FAN-tastic year for Sunshine Coast foodies, farmers
WHEN the Food and Agribusiness Network formed a year ago, it was with the humble purpose of providing networking opportunities for members while building a positive culture around the vision that the Coast and region's food producing capacity would double by 2030.
As it enters its second year, the not-for-profit organisation has 130 business members, a number of paid staff and an eight-member strategy committee.
It's fair to say FAN "smashed its early goals out of the park”, chairman Jacqui Wilson-Smith agreed.
She said the organisation had generated a lot of momentum and positivity in the sector since it launched in December 2015.
"We're so delighted that in such a short space of time really it has the traction and engagement that it does,” she said.
"Obviously there's a real need for people to collaborate and connect with each other.”
She said it had been rewarding for the small organising team to see the membership become more active, with relationships forming around the common goal of advancing the food growing and manufacturing sector in the Sunshine Coast region.
The personal connections formed by spending time at workshops and events FAN organised soon became professional ones for many members, with cafes such as Hungry Feel in Buderim and restaurants including Bohemian Bungalow (Boho to its friends) in Eumundi using the network to source great locally grown produce and goods.
The reputation of workshops held by FAN had reached far and wide, with farmers as far as Kingaroy travelling to the Coast to attend.
"Obviously the demand goes beyond the greater Sunshine Coast,” Ms Wilson-Smith said. "It's great to see the Sunshine Coast leading the way.”
The vision: To create a more prosperous and connected food and agribusiness industry that celebrates the provenance and innovation of our region locally and globally. Visit www.foodagribusiness.org.au
- 130 members joined in the first year
- 40 sponsors
- 400 people attended FAN's networking events
- 200 people have increased their business skills at FAN's workshops