Jen No Comments

Future of Farming Workshop attracts 80 local farmers

On Thursday 5th October, The Food & Agribusiness Network (FAN), Gympie Regional Council, and Sustainable Soil Solutions held the first in what is set to be a series of workshops for farmers in the Sunshine Coast region.

Special thanks to all our speakers (listed below), Matt Golinski for his delicious cooking demo, and Kate Rose from Baupal Park Macadamia Farm for hosting the event. The workshop was followed by a networking BBQ that provided a great opportunity for our local farmers to connect, and welcome to our 7 new FAN members who signed up on the day!

Topics that were covered included the following:

Chemical Free Farming and the “Sum of all Parts” 
Guest Speaker #1: Andrew McLennan, Consulting Biological AgronimistChemical Free Farmers Association
Removing synthetic inputs from production systems is only one component of the transition towards sustainable farming. Attendees will learn about the intricate web of holistic farming, and just how important it is to identify and understand the “sum of all parts” in being successful at producing chemical free nutrient dense food from a sustainable source.

Drones & Farming
Guest speaker #2: Alun Morgan, Engineer & Drone Pilot, Acre Insight
An introduction into Aerial photography and mapping and how it can assist greatly in the management of farms. By combining aerial data with existing knowledge of the data from drones can be a fantastic tool for planning, design and management, as well as identifying or helping to solve existing problems.

The Spatial Hub
Guest speaker #3: Phillip Tickle, The Spatial Hub
Technology is driving enormous changes across agriculture. The Spatial Hub’s world leading technology is providing Australia’s grazing industry with new opportunities to increase sustainable production. In just 30 seconds a grazier can analyse 30 years of satellite data over every paddock, providing new insights into short and long-term land condition and productivity.

Stay tuned for more Farming Workshops to be held in 2018.

Jen No Comments

Could your business benefit from a nutritionist?

New initiative for FAN Members! The University of the Sunshine Coast is sending nutrition students to FAN in 2018. As part of their work placement program, third year bachelor of nutrition students may be able to assist your business with:

  • Product and recipe development
  • Nutritional analysis of your products
  • Compliance with food labelling law (FSANZ)
  • Provide nutrition information panels for your products
  • Marketing ideas
  • Research (for example, students could develop a portfolio of the nutritional benefits of your product/the ingredients of your product)
  • Menu design
  • Needs analysis (Are people in the community needing your product, in terms of nutrition? If so, who are they, where are they?)

If your business has a nutrition focus, and could benefit from input from a student nutritionist, you are invited to apply for the position of ‘USC Placement Partner.’ In this role you will need to provide a suitable project for the student to work on, while supervising the student. Students are required to do 75 hours of work placement within a Semester.

It is hoped that the student nutritionist will be able to provide your business with nutrition-specific knowledge and skills that may add value to your business, while the students gain a valuable workplace experience within the food industry from you.

Successful applicants will be chosen by the USC Nutrition Department in consultation with FAN, and will be based on the ability of the business to provide a unique learning experience for the students which enables the student to meet their required competencies for graduation.

If you’d like to apply, please complete a short survey here or for more information contact Emma Greenhatch at [email protected]

Jen No Comments

Showcasing the Sunshine Coast at Fine Food Australia

From the 11-14th September, 13 Sunshine Coast businesses including 12 FAN members were represented at the “Flavours of the Sunshine Coast” stand at Australia’s largest food industry trade show – Fine Food. Held at the ICC in Sydney, the opportunity was made possible through a partnership between Sunshine Coast Council and FAN.

One month on we wanted to provide a wrap report to our network and show just how beneficial working together and promoting the Sunshine Coast as a food region can be…. And it’s just the beginning!

Fast Facts:

  • Collectively more than 300 leads were generated that businesses will be following up
  • 3 businesses had immediate orders
  • Estimated +400k revenue in new sales over the next 24 months
  • New collaborations resulted between many of the businesses on the stand including It’s Sweet As now making a new coffeelicious bite using Montville Coffee
  • “The friendliest stand at the show!” – as quoted by one international buyer

But don’t just take it from us…. Here is what one of the exhibitors had to say! “Exhibiting at Fine Food Australia was a fantastic experience for our business. We made contact with some great potential customers and even received some orders while we were exhibiting. It is definitely something we would like to be a part of again. I loved that there were nine totally different Sunshine Coast businesses exhibiting that all supported each other so well.” – Kimberly Durant, Gourmet Fudge Supplies.

FAN Members that took part in this year’s Fine Food Australia included Kenilworth Country Foods, KOKOPOD Chocolate, Walter’s Artisan Produce, QCamel, Montville Coffee, Gourmet Fudge Supplies, Belladotti – Fine Foods Inspired, COYO, The Country Chef Bakery Co., Pomodoras on Obi, It’s Sweet As, and SunLife Superfoods.

Jen No Comments

FAN partners with the Innovation Centre to deliver Grow Coastal in 2018

After a successful inaugural program in 2017, the Innovation Sunshine Coast & FAN are excited to announce that applications for the 2018 program are opening soon. FAN has been appointed by the Innovation Centre to be the Program Manager for the 2018 Grow Coastal Program and is excited to be part of this excellent program to drive growth of food & agribusiness in the region.

Grow Coastal provides 12 of the best food and beverage businesses in the region with the opportunity to take part in Sunshine Coast’s first food accelerator program. Budding entrepreneurs can now apply to become one of only 12 businesses to access over $10,000 in value via the catalytic three-month accelerator program, designed specifically for producers looking to scale fast, bring their vision to life and deliver new food and beverage innovations to the market.

FAN Chair Jacqui Wilson-Smith proudly supports the initiative and FAN’s involvement to help deliver this world class program “the Grow Coastal program will increase the pipeline of food innovation and leverages off the strength our branding, local provenance and strong local capacity.”

In 2018, Grow Coastal will be delivered directly by Mark Paddenburg, CEO of the Innovation Centre and Food & Agribusiness Network Director, Jacqui Price.

Visit the Grow Coastal Website for more information.

Jen No Comments

Flavours of the Sunshine Coast now on show at Fine Food Australia

Testament to the growth and innovation in Sunshine Coast’s food industry, the region is currently being showcased on a “Favours of the Sunshine Coast” stand for the first time at Fine Food Australia in Sydney this week from the 11-14th September.

The initiative is one of a number that the Sunshine Coast Council and Food & Agribusiness Network (FAN) are partnering on to drive new growth opportunities in the region’s food and agribusiness industry.

The Sunshine Coast is a foodie haven that is rich in agricultural history, with a sub-tropical climate, sun-drenched days, reliable rainfall, rich soils and clean air with a thriving value add processing industry.

Sunshine Coast exhibitors at Fine Food Australia will showcase a range of world class, innovative products including:

  • Gourmet Garden: Australia’s most visible retail product in the world has an innovative range of herb pastes, lightly dried herbs, spices and seasonings.
  • QCamel: Who knew that camel milk was not only a viable product, but nature’s healthiest milk AND produced on the Sunshine Coast? QCamel is committed to organic, ethical and sustainable farming practices.
  • COYO®: Their organic award winning coconut milk yoghurt and ice creams are not only renowned for their unbeatable quality, taste and health benefits, but are a favourite product of celebrity chef Nigella Lawson and have been featured heavily across the UK media.
  • The Country Chef Bakery Co: Not only do they use eight million Queensland bananas each year in their famous Banana Bread, they’ve just opened the largest pavlova factory in the Southern Hemisphere.
  • Montville Coffee: A multi award-winning Fairtrade Organic coffee roaster with a range of whole bean and ground coffee launching a hand-crafted Monty Organic Cold Brew Concentrate. Enjoy their memorable coffee experiences and contribute to using businesses as a force for good.
  • Freeze Dry Industries: Patented world class commercial freeze drying technology, adding value to otherwise perishable foods such as fruit, ice cream, cheese and even camel milk.

Sunshine Coast Council Economic Development and Innovation Portfolio Cr Steve Robinson said Fine Food Australia provided an incredible opportunity to showcase some of the region’s finest foods on a national stage.

“The food and agribusiness industry on the Sunshine Coast continues to grow. It is now worth $670 million and features more than 900 companies, including some of Australia’s leading food innovators and exporters,” Cr Robinson said.

“Our support to these companies and partnership with FAN is also vital to support our export and employment growth and we look forward to showing the rest of Australia what’s here and our supportive business environment at Fine Food Australia.

“So, while you may be tempted by the fruits of another region’s produce while visiting Fine Food Australia, follow your nose and head directly to the Sunshine Coast’s exhibitors who will delight you with their exceptional flair for exquisite fayre.”

Food & Agribusiness Network (FAN) general manager Emma Greenhatch said the Sunshine Coast has become a thriving food production and processing location, with a strong culture of collaboration and innovation.

“The Sunshine Coast is an ideal location to honour the harvest and join the flavour destination revolution,” Emma said.

“The local food and agribusiness industry on the Sunshine Coast could very well be Australia’s best kept secret, with world class naturally refreshing produce created by talented local artisans and innovators.”

For more information about Fine Food Australia visit finefoodaustralia.com.au.

Jen No Comments

Spotlight on Sunshine Coast at Regional Flavours

Over 100,000 people attended Regional Flavours in Brisbane on the 15-16 July with foodies from all over Australia wanting a bite of Sunshine Coast Produce. FAN, in collaboration with Sunshine Coast Council and Visit Sunshine Coast hosted a regional hub – “Flavours of the Sunshine Coast”, and attendees were drawn in by the food from our region with genuine excitement about the location it was from.

FAN General Manager Emma Greenhatch attended the event, and returned with success stories for each of our 10 FAN members who showcased their produce at the event. “They all had a phenomenal couple of days, and it was an opportunity for them to put their products in front of consumers from Brisbane and interstate. Getting these companies out of the region to showcase what they have got to national and international markets is really key and what we’re driving hard on. The exposure promotes the depth and diversity of businesses we’ve got, and will attract others to set up in the region”.

Highlights from our FAN members at Regional Flavours;

  • Woombye Cheese had their best 2 days of trading ever and sold out both days – moving more than 1,500 pieces of cheese.
  • Ten Acres sold 350 loaves of sourdough bread, and their marmalade was also a huge hit.
  • QCamel sold out of their milk with 3,000 people who have never tried Camel milk sampling their product and becoming potential new customers!
  • Kokopod’s most popular chocolate was the honeycomb, also selling out!
  • Maleny Black Angus Beef used 4,000 toothpicks, sampling their sausages and beef burgers
  • The Fresh Chai Co. sold more than 1,000 packets of chai and had 1,000 100% satisfied customers

Check out some great images from the event below.

Jen No Comments

Connecting with our Farmers & Our Food; How to run a successful farm gate

Increasingly millennials and savvy consumers are speaking with their feet and wanting to know where their food comes from, and how it is grown and raised. They want to hear the story and the provenance! For primary producers, this provides an opportunity to hop on the band wagon and provide a unique and memorable experience for foodies looking to connect with the source.

Sally Hookey from Hinterland Feijoas is putting her local Sunshine Coast farm on the food tourist map and generating extra income in the process. Tea, coffee and chocolate feijoa cake are always on the menu at the farm’s cute little retro caravan, ‘Myrtle’ and you can purchase other gourmet feijoa products from her artisan farm gift shop. The fresh, luscious tree-ripened, certified-organic fruit is a sell out every season!

“Lots of people visit the farm every week and are interested in our lifestyle. People are wanting to connect with where their food comes from, and appreciate the opportunity to see a working farm. Our farm gate gives us a year-round offering, minimizing the risk of seasonality and diversifying our product range. We are happy to share our learnings on how farmers can look at alternative ways to market and additional opportunities for sales” – Sally Hookey

At this workshop Sally and her husband, Peter Heineger will share their journey including the challenges and rewards. FAN Director and commercial & corporate lawyer, Tony Sowden will also be providing information about the regulations and legal requirements for farm gate enterprises.

HOW TO RUN A SUCCESSFUL FARM GATE // EVENT DETAILS
Friday 14 July
Workshop; 9:30 – 11:15am | Farm Tour; 11:15am
Hinterland Feijoas
131 Browns Road
Belli Park, QLD 4562

Tickets are available for FAN members & non-members here

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Cleantech Effect 2017

Following on from the inspiration shared by the Ogilvie Group at FAN’s recent ‘Let’s talk about Waste’ event, the Cleantech Effect 2017 offers a networking and educational opportunity for FAN members to discover solutions that can offer both cost savings and improved performance.

Sunshine Coast Council in partnership with Cleantech Industries Sunshine Coast invite you to:

The Cleantech Effect 2017 – “Designing Our Future”

Challenge your thinking around how we address our built environment with keynote speakers Dr Keith Suter (global futurist and media commentator) and Peter Maddison (multi-award winning architect and host of Grand Designs Australia).

Lake Kawana Community Centre
Wednesday 23 August 2017 12.00–5.30pm
Networking drinks 5.30–7.30pm
  • Connect with key decision makers and innovators in the South East Queensland Cleantech Industry.
  • Dynamic 15-30 minute sessions with experts, case studies and panel sessions.
  • Over 25 exhibitor stands sharing knowledge on smarter energy, water and waste solutions.
  • Delicious lunch of locally-sourced produce and networking drinks.

Learn how to create sustainable communities, discover the latest technologies and hear the stories from exciting new businesses that we should all be doing business with.

Cost: Tickets are an inclusive $89

For more information, exhibitor, sponsor and delegate enquiries, visit www.cleantecheffect.com

Can’t make the entire day? As a special offer, FAN members are invited to the networking and exhibitors showcase event from 5.30-7.30pm as complimentary guests – to register your interest email the [email protected]

Emba Group No Comments

FAN heads to Fine Food Sydney

In September this year nine FAN members will head to Sydney to take part in Fine Food on a Sunshine Coast stand. The event, held between 11-14 September, is a showcase of the food industry’s latest products and attracts national and international buyers from restaurants, cafes, bakeries, retailers, caterers, bars, hotels and other food businesses.

This year Commercial Drinks, an industry event dedicated to bars and venues, will run alongside Fine Food and showcase top craft and artisan beer, wine and spirits brands. With more than 30,000 trade visitors expected to attend the event, Fine Food is a significant opportunity for our industry to spread their wings beyond the region.

In addition to being able to explore new market opportunities and gather valuable feedback about their products, the participating businesses will benefit from being exposed to over 1,000 exhibiting brands and have the opportunity to discover new tastes, learn and network.

Of the 11 companies co-exhibiting and providing product for a product display on the stand, FAN is delighted that nine are FAN members. They are:
Walter’s Artisan Bread
COYO
Montville Coffee
Belladotti
QCamel
KOKOPOD Chocolate
Kenilworth Country Foods
SunLife Superfoods
The Country Chef Bakery Co.

Fine Food’s Event Director Minnie Constan will be visiting the Sunshine Coast on 3 August to meet with our exhibitors and share her tips for getting the most out of the event.

Other FAN members who will have their own stand at the event include Gourmet Garden and The Fresh Chai Co.

This year’s delegation has been made possible thanks to a partnership between the Sunshine Coast Council and FAN. In future years we hope to open up opportunities for exhibitors in the Greater Sunshine Coast region.

Amy Clarke No Comments

Sunshine Coast Embraces Circular Economy Principles

The Circular Experiment is a Sunshine Coast based business formed to assist small businesses to both reduce their costs and improve their profits by better planning and management of materials and resources used during their operation through the implementation of circular economy principles; Resource efficiency, incentivised return, servitisation, return logistics, asset management, and innovative technology solutions.

The Circular Experiment is the brain child of two local Sunshine Coast sisters, Jaine and Ashleigh Morris. Ashleigh was alive with equal amounts of passion and frustration about Australia’s current economic climate and was trying to find her path moving forward, at this stage Jaine was intent on living an authentic life and giving back to her local community. In a perfect combination of timing and gumption the sisters decided that the time was now for Australia to embrace circularity and if no one else was going to step up and drive it forward then they would. From that fateful day in March The Circular Experiment, driven by Jaine and Ashleigh’s incredible hard work and tenacity, has progressed from strength to strength.

Ocean Street in the CBD of the Sunshine Coast has been selected for The Circular Experiment’s first 6-month proof of concept business project. The Ocean Street Project will work at the street and individual business level to assess, plan, implement and evaluate the application of circular economy principles. Ocean Street has over 50 diverse small businesses from cafes to hairdressers that present different inputs and outputs and require unique solutions. As these businesses are common in shopping precincts across Australia the outcomes and solutions are intended to be used to design a business model that can be applied at scale.

“Where does your product end up?” Ashleigh poses this question to businesses along the supply chain and is often met with a shrug of the shoulders or dismissive gazes. In an effort to answer his question and reduce the amount of food waste being landfilled from Ocean Street, The Circular Experiment has collaborated with Spare Harvest, a sharing platform designed to be the initial stop gap in the creation of food waste and with Earth Born in Palmwoods, to turn the remaining food scraps and biodegradable packaging into high quality compost. “Thinking about food ‘waste’ as a resource has enabled us to look at where we can create value at all stops along the supply chain and keep this resource circulating in the system – a core value underpinning the circular economy.” Jaine says.