event on the 17th July. We’d love all FAN members to join us at the Innovation Centre to hear all about the group’s journey. Please support them and welcome them into our network.

  • 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

FAN Awarded Cluster Funding – New doors open for exports

June 28, 2018

(6 June, 2018) Helping local food and agribusiness operators to do business on the world stage is one of the goals of the Food and Agribusiness Network (FAN), a local not-for-profit, industry-led cluster.

In an announcement made today by Food Innovation Australia Ltd (FIAL), FAN has been awarded $900,000 over the next three years through the FIAL Cluster Programme. This first-of-its-kind programme provides matched funding to support new and existing clusters in their quest to address a common purpose they otherwise could not solve on their own.

The funding will help FAN with improving capabilities to engage with national and international markets and global supply chains.

“We’re delighted to go on this journey, guide and support the winners to solve common challenges, innovate, and grow the competitive advantage of their regions” said Peter Schutz, FIAL’s Chairman.

They were one of only four cluster organisations in Australia to receive funding in this inaugural national Cluster Programme.

“We are absolutely delighted that our submission has been successful”, General Manager, Emma Greenhatch said.

“In 2017, the food and agribusiness industry in the Sunshine Coast region was valued at $700m, which was an increase of $30m on 2016. It also directly employs around 5,000 people.

“This funding will allow us increase this to $1b by 2022 and see exports double to $130m in the same period.”

Today’s announcement was made at the TCI Oceania Clusters Event, which is being hosted on the Sunshine Coast with the full support of the Sunshine Coast Council. “The conference is looking at how regional clusters can help drive economic development, with the Food and Agribusiness Network a prime example of the benefits derived from industry sectors working collaboratively”, Cr Steve Robinson said.

Co-Founder and Chair of FAN, Jacqui Wilson-Smith said this funding will have far reaching consequences, “FAN believes it can create a sustainable, industry-led cluster model that pivots around a collaborative approach to addressing shared challenges and opportunities. This could be replicated in other regions around Australia and has the potential to become an Australian best-practice model for cluster development.”

This funding will allow FAN to expand its programs and services for its members and create a sustainable, industry-led cluster business model.

“Food businesses trying to expand into national and international markets all face similar challenges including consumer insights, distribution, marketing and understanding the sales channels.  We are working with our members to find solutions that will take their business to a whole new level and help them to scale quickly.”

There are many local businesses already reaping the rewards from their collaboration with other FAN members, such as Kenilworth Dairies, Green Valley Fingerlimes, QCamel, KOKOPOD Chocolate and Montville Coffee.

These local businesses choose the Greater Sunshine Coast region as the headquarters for their business and many have moved here after identifying the region as leading the way with its supportive, collaborative and entrepreneurial business community.

“By facilitating a collective response to the challenges and opportunities industry is facing, FAN can support its members to be more future focused, to increase their operational efficiencies and to develop a culture of collaboration and innovation.”

With the new airport opening up incredible opportunities for the Greater Sunshine Coast region, this funding will ensure that FAN members are ready to take full advantage of the many opportunities that will be created to get our local produce onto the plates and into stores interstate and overseas and see our food businesses shine on the world stage like never before.

If you would like more information about this topic, please contact Emma Greenhatch at Food & Agribusiness Network or email at [email protected]

Big Pineapple joins FAN as Platinum Sponsor

February 22, 2018

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.”

How trade shows can boost your business

February 22, 2018

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;

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FINE FOOD SPECIAL OFFER – APPLICATIONS CLOSE FRIDAY 2 MARCH!

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.

 

The Garden Shed Nursery & Home Grown Cafe Collaboration – Palmwoods

February 21, 2018

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

Grow Coastal food accelerator announces 2018 cohort

February 13, 2018

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.

EVENT DETAILS:

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

BUY TICKETS

FAN 2017 Year in Review

December 18, 2017

2017 has been another huge year for FAN. We are Australia’s fastest growing food industry network with 190 members, almost double how many we had this time last year, and 45 sponsors.

In the 2017 calendar year we have delivered 16 events, attended by more than 700 FAN members and industry representatives. We’ve covered topics that are important to our members, including food industry trends, developing a food business plan, social media and soil health.

We were delighted to partner with the Innovation Centre on the inaugural Grow Coastal Food Accelerator program that 12 businesses successfully completed. We partnered with Visit Sunshine Coast and Sunshine Coast Council to support 10 FAN members to participate in Regional Flavours in Brisbane, and had the largest regional precinct at the event. We also partnered with Sunshine Coast Council to take 13 businesses to Fine Food in Sydney, Australia’s largest food industry trade event. More than $400,000 in new sales are anticipated and many of the businesses have secured new national and international customers.

All this wouldn’t be possible without the support of our members, sponsors and partners and we thank you. It also wouldn’t be possible without our many volunteers including FAN’s Board, ambassadors and members of our Strategy and Events Committees – thank you. Thanks also to Jen Sharpe, FAN’s Marketing Coordinator and Tanya Arnold, Events Coordinator for tirelessly working to deliver a quality program.

In addition to our existing program of events and workshops, FAN’s expanding in 2018 to deliver a site tours program, and we are excited to be co-delivering the next Grow Coastal program with the Innovation Centre. A new grant from Sunshine Coast Council will help us to create a member capability directory, and FAN’s Chairman Jacqui Wilson-Smith will be launching a new online resource for FAN members, resulting from the $10k bursary she received this year for the AgriFutures Queensland Rural Women’s Award.

Being a not-for-profit, industry-led network, our members, sponsors and partners are crucial for us to be able to expand our services to assist our industry to grow. Please spread the word in 2018 and encourage other businesses to sign-up. Don’t forget to follow us on all our social channels, and if you are a member sign-up to our FAN members Facebook page.

We’d also like to take this opportunity to remind you of our very clear vision and purpose:

FAN’s PURPOSE

To connect and grow our region’s food & agribusiness industry by creating a culture of collaboration, accelerating innovation and promoting trade locally and globally.

FAN’s VISION

To be Australia’s leading food and agribusiness network and to actively contribute to doubling our industry’s value by 2030 for our regions.

On a personal note, it has been an absolute privilege working with and getting to know so many of the fabulous people involved in our dynamic food industry, and I am constantly amazed at the openness and collaboration that’s happening.

Thank you all for your support, and best wishes for the festive season.

Emma Greenhatch,

FAN General Manager