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Media Release: Backing Local Farmers

RURAL BANK AND Woombye and District Community Bank® BACKING LOCAL FARMERS

As the only Australian-owned and operated dedicated agribusiness bank in the country, Rural Bank is backing farmers and the farming community in conjunction with the Woombye and District Community Bank® branch of Bendigo Bank.

A wholly-owned member of the Bendigo Bank family, Rural Bank is operated entirely from Australian shores providing a range of tools that work for the financial demands of all farmers.

Rural Bank’s partnership with local Bendigo Bank and Community Bank® branches ensures ease of access to specialist farm finance solutions and expertise in the community and on the farm, as well as contributing to the local community via the Community Bank® model.

Rural Bank Relationship Manager, Ian Herd said Rural Bank’s close association with Woombye and District Community Bank® provides a local platform from which to help agribusinesses in the region succeed.

“Woombye and District’s Community Bank® branch shares our understanding of the unique needs and demands of farming customers and communities in the Sunshine Coast and Wide Bay region,” Ian Herd said.

“We are backing farmers to help them harness seasonal opportunities and contribute to overall growth in the area.”

“When you choose Rural Bank, you can be confident that you are supporting the local community and country Australia while being backed by the security of a successful, well-managed financial institution,” Ian said.

Ian has more than 25 years of banking experience, including extensive expertise with a diverse range of farming enterprises.

Woombye and District Community Bank® Branch Manager, Hayley Saunders said the branch enjoyed having the opportunity to support the local farming sector.

“As a member of the community of Woombye and surrounding districts, we understand the seasonal challenges and opportunities that local farmers are presented with,” Hayley Saunders said.

“Whether it is for capital improvements, seasonal input purchases or expanding land holdings, Rural Bank’s financial tools provide the flexibility to make quick decisions based on individual needs at any particular time.

“And when you bank with Woombye and District Community Bank® branch you’ll be helping your community to prosper, by keeping local money and local business in your community – that’s good news for everybody,” Meagan said.

For more information about Woombye and District Bank’s community projects, visit

To find out more about Rural Bank’s specialist farm finance tools, contact Ian Herd on 0409 229 590 or Hayley Saunders on 0429 361 652 to arrange an on farm visit.

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The Spirit House expansion plans

FAN members The Spirit House are planning an expansion to the existing restaurant with a brand new dining room, including a courtyard and bar.

In an article on the Sunshine Coast Daily the restaurant owners gave some details on the expansion, which sounds like it is sure to impress diners and also be an important next stage for one of the Sunshine Coast’s most popular and renowned restaurants.

We’re excited to check out the changes, which are likely to be completed by Christmas… it might just be a good excuse to visit if it’s been a while!

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Startup Demo Day for Talented Entrepreneurs

2 August 2016 @10am – 12:30pm

Local entrepreneurial startups showcase their innovative food, agribusiness and wellbeing products.


Sunshine Coast Innovation Centre
The Sunshine Coast’s most talented entrepreneurs in the food, agribusiness and wellbeing sectors will display their unique products and launch their businesses at the first of a series of local Startup Demo Days on Tuesday 2 August at the Innovation Centre Sunshine Coast.


Innovation Centre CEO, Mark Paddenburg says the collaborative approach with its partners – Spark Bureau, RDA, Advance Queensland, Food and Network Association (FAN) and Four Ingredients – brings depth to the Startup Demo Day series, enhances our entrepreneurial ecosystem and contributes to regional economic growth.


“Our combined 50-plus members of the Innovation Centre and Spark Bureau are from a diverse range of business sectors and we are excited to launch the Startup Demo Day series – commencing with a focus on food, agriculture and wellbeing. Innovative and successful companies like Gourmet Garden have tapped global markets and Startup Demo Day is aimed at nurturing the next generation of entrepreneurs in this dynamic industry sector.”


Some of the exciting products and services to be officially launched for the first time at the Startup Demo Day include quality pre-prepared meals, dried fruits, skincare products, freshly pressed juices, tonics, pet treats, world’s first clip-together outdoor crockery, new-generation bee hive and a produce sharing platform. Startup Demo Day provides a great opportunity for the community and investors to gain first-hand knowledge of these exciting businesses hot off the shelf.


“In these competitive and challenging times, we need to assist our entrepreneurs to build their profile, attract new customers and connect with potential partners and investors,” Mr Paddenburg said.


Startup Demo Day includes presentations by key stakeholders, demonstrations by nine entrepreneurs and
interactive exhibits including food sampling, market stall lunch and lots of networking. Startup Demo Day
presenters include:

 Russell Gibbons, Huds and Toke
 Ann Ross, Hive Haven
 Michael Buckley, SunLife Superfoods
 Chris Wands, WandsPro
 Helen Andrews, Spare Harvest
 Mathew Walker – Crazy Fresh
 Shelley Devine, Devine Bodies
 Kelly Briese, Briese Botanicals
 Chanelle Louise, Cilk


Startup Demo Day is a free event on Tuesday 2nd August, 10 am to 12.30pm, followed by a light lunch.

RSVP essential!

Venue: Innovation Centre Boardroom, Sippy Downs, Queensland.
For more detail: [email protected] Mobile: 0408 799 276

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Innovation & Collaboration, go hand in hand. Why?

By Jacqueline Wilson-Smith, Head of Innovation & Marketing, Gourmet Garden & FAN director

Through my experience as an innovation project leader over the past 20 years both internationally (Hardy’s Wines, Echo Falls, Starbucks, Kraft) and locally, (Gourmet Garden, Nutworks, Wimmers & Buderim Ginger) I have learnt the hard way.  To take a good idea and to transform it into an innovation, the harsh reality is you need to figure out pretty quickly who you need collaborate with.  This means both within your business and most importantly outside of your business too, with partners, customers, distributors and advertisers, just to name a few.

Interestingly, I have also discovered that when I collaborate with people who offer diversity of thought, I not only end up with better, more unique and creative solutions, but also end up finding different and more interesting problems to solve, including uncovering latent needs. I must be a bit of a nerd on this topic as finding latent needs – problems that people don’t even know they have yet – is the kind of thing that really gets me jumping out of bed each morning.

I love the quote from Raymond Belbin, “Nobody’s perfect – but a team can be”. This builds in the premise of collective intelligence. When I team up with complementary people who are wired differently to me, I find collectively we double or triple our intellectual capacity, to not only solve problems, but also to find problems.

Over the past 5 years I have become a practicing advocate of “Design Thinking” and this has become the backbone to the innovation program at Gourmet Garden.

So what is it? Essentially “Design Thinking” emerged out of the design world in the 70’s as a process used by architects, designers & engineers to innovate using “solution-focused” ideas and then testing them. In the 1990’s, the founders of IDEO adapted it for business purposes. In Australia, Professor Sam Buculo at UTS leads a team investigating the value of it to the Australia economy.
Here’s a couple of video clips from Sam Buculo to explain.

I believe that design thinking processes can be used in practical sense for the FAN membership base to fast-track the art of collaborating within the network, help shift mind-sets from being just problem solvers into being problem finders too and to creatively visualize solutions that can be tested with customers through storytelling.

So instead of saying, ok I’ll work out how to sell my locally grown strawberries better, it’s asking why do people want locally grown strawberries anyway? When do they want them and why then? What is the problem you are trying to solve? Imagine what their latent needs could be? Is there a more creative solution that we haven’t thought about?

I believe there is a strong link between diversity of thought and creativity. If you are always looking at your business problems and opportunities either in solo or with the same people, who are similar to you, the chances of coming up with an idea that is unique is pretty bleak, because nobody is there to challenge the ingrained beliefs. Being a part of the FAN network may give you a chance to find people who think differently.

On the 26th July, at the FAN breakfast and ½ day workshop, I look forward to transferring some skills to FAN members that go hand in hand: Innovation & Collaboration.


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Food Network on board with provenance movement

PRESS RELEASE 16 June 2016


Food network on board with provenance movement


Australians are expressing growing concerns with where and how their food is created.


Recent reports show it’s also something the next generation is particularly concerned with.


In April 2016 ABC Rural reported “the stereotype (that young people do not care) is well out of date, with the youth of today asking more questions about their food than ever”.


According to Food and Agribusiness Network (FAN) General Manager Amy Clarke, the organisation has begun the process of examining how to collectively promote the region’s farmers and producers.


“The phrase for this approach is “provenance” and we know it’s important to our next generations,” says Ms Clarke.


“The most famous example of provenance in action is Champagne in France. Decades ago this region took action to protect its name and method by preventing other regions or countries using the word Champagne.


“That has strengthened and ultimately secured the Champagne brand.”


To kick off discussions, FAN is hosting a forum with well-­‐known industry personality Brodee-­‐Myers Cook, editor-­‐in-­‐chief for


FAN networking events are well subscribed so guests are asked to buy tickets online at


Harnessing Provenance

Tuesday 21 June 2016, 4pm – 7:30pm

The Ginger Factory, 50 Pioneer Road, Yandina



“FAN believes this is an important discussion to be had with industry. Provenance is about connecting consumers with their producers in a fundamental way. The consumer wants to know where their food is from, where and how it has been grown, processed and cooked,” says FAN Chairman, Andrew Eves-­‐Brown.


“Consumers value authenticity and will happily pay a premium if the product has strong provenance. As an industry I think we need to think about how we can communicate this better so that we can grow our sales and build our brands.

This applies at all levels, local, national and export.”


FAN membership base spans the depth of agribusiness industry and they encourage anyone involved from primary producers, through to processors and wholesalers, restaurants and caterers to become part of the network. FAN also represents the non-food part of agriculture so if you are a plant nursery or flower grower you are also welcome to join.


For further information: Amy Clarke

FAN General Manager

Email: [email protected] M: 0438 272 247

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Harnessing Provenance – What telling the story of your ‘provenance’ can mean for your business

Words by Petra Frieser, Local Harvest and FAN Gold Sponsor.


FAN (Food & Agribusiness Network) has an upcoming networking event, Harnessing Provenance, on the 21st June 2016, which explores the topic of ‘Provenance’.

With keynote speaker Brodee Myers-Cook, Editor-in-chief of, FAN members (and anyone else who would like to come along) get the opportunity to discover some of the latest food trends and the importance of harnessing provenance and the role it plays in the lifestyle, aspirations and connections of everyday Australians – your consumers and customers.

Many would wonder, “What is exactly is ‘provenance’ and why is it so important?” So I thought I would get on my soapbox and tell you what it is and why it is so important to you as both a food producer and as a consumer, and why you should get involved in this great workshop.

Quite simply, ‘provenance’ is ‘the origin or source of something’.

With regards to food, essentially this means where your food comes from, or where it is grown, raised or reared.

Provenance also relates to authenticity. In the instance of fruit and vegetables, this can also mean whether or not it is ethically grown, sustainable, environmentally friendly, minimal footprint etc. With livestock, it extends to suggest that the livestock is ethically raised, and there is a regard to animal welfare and humanity.

Telling your story has never been more important.

It is making that reconnection with the producer, making it more than just a product. It is connecting people (the consumer) with the producer, and the passion that goes behind producing quality fresh food.

People are hungry to hear your story (pardon the pun). The consumer wants to know where there food is from, they want to know that it is ethically raised/produced, sustainable, filled with nutrition, and so much more. They want to be able to make the choice and choose local if local is an option, and know that they are purchasing a quality product.

Let’s go one step further and then tell them about the passion and love that goes into the creation of this product – I haven’t met one producer who is not passionate about what they do – it is why they do it. The consumer needs to know this – everyone loves a great story!

This is also the case for any industry – not just food related industries – but where food is concerned, it is the story that restaurateurs can convey on their menus, stores can relate on their promotional material and regions can share to their visitors.

Your story of provenance needs to be strong, to connect them with what you do as a producer or business to deliver the quality product that you do. What it entails to bring that product to your plate and the passion it takes to get it there.

Generally the consumer does not think much about the process everyday produce has to go through to its final destination at the dinner table. But there is a shift in thinking. With the recent events in the milk industry, it has demonstrated just how the collective mindset can be moved to support local if they are informed.

Therefore, the most important thing that you can do for your business is to define your story, know what it is and convey it to your consumers, so that they can easily identify where your product comes from and the passion behind it that has delivered it to their plate.

Consumers want to support local, they value authenticity and will happily pay a premium if the product has strong provenance. They just need to know how.

Brodee Myers-Cook takes a look at these connections and discusses what food means to Australians today, and the shifts in food trends and how you can leverage this information to help design the story of your provenance.

Understand the current food triggers of the consumer, the rise of the ‘food’tographer’, the meaning of buzzwords such as ‘foodology’ and what it can mean for your food business.

This is a going to be a great networking event and will be the beginning of a series of networking events and workshops on the topic and I urge all of you to participate and see what telling the story of your provenance can mean for your business. If you are not a food industry – come along anyway – everyone has a story. Learn how to leverage your story to result in more sales.

Harnessing Provenance
Tuesday 21st June 2016 – 4pm
The Ginger Factory – 50 Pioneer Road, Yandina, QLD

Members: $15
Non Members $40

Click to Book Tickets

Some great stories of provenance to read so you can think about what your story is:

Tamworth Flyers

Naturaleza Farm

Southern Cross Smallgoods

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Dairy farmers to rally at Parliament House for better deal

Queensland dairy farmers and their supporters will rally outside Queensland parliament house today to call on retailers to put an end to the $1 milk price war and to set a sustainable price for fresh milk that provides a sustainable return to dairy farming families right across the nation.

Queensland Dairyfarmers’ Organisation (QDO) President Brian Tessmann states “The best way for Queenslanders to support local Queensland dairy farmers is to buy branded milk and dairy products as it adds value to the product and ensures our farmers are paid the fair price at the farm gate they deserve.”

Find out more on the rally here!

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Social media workshop captivates FAN

FAN social media presentation

SOCIAL marketing guru Michelle Mason, of Social Tap, provided an enthralling presentation to the Food and Agribusiness Network.

The presentation, which involved food and agriculture business members from the Sunshine Coast (including Noosa), Moreton Bay and Gympie regions, was held at The Ginger Factory in Yandina

Top tips for social media success from the evening included do not overcomplicate it, find five things relevant to your audience and “behind-the-scenes” snapshots are excellent for generating a community of interest around your business.


Read Sunshine Coast Daily’s full story on how digital marketing can work for you


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New website helps farmers to navigate disaster support

Farmers will now have access to more simplified information about localised support during natural disasters and drought, thanks to a new website developed by the Queensland Farmers’ Federation (QFF) and funded by the Queensland Government.

The website presents the full cross-section of postcode specific financial and social wellbeing support available to farmers and primary producers, which will benefit the entire Queensland agriculture sector.

Agriculture Minister Leanne Donaldson commended QFF for developing this fantastic resource.

“During this record drought we have expanded financial and other assistance beyond farm business support to help farming families and farm communities,” Ms Donaldson said.

“This project has been funded from the Queensland Government’s Communities Assistance package and provides a handy central source to access the range of organisations providing assistance.” was constructed through funding from the Department of Communities Child Safety and Disability Services.

Communities Minister Shannon Fentiman said the useful new resource would help farmers access information more easily following a disaster.

“Queensland farmers are the cornerstone of our state which is why it is particularly important that we support them in crisis situations to make sure they can get back on their feet,” Ms Fentiman said.

QFF CEO Ruth Wade said the website allowed farmers and primary producers to input their postcode, select their industry and then see results and services specific to their local area which prioritises on-farm and industry specific advice and support.

“It can often be confusing and overwhelming when trying to access assistance during drought and natural disasters. Much of the assistance on offer comes from a variety of organisations and different levels of government and these can often be difficult to navigate,” Ms Wade said.

“What this website is designed to do is collate all these services and support networks into an easily negotiable, up to data set of localised results.

“QFF has worked closely with the Queensland Government and its industry member organisations to ensure we have delivered a service that will help everyday farmers access the support that is available to them.

“In Queensland we have had a long association with cyclones, floods and of course drought, with many farmers having to endure one event after another.”

Visit the website now:

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Mieke’s sprout-fed beef is a real treat

BEEF stud-cattle breeder and producer Mieke Fortune says prosperity and the economic strength of the region depends on our ability to support each other and primary producers.

“If you really want to leave your mark on this world, worry about your children, worry about your local community,” she said.

“The world would be a better place if everyone looked after their own community and spent their money there.”

Read full article on the Sunshine Coast Daily website