FANmail August 2023

FANmail August 2023

This post is part of our monthly FANMail newsletter for everything Sunshine Coast Food & Agribusiness.

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Cheers to a day filled with scrumptious delights and the warm embrace of our passionate community!

“Meet the Sunshine Coast Makers” was an incredible showcase of the Sunshine Coast’s finest local produce and innovative producers, and it had everyone buzzing with excitement! On Friday, July 28th, the Maroochydore CBD came alive with a celebration of our region’s passionate and creative food and beverage producers. FANs “Progressive Special Event” featured the brilliant minds behind our region’s delectable treats, curated by the talented chefs at Bottarga Restaurant and Market Bistro.

Kicking off with a mouthwatering Entrée at Market Bistro, valued FAN member Heidi Walker spoke to the inception of Walker Seafood’s and gave diners an insight into the amazing journey they have been on been on since… a tank of petrol and a magnificent catch off the coast of Mooloolaba and the rest is fishtory!

Market Bistro’s Head Chef Daniel Dobra tantalised diners with details of the two entree meals about to be placed in front of us! The solution for most was to make sure we were dining with someone who wanted to have a taste of each plate too!

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The journey continued with Main courses at Bottarga Restaurant. With their culinary expertise, the chefs at Bottarga combined the best of Sunshine Coast produce with their culinary magic, making everyone’s taste buds dance with joy. And the Q&A sessions with local producers and FAN Members, Mark and Kayla from Peachester Fresh and Bottarga’s owners, chef Frank Boulay and Karin Doeldl, added a delightful touch of behind-the-scenes insights.

The event didn’t end there! Moving on to Drinks,Dessert and Networking at The MET. with a stellar guest panel of local producers hosted by none other than the fantastic Paul West of “A River Cottage Australia” fame! Paul is a true advocate of real food, community, and sustainable agriculture, and he added his special charm to the evening.

The speaker panel included valued FAN members: Matt Hepburn from Your Mates Brewing, Beth O’Leary from Woombye Cheese, Kevin Fraikin from Montville Coffee, and Kate Gibney from Steampunk Distillery. These four incredible individuals shared their stories, passion, and expertise, inspiring everyone present.

“Meet the Sunshine Coast Makers” was a FANtastic event, and everyone left with hearts full of pride for our region’s innovative and collaborative industry. It was an extraordinary celebration of local talent, and we can’t wait for the next edition of this incredible event. Hats off to the organisers, the chefs, the speakers, and, of course, the Sunshine Coast Makers who made it all possible! And a massive thanks to our partners in this event The Met – Sun Central, The Curated Plate and Sunshine Coast CouncilHot 91 and Hello Sunshine.

FAN Events


Join us for our four region specific Seed to Sprout: Food & AgriTourism Workshops!

These  one-day workshops are designed for small food and agri businesses and outlines the fundamentals required to operate a successful food, beverage or agritourism business. The program is designed in consultation with our tourism partners and local government agencies and will be created in partnership with food tourism experts – Creative Tours (2022 winners in Food Tourism category at the Queensland Tourism Award and a FAN and VSC Member).

Covered in this workshop are all the ingredients needed for a food or agritourism offering:

  • Permits & Planning
  • Processes
  • Partners
  • Profile & Promotion
  • People

BOOK HERE & learn more about Project CRAFTED here.



Recapping FAN’s Inaugural Food Tourism Conference: A Celebration of Culinary Journeys
In a delightful convergence of flavours, travel, and expertise, the Food Agribusiness Network (FAN) recently concluded its inaugural Food & AgriTourism Conference. This half-day event brought together leading national and international food tourism experts to share their insights into the art of crafting captivating narratives that highlight the unique essence of various regions. The conference proved to be an insightful and networking-filled experience, catering to producers, tourism operators, regional tourism bodies, and local government authorities alike.

Unveiling the Essence of Food Tourism
In a world where gastronomic explorations have become a significant part of travel, FAN’s Food & AgriTourism Conference sought to uncover the magic that happens when food and culture intertwine. This inaugural event was a celebration of the interplay between food and travel, showcasing the role of expertly woven narratives in inviting travellers to indulge in the culinary experiences of diverse regions.

A Bounty of Insights
The heart of the conference beat with a plethora of insights and revelations. Esteemed experts in the field of food tourism took center stage, each offering a glimpse into their journey of culinary exploration and storytelling. Spanning the entire spectrum of the food production journey, from the hands that nurture the land to the chefs who transform ingredients, the conference offered a diverse range of enlightening topics.


A FANtastic Networking Opportunity
Beyond the exchange of insights, the conference provided an invaluable opportunity for networking and relationship-building. Producers had the chance to connect with tourism operators, facilitating the exchange of ideas and strategies for enhancing food-related experiences. Meanwhile, regional tourism bodies and local government authorities could forge alliances that lay the groundwork for positioning their regions as culinary destinations. The conference served not only as a wellspring of knowledge but also as a hub for like-minded individuals who share a passion for the confluence of food, travel, and storytelling.

Embracing the Journey
FAN’s inaugural Food & AgriTourism Conference was a landmark event that left a lasting impact on attendees. Whether one was a producer seeking to share the bounty of their land, a creative chef eager to redefine culinary experiences, or a tourism operator looking to curate unforgettable journeys, this conference provided the canvas upon which to paint a vision of the perfect food tourism adventure.

For those who missed this year’s conference, stay tuned for updates on future editions and opportunities to be part of this enriching experience.

FAN Member Survey

Feedback from our members is very important to us, so we can design our activities around what’s important to you. We kindly request 5 minutes of your time to help us refine our 2023 – 2024 program.


FAN is a member organisation dedicated to enabling a growing and resilient food and agribusiness industry by collectively driving the success of our members. At FAN we value collaboration, sharing, leadership and integrity. 

We encourage you to familiarise yourself with the FAN Member Code of Conduct and reach out to us at anytime.

Out and About

FAN Shines at Naturally Good Food Expo with Sunshine Coast Council Support

In June, four members of the Food and Agribusiness Network (FAN) had an exciting opportunity, supported by the Sunshine Coast Council, to attend the prestigious Naturally Good Food Expo in Sydney. The expo, Australia’s premier retail trade event for natural, organic, and better-for-you products, hosted over 600 exhibitors, including Beachtree Distilling CoNutworksSo Soda, and Planet Organic.

Thanks to the Sunshine Coast Council’s support, the FAN members had an excellent platform to network, learn about new products, and gain exposure to larger-scale events. The event proved to be a valuable experience for all involved, fostering collaboration and growth within the industry.

The partnership between FAN and the Sunshine Coast Council exemplifies the importance of community support in promoting local businesses and fostering innovation in the food and agribusiness sector.

Upcoming Grants & Awards

CSIRO – closes 18th August – CSIRO Innovate to Grow Program: Ending Plastic Waste – This program aims to provide a ten-week program for small to medium enterprises (SMEs) working on plastic or recycling solutions and exploring how research and development (R&D) can advance the project or business. 

Closing 24 August! 2023 APCO Annual Awards  If you, your colleagues, or your company have implemented an initiative during the 2022-2023 period, you can apply for one of the following award categories; SPGs Implementation Award, Reuse Award, Industry Education Award, Consumer Education Award, Improved Recycling Systems Award, Recycled Content Award, Sustainability Champion (no fee). More info here

The Go Global Export Program
Closing 11 September
This program provides Queensland’s export-ready small and medium sized enterprises with funding to establish export deals in new international markets. Find out more and apply here by 11 September 2023: TIQ – Go Global Export Program

TEQ – closes 30th December – Tourism and Events Queensland (TEQ) – Business Events Acquisition and Leveraging Fund (ALF) – This program aims to assist in securing international business events to Queensland. 

FaBA announces Second Investment Round. Australia’s Food and Beverage Accelerator is opening its Second Investment Round, valued at over $20 million. Find out more here.

Back to Work’s Small Business Support Pool  Up to $2,000 in funding is available through the Small Business Support Pool to support the retention of an existing Back to Work supported employee. This funding can be used for a range of activities supporting retention including training, digital upgrades, mentoring and workforce development.

Agrifutures Event Sponsorship
Open Now

This three-year grant program is designed to promote agritech and agricultural innovation, foster commercialisation opportunities, attract investment, and raise the profile of Australian agritech.  The first grant round of grants ( is now open for events between 30 September 2023 – 28 February 2024. More info here.

Regional Development Australia Sunshine Coast (RDASC) is excited to provide the ‘RDASC Grant Funding Finder’ to all local businesses, community groups, not-for-profits and individuals on the Sunshine Coast and Noosa. This site provides a comprehensive list of grant and funding opportunities available to you for FREE

Find grants that suit your business with the QLD Government Grants Finder

Thanks to the Successful Grants team who have provided the above information. Please contact the team if you would like to chat about how they can support you.

Member Resources & Opportunities

Have Your Say on several major road, rail and public transport projects, including active transport, across the Sunshine Coast. The Department of Transport and Main Roads (TMR) are inviting community consultation here –

Scaling for Women, 15 August – With 11 new Accelerating Female Founder Program recipients delivering support to QLD women, the Backing Female Founders team has an exciting upcoming event. With two panels of amazing speakers, this event will showcase the range of support currently available to women in the market from both government and industry, including venture capital, crowdfunding, and angel investment. Register here

Resilient Passionfruit Workshops, 17 August – Meridian Plains – Hobby & Commercial passionfruit growers are invited to a FREE workshop to help build more resilience in growing operations. Hear from industry experts: how to survive natural disasters, what variety you should be growing for your region and how plant nutrition can make the difference.  

Business short courses and microcredentials at UniSC – ALL Courses listed hereFREE Workshop – ‘Brand management essentials for businesses’. Aimed at small business owners or start-ups who want the essential tools and knowledge to create and manage their brands. 5pm-8pm on August the 24th . Run in person or via Zoom. More info here & registration closes August 22nd.

Innovative digital marketing strategies: 23 August 2023, 11.00am Struggling to keep up with the must-knows in digital trends? Keen to know what works and doesn’t in the tourism digital marketing landscape? In this interactive session, you’ll learn about influencer marketing, maximising customer engagements, and leveraging analytics to make better decisions. Sign up

Special, local screenings of Rachel’s Farm! Join Director Rachel Ward & special guests at a Q&A screening of Rachels Farm, on 24 August ( book tickets Pomona) and 25 August (book tickets Noosa). More than a film, Rachel’s Farm is the entry point into a growing movement of people and readily available solutions that are working to support farmers and regenerate our soils, food and climate systems.

Showcasing leading innovations in the area of livestock traceability – Thursday 24th August 10am-12pm, Wellcamp. The Agtech and Logistics Hub are holding a Demo Day that will showcase leading innovations in the area of livestock traceability that featured in their OpenGround program, delivered in conjunction with Meat and Livestock Australia (MLA) – info here

FarmLab & The University of Queensland partner to subsidise carbon testing on 430 farms across Australia. The collection of soil samples from over 400 farms across Australia will aid to develop technologies that reduce the cost of soil carbon measurement. The sampling and testing is being subsidised to give farmers a better understanding of soil carbon across their farms. More info and register here.

Two new short courses for businesses.  Free short micro-credential courses are available to support employers to recruit and retain their employees via a partnership between Back to Work and TAFE Queensland. Find out more Small Business Short Courses – Back to Work ( 

Valuable Soils Survey – If you are a landholder, land manager or service provider, please take the survey to help identify current gaps in soil: knowledge, management, adoption, and extension practices. The anonymous results from the survey will be provided to the Australian Government and will help inform the design and delivery of targeted soil interventions to address priorities under the National Soil Strategy.

Build your Biodiversity Knowledge, Skills & Confidence with Accounting for Nature – Landcare Farming is seeking to collaborate with farming and grazing groups to be involved in a supported learning process to build knowledge, skills and confidence around measuring Natural Capital (Biodiversity) on-farm, and to train and certify nominated Group members as Accounting for Nature Experts. Contact us for more info.

Enrol now for a fee-free TAFE course! 
Fee-Free TAFE courses have been specifically chosen based on local skills demand and advice from industry. Completing training in these high-priority areas will guarantee you graduate with in-demand skills and strong job prospects.  Head here for more info

Respecting First Nations cultural protocols in Australia If you work in the tourism industry and would like to engage more confidently with First Nations groups, culture and Country, the Queensland Tourism Industry Council invite you to register for their free online Respecting First Nations cultural protocols in Australia micro course. Developed in consultation with Indigenous groups, the bite-sized course provides tourism operators and their staff with the skills and knowledge needed to respectfully engage with First Nations businesses and communities. Explore other micro courses here.

Member News

Rural Women’s Alumni Leader, Ann Ross “The experience of being a finalist in the 2019 AgriFutures Rural Women’s Award empowered Ann Roos in two ways – it gave her the momentum to thing about what she could ‘give back’ to the agriculture sector and made her more aware of the strength and knowledge in numbers… continue reading here.”

A huge congratulations to the Spice it Up team on their new product awards!
Congratulations to the Spice it Up team on a FANtastic result on their new product ranges ‘Lolli’s Soups’ and ‘Social Dips’ at the Tasmania Find Food Awards.

A huge congratulations to Allison, Stuart and the My Berries team who recently won the Advanced Manufacturing Award at the 2023 Moreton Bay Business Excellence and Innovation Awards for their use of innovative technologies and processes to transform materials into new products. Read more here.

Maleny Food Co – 2023 Gelato Champions! Congratulations to the team on Berry Delight Gelato taking home the Champion Gelato Award at the Dairy Industry Association of Australia Awards! This was closely followed by their Vanilla Bean, Chocolate, Crème Caramel and Strawberry flavours with Silver.

Congratulations to the Whites IGA team – Regional winners and state finalists of the Queensland Training Awards – Large employer.

Our Supporters

Special thanks to FAN’s Partners and Sponsors who provide significant resources towards the ongoing sustainability of FAN and the growth and resilience of our regions’ food and agribusiness industry.


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