Banding together for regional branding
By Reef Catchments
With self-reliance and ability to problem solve with limited resources, what can a group of Mackay Whitsunday Isaac farmers in Queensland achieve together?
When it comes to the Greater Whitsunday Food Network, the answer is a thriving farmers market, annual sold out farm to plate dinners, local produce in restaurants around the region and best of all, profitable farming enterprises, employing local people.
The network is a collaboration of local farmers with a vision to strengthen agriculture using recognisable regional branding. Over three years since initial conception of a working group, they have gathered support from individuals, consumers and all levels of government, to bring fresh, seasonal, local produce onto tables.
Greater Whitsunday Food Network members Kell & Mandy Tennent, President Deb McLucas and Regional Landcare Facilitator Julia Kasiske at the Innovative Grazing Networking Farm Tour, Eungella outside of Mackay.
This year, the addition of a farm to plate bus tour will provide an opportunity to strengthen relationships between food lovers and producers. Regional Landcare Facilitator, Juliane Kasiske, is supporting the tour by bringing sustainable land management practice to the forefront as well as identifying successful marketing strategies.
Together, the network hopes to demonstrate the value of produce by discussing the pressures of farming and seeing first hand the realities of farm life. It’s also about helping farmers build direct relationships with customers and have confidence to produce food to meet that market. Regional food ambassador Matt Golinski and ABC Landline’s Pip Courtney will also be presenting their perspectives on the local food movement.
In May, our Regional Landcare Facilitator collaborated with the Network members Kell and Mandy Tennent of Cloudbreak Lowline Eungella Beef in an Innovative Grazing Networking Farm Tour. These collaborations demonstrate the importance of shared knowledge and peer support when taking greater ownership over the supply chain, through direct sales. A sense of community and cooperation over competition is proving successful for the network in the Greater Whitsunday Region.
For more information on the network visit www.greaterwhitsundayfood.org.au, or to learn more about our Regional Landcare Facilitator visit http://reefcatchments.com.au/land/regional-landcare-facilitator/.