FANmail November 2023

FANmail November 2023

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

Join for free and stay up to date with the industry!

We hope this November edition of FANmail finds you all very well, amidst the hustle and bustle of what is shaping out to be a very busy end to 2023! It’s been a whirlwind couple of months for FAN members and the FAN Team alike, and we’re excited to share all the updates and happenings with you.

From exciting events to new initiatives, our dedicated team has been busy and we can’t wait to fill you in on all the details.

So, without further ado, grab your cuppa, find a cozy spot, and prepare to immerse yourself in the latest from FANland. As always, be sure to ‘view entire message’ below!

Yours in collaboration,
Nicole McNaughton

Table of Contents

Sunshine Pantry

In partnership with Visit Sunshine Coast, FAN is excited to be launching a new destination marketing campaign to position the greater Sunshine Coast as Queensland’s premier food, drink & agritourism destination.
Queensland Sunshine Pantry is a key deliverable of the overall Project CRAFTED initiative, which FAN has rolled out over the past 8 months. Project CRAFTED has been developed in partnership with Visit Sunshine Coast and in collaboration with key stakeholders including Tourism NoosaNoosa CouncilSunshine Coast Council and Gympie Council.

About the Queensland Sunshine Pantry campaign
Visit Sunshine Coast have chosen high-reaching digital channels to amplify the campaign from February 2024 including online video, social media, digital display, and on Visit Sunshine Coast’s website, EDM and social media channels. Follow #qldsunshinepantry. 
Get Involved

  • As a valued member of the food, drink & agritourism industry, VSC have developed a toolkit will that help leverage your involvement in the campaign. In this tool kit you’ll find the Industry Brand Stamp, usage guidelines, key messaging and more. Remember to tag #qldsunshinepantry #FAN #VisitSunshineCoast on any social posts. Download the toolkit here.
  • Further producers, makers and agritourism experiences will be profiled through VSC content in 2024.
  • For our producers who don’t have an agritourism experience / offering – we’ll be featuring them in the What’s in our Pantry section on the updated Sunshine Coast Regional Food Directory.
  • Pop up Pantries will be activated at upcoming food industry, consumer and trade events – with details shared in early 2024.

Would like to be featured? Make sure your experience or offering is listed on ATDW or email us for more information on how to be involved..

Industry Development in 2024
This campaign will be supported by ongoing industry development in 2024 including;

  • Agritourism Mentoring Panel
  • Advanced Agritourism Workshop – 20 February
  • Ongoing topic specific workshops – stay tuned
  • Updated resource page – view here

Submit your EOI here for the mentoring panel and workshop
With thanks to…
The Queensland Government and our partners, members and wider industry for their collaboration on this exciting new campaign. 

For questions or more information please don’t hesitate to contact us at

Grow National

FAN is launching ‘Grow National’ a program that will offer startups and established businesses practical and actionable advice on a range of topics aimed at supporting their growth towards scaling up, investment attraction, distribution and ability to access new markets.

As a result of FAN’s research, and the feedback received from Grow Coastal, FAN are delighted to unveil Grow National, which will cater for start-ups and scale ups – leveraging a place-based approach to drive innovation and growth.

Grow National is proudly supported by the Advance Queensland initiative – Accelerating Female Founders Program. The program is also supported by the Turbine PrecinctRegional Development Australia Sunshine CoastSunshine Coast CouncilMoreton Bay Council and Noosa Council..

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.


Out and About

Exploring Agrifood Excellence: A Recap of the Pacific Agrifoods Cluster Tour on the Sunshine Coast

In a vibrant showcase of collaboration and innovation, the Pacific Agrifoods Cluster Tour recently unfolded on on the Sunshine Coast and Moreton Bay regions. Facilitated by the Pacific-Community-SPC in collaboration with the Food Agribusiness Network FAN and TCI Oceania, this four-day journey brought together 13 delegates from Fiji, Samoa, Papua New Guinea, Vanuatu, Tonga, and New Caledonia.

The tour, funded by the New Zealand Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Trade, provided a unique opportunity for participants to witness agrifood clusters in action. These clusters, geographic concentrations of interconnected businesses within the agri-business sector, drive innovation, efficiency, and competitiveness.

The diverse itinerary included visits to prominent businesses such as COYO AustraliaSunshine & SonsGroundskeeper WillieWarrior RestaurantVanilla Vine, and the launch of Queensland’s Sunshine Pantry. Delegates engaged in enriching experiences, exploring the intricacies of agritourism and agri-businesses.

The journey reached its pinnacle with a thought-provoking roundtable in Sunshine Coast, focusing on “Addressing Food System Challenges: Clustering and its Ecosystem.” High Commissioner of Vanuatu to Australia, H.E Samson Vilvil Fare, provided welcoming remarks, setting the stage for insightful discussions.

Key speakers, including Dr. James Krahe, CEO of Future Food Systems and Dr. Sarah Burkhart of UniSc, along with a distinguished panel moderated by Alisi Tuqa from the Pacific Community SPC. The panel delved into the complexities of the food system and brought diverse perspectives, featuring key notes from Mayday Laung Hing Cai, Rodrigue Tiavouane, Nicole McNaughton, CEO FAN, Talei Goater of ygap, and Michaela Cosijn from CSIRO.

The tour’s success was a testament to the collaborative efforts of SPC, FAN, and TCI Oceania, with support from the Australian Government through Pacific Women Lead at SPC. The Australian Centre for Pacific Islands Research at UniSC also played a crucial role in supporting the engaging roundtable event.

As the curtains close on this enriching journey, the impact of the Pacific Agrifoods Cluster Tour lingers, fostering connections, sharing knowledge, and paving the way for a more robust and collaborative future in the agrifood industry.

FAN Events

Join us for FAN’s AGM
and End of Year Celebrations

3.00pm – 3.30pm: Registration

3.30pm – 4.30pm: AGM

5.00pm – 7.30pm: Celebration / Networking

We look forward to sharing a full review of the year as well as a taste of what’s to come in 2024!

Ticket price includes a beverage and finger food.
Please note the AGM & Networking is complementary to current financial FAN Members.
Future FAN Members are ticketed and invited to Networking only.

Upcoming Grants & Awards

Accessible Tourism Elevate Fund – This program aims to support Queensland’s tourism industry to enhance their accessible tourism experiences. It forms part of the 2023 Year of Accessible Tourism, and will support activities like improved communication and information sharing, digital and website accessibility, staff training and education, adaptive equipment, technology and infrastructure.

Access Starter Grant – Providing support to eligible Queensland tourism operators, not-for-profit organisations and local governments at the start of their accessible tourism journey to help get the basics right. $5,000. No matched funding required. Now open. Closes 6 Dec 2023 or when funding is allocated.

Access Project Grant – Supporting eligible Queensland tourism operators, not-for-profit organisations and local governments who have already identified accessibility improvements within their organisation and are ready to implement change. $50,000 to $250,000. No matched funding required but co-investment encouraged. Now open. Closes 21 December.

The Made in Queensland (MIQ) Program aims to support QLD’s SME’s in the traditional manufacturing sector to increase manufacturers’ international competitiveness, productivity and innovation via the adoption of new technologies and processes. $50,000 to $2.5m matched funding. Now open. Closes 11 Dec 2023.

The Manufacturing Energy Efficiency Grant Program aims to support QLD’s SME’s in the manufacturing sector to increase their competitiveness in a low carbon future by implementing energy efficiency measures that reduce energy costs and operational emissions. $5,000 to $25,000 matched funding. Now open. Closes 30 June 2024 or when funding is all allocated

Keep an eye out for the Queensland Government’s Backing Business in the Bush (BBB) Fund (for businesses) and Backing Bush Communities Fund (for community organisations).

Details yet to be released. 

Disaster Assistance: Freight Subsidies – Primary Producers – Freight subsidies of up to $5,000 per disaster event are available for eligible primary producers: located within a disaster-activated area or who hold a current Individual Disaster Stricken Property (IDSP) declaration.

A sixth round of Rural Economic Development Grants supporting Indigenous-owned agribusinesses and projects aimed at low-emmisions agriculture has been allocated for the 2023-24 financial year, with applications to open later this year.

Drought Assistance: Queensland based primary producers who have been significantly financially affected by drought may be eligible to access an Emergency Drought Assistance Loan of up to $50,000 to assist in meeting working capital expenses.  

Drought Assistance: The Drought Carry-on Finance Loan offers up to $250,000 to help primary producers who have been significantly financially affected by drought with carry-on finance assistance.

Drought Assistance: The Drought Relief Assistance Scheme (DRAS) has helped primary producers with drought-declared properties to: manage the welfare of their core breeding herd during drought and restore their herds after drought. From 1 April 2022: new areas or individual properties that have been drought-declared cannot access DRAS / DRAS is only available to primary producers that were drought-declared before 1April 2022.

Drought Loan Help to prepare for, manage through, and recover from drought. Prepare for drought / Fund drought management activities / Fund drought recovery activities / Refinance debt. See more information here.

When was the last time you caught up with your QRIDA Regional Area Manager
for Burnett, Cindy Godden? With the start of the 2023-24 financial year, now is a great time to take stock of your finances and plan the on-farm improvements you’re carrying out with QRIDA financial assistance over the coming months. QRIDA has First Start Loans of up to $2 million to help primary producers establish their first farm business, and Sustainability Loans of up to $1.3 million to help primary producers enhance the productivity and profitability of their business.
Cindy can answer your questions about QRIDA’s concessional loans and help you complete your QRIDA financial assistance application. For more information, visit or call Cindy on 0417 778 317.

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

Members may have noticed our member platform, FAN Connect, undergoing some recent changes. FAN Connect is being revamped and developed by the WAVE team right here in SEQ! We’re looking forward to bringing a membership platform to the FAN community that supports our collaborative ecosystem. If you have any questions, please email us.

GourMay Mary Valley Food Festival is back in 2024 and vendors are invited to join the growing event which celebrates the regions growers, producers and creators and supports food businesses within 50km of Imbil. If you would like to be a part of the event, an application form is available by following this link.

Food Industry Survey – The UQ Skills team would like feedback on potential food training courses they intend to develop for the sector. Feedback on the proposed courses within the survey would help them team  ensure any training courses developed for industry are relevant and aligned to industry needs. Survey here.

Noosa Holiday Guide Tourism Noosa are preparing for the publication of their nationally distributed Noosa Holiday Guide. To lock in your spot in the Noosa Holiday Guide, please submit your booking request here, shortly after, a member of the marketing team will confirm your booking and provide the next steps. To learn more about the Noosa Holiday Guide, see more here

Sustainability Workshop – 16 November –  Understand what is driving businesses to engage in sustainable practices, explore the practical steps to enhance the sustainability initiatives in your business and hear from likeminded businesses about how they are taking steps to do things differently. More info and rsvp here.

Study Queensland and Migration Queensland invites you to attend the Diversifying your Talent Pools with Skilled Migrant Talent event on Thursday 23 November 2023 from 10.30am-1.00pm at Maroochydore. Register here

Digital Solutions Program. There is a federal government funded program that is offering advice on getting started with digital business tools for businesses with 19 staff or less. The program will also be running workshops, both in region and online, over the next 3 years on a variety of topics such as social media marketing, websites, ecommerce, small business software and cybersecurity. For more info contact

Kesewa Opoku Agyemang, a PhD student at the Research Centre for Transport Innovation (RCTI) at the UNSW has reached out to the FAN team, regarding studies in collaboration with Future Food Systems (FFS) that focuses on transportation in the agricultural supply chain in and around New South Wales (NSW). Kindly follow this link for more information about the project.

Are you a start-up or small businesses involved in food upcycling? A team of researchers from (QUT) are seeking participants for one (1) hour, online interview to discuss perceptions and experiences relating to opportunities and barriers associated with food transformation/upcycling food. Contact the FAN team for more information.

Sustainability Pilot Opportunity., are looking for innovative food and beverage companies to join a 6 month sustainability pilot.  The pilot is all about applying sustainability insights directly to business operations for tangible results. If you’re interested please contact their CEO, Lauren Branson – [email protected]

The Noosa Eat & Drink Festival returns in 2024 and will feature a dedicated Producers Pavilion in the Festival Village.
Don’t miss your opportunity to showcase your product at this premium foodie event.  Expressions of interest for producers and stall holders are now open, if you’d like to be part of this amazing event, head to this link to complete the application.  FAN are delighted to be proud partners of the Producers Pavilion activation!

Member News

QCamel takes EOIs on Investment opportunities.
QCamel has seen huge growth in the past few years! From a new herd of wild camels, new products, a new manufacturing facility and a boom in tourism. QCamel is now taking Expressions of Interest (EOI) for Investors and Shareholders with QCamel. Watch their pitch here.

Basilea Living Herbs on Gardening Australia
Did you manage to catch Sarah Heath from Basilea Living Herbs talking to Jerry on Gardening Australia?

Follow this link here to watch this blooming wonderful segment of Sarah talking all things hydroponics.

Mary Valley Rattler & Eastwell Farms on Channel 7s Weekender
The Mary Valley Rattler’s Silver Bullet High Tea Experience and Eastwell Farms were featured on Channel 7s Weekender recently.

If you missed the delightful segment, grab a cuppa and watch it here!

Arakai Estate coming to Landline soon!
The team at Arakai Estate spent some time with Courtney, Steve and Tim from ABCs Landline talking all things tea, farm and family. 
So keep an eye on all the Landline segments coming up in the next month or so and you’ll be treated to a story on FAN Members Arakai Estate!

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

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