“Sharing a Recipe for Innovation” – Gourmet Garden’s Innovation Journey

March 21, 2018

FAN’s Chair, Jacqui Wilson-Smith was the 2017 QLD AgriFutures™ Rural Women’s Award Winner. Jacqui was awarded a bursary for $10,000, which she has channelled into producing a video documentary designed for FAN members to learn from titled “Sharing a Recipe for Innovation” .

The documentary brings to life the story of how Gourmet Garden became a customer focused, collaborative team of innovators adding value to fresh herbs & spices through the adoption of Design Thinking processes.

Jacqui says that rural woman have been sharing cooking recipes for generations, to help each other avoid common mistakes and to fast track each other to enjoy tasty results. Sharing Innovation recipes is just like that! Jacqui hopes that the initiative will inspire other FAN members to also share their innovation stories and any useful skills and learnings that they have to offer other members.

In addition to the video documentary, FAN members will have access to a Design Thinking eLearning experience and a practical guide on how to use design thinking tools when innovating for food and agribusinesses in Australia.

The eLearning and guide will be released very soon, stay tuned!

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;



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.


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


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:


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


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


FAN Members shortlisted for elite dairy awards

December 6, 2017

They came, they saw, and they’ve tasted over 400 of Australia’s best dairy products, and now, the judges of the prestigious Australian Grand Dairy Awards have announced the following FAN Members as finalists:

  • Woombye Cheese Company for their Woombye Blackall Gold Washed Rind (Washed Rind category)
  • Maleny Dairies for their Farmers Choice Guernsey Non-Homogenised Full Cream Milk (Milk category)

The producers are celebrating earning a place in the top three of the best washed rind, and milks in Australia. They are one of 54 producers of cheese, ice cream, milk, yoghurt, gelato and more who have made it through as finalists in the Australian Grand Dairy Awards.

Fellow QLD producer The Natural Yoghurt Company have also been shortlisted for their George’s Authentic Greek Yoghurt Apple & Cinnamon (Flavoured Yoghurts category)

Now in their 19th year, the Australian Grand Dairy Awards are the grand final of dairy awards – recognising quality, excellence and the distinguished skills of local Australian producers who create the highest quality products in the country. Being named a finalist with the chance to take home the Champion title in these prestigious Awards is the highest possible accolade for a dairy producer.

Over two days, over 400 gold medal winning Australian products were put through a rigorous test by a panel of 24 judges. Renowned dairy educators Russell Smith and Mark Livermore led a panel of technical experts, chefs, retailers and flavour specialists to assess presentation, texture, flavour and aroma to shortlist the top three in each class crowning them the 2018 finalists.

From flavoured yoghurt, to mouth-watering ice-creams, delectable chocolate milks and tongue-tingling cheddars, the 2018 finalist list features producers big and small from every corner of the country.

“We are excited to announce the stellar line up of 2018 finalists. The awards celebrate quality and excellence in delicious dairy produce, but we also want to encourage Australian’s to take a moment to recognise the skills and dedication of the many people who craft these products,” says Amanda Menegazzo, convener of the Australian Grand Dairy Awards.

“It’s incredible to think that the array of finalists – from spicy blue cheese to tangy passionfruit yoghurt and sweet fig and mascarpone gelato – all start with one amazing ingredient, quality Australian milk. These awards would not exist without the contribution of the passionate Australian dairy farmers who produce it.”

While the experts have already had their say, there is one award they can’t determine, the country’s favourite dairy product, the 2018 People’s Choice Award.  Dairy lovers from around the country are encouraged to throw their support behind their favourite finalist and cast their vote at peopleschoiceaward.legendairy.com.au. What’s more, simply by voting, consumers go into the draw to win a year’s supply of award winning cheese!

The winning producer of the Australian Grand Dairy Awards People’s Choice Award, as well as the top product in each dairy and cheese category will be revealed in February, along with an overall dairy and cheese Grand Champion.   

About the Australian Grand Dairy Awards

The Australian Grand Dairy Awards recognise and reward excellence and quality in Australian dairy produce, paying tribute to the achievements of the highly-skilled specialists who develop and make these products. Created in 1999, the Australian Grand Dairy Awards are Australia’s most prestigious national dairy awards and the highest accolade for Australian dairy producers.

Visit http://www.legendairy.com.au/dairyawards for more information

About Woombye Cheese Company

Woombye Cheese Company believes the Sunshine Coast hinterland is the perfect place to make cheese, and who are we to disagree? With panoramic views of undulating green hills, creeks and bushland, it’s a lush setting. Originally founded by Graeme and Karen Paynter in 2013, Woombye Cheese Company is still family owned and has added a range of Australian favourites to its repertoire, including camembert, brie and feta.

About Maleny Dairies

Maleny Dairies has been home to Guernsey cows since the farm began operating in 1948. The dairy is proud of its commitment to caring for their animals and the land they live on, and believe the cows’ happiness is crucial to creating the best quality, delicious Australian milk.

About The Natural Yoghurt Company

The Natural Yoghurt Company is Queensland owned and made. The company prides itself on the locally produced milk it uses across its product range, which results in fresh and wholesome food which hasn’t travelled thousands of kilometres from farm to fridge.

ANZ releases “Opportunity Asia” Report 2017

November 21, 2017

ANZ has recently released its ‘Opportunity Asia Report for 2017’ that has a focus on food. This is the third consecutive year that ANZ has engaged EY Sweeney to survey 1,000 business decision-makers to capture their sentiments and experiences to create a roadmap for doing business in Asia.

The demand for quality Australian products and services from our Asian neighbours has never been greater, with the fastest growing region in the world demonstrating a growing appetite for Australian exports. China is clearly leading this trend, with an estimated 500 million people entering the middle class over the next decade. But the demand for high quality goods extends beyond China, with emerging Asian markets also demanding high quality goods – which Australia can provide.

The insights and benefits quoted in this report reflect business owners from small to medium enterprises (SMEs) right through to large corporates, covering the views of businesses with well-established Asian operations as well as those yet to start their international expansion.

The findings are very encouraging for Australian businesses considering Asian markets and the benefits for the broader Australian economy will be significant. This year’s report examines the exciting upside potential for local jobs growth required by the Australian business sector acting on global aspirations.

The report features case studies showcasing Australian businesses at various stages of international expansion. There is nothing better than hearing directly from business leaders about their experiences assessing, planning and executing into new international markets.

In recognition of the challenges associated with being successful in Asian markets, earlier this year ANZ developed Be Trade Ready (betradeready.anz.com) in collaboration with the Export Council of Australia, to help Australian businesses assess and plan for their international expansion.


If anyone would like to know more about ‘Be Trade Ready’ please contact:

Michael Clauson | ANZ | Senior Relationship Manager | Business Banking
8 Innovation Parkway, Birtinya QLD 4575, Australia
Phone: +61 7 5346 1982 | Mobile: +61 411 023 533| Fax: +61 7 5346 1998| www.anz.com

PinkBlush – A new variety of custard apple needs your feedback!

November 21, 2017

In the picturesque Sunshine Coast region, a welcomed discovery at Robert and Karen Martin’s orchard at Glass House Mountains revealed the conception of a new variety of Custard Apple.

This naturally occurring wonder saw “PinksBlush” nurture and develop as an individual branch on a different variety of custard apple tree on the Martin’s orchard and is now secured under the Plant Breeder’s Rights Scheme.

Most excitedly, this new variety exhibits some unique points of difference.  Other custard apple varieties are generally green in colour.  “PinksBlush” however, showcases a rich tapestry of pastel colours on the shoulder of the skin that resembles a blush-like appearance.   But more significantly, the fruit harvest period for “PinksBlush” occurs from September to December, effectively extending the Australian Custard Apple season by approximately 4 months.

Recently, Karen was awarded a place in the Young Food Innovators program. Young Food Innovators is a 12-month intensive, accelerated program to support and build the capacity of people from the red meat, horticulture and pork primary producer sectors.

This program is supported by Hort Innovation Australia and MLA Donor Company, through funding from the Australian Government Department of Agriculture and Water Resources as part of its Rural R&D for Profit program.

As part of this program, Karen will complete her major project focussing on branding and integrated marketing strategies for “PinksBlush”.   Through design led thinking, Karen will test out ideas and bring her new product to life.

Market and consumer insights will be critical to understand just what consumers think of her new product, but Karen needs your help.  If you are interested in testing “PinksBlush” and offering your feedback, please contact Karen on 0456 789 380 for further information.


Future of Farming Workshop attracts 60 local farmers

October 17, 2017

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 Greater 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 AgronomistChemical 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.