A new project aimed at forging a ‘paddock-to-plate’ network between farmers, producers, chefs and consumers was launched in the Tweed this week.
The Tweed Fresh initiative launched in the picturesque village of Tyalgum on Wednesday is funded by Destination Tweed and co-ordinated by the Caldera Institute to ‘facilitate new growth opportunities for the Tweed’s food industries’.
Destination Tweed CEO Bill Tatchell said that ‘essentially, the goal of Tweed Fresh is to support and develop a local Tweed food system’.
Mr Tatchell said it did this by ‘enhancing the supply and distribution networks from local growers to local end-users, whether they’re consumers buying Tweed-grown fruits and vegetables to use in their own kitchens or cafes and restaurants featuring Tweed produce on their menus’.
‘As part of this process, we will be looking at ways to educate, inform and promote the produce that is available locally and what’s in season at different times throughout the year.
‘This may involve an accreditation system where authentic local produce is identified by a Tweed Fresh logo or web-based information on seasonal supplies and outlets.
‘We really want to create a mindset among local shoppers and food outlets whereby they actively seek out and purchase Tweed-grown produce; that they know what’s in season and they know where they can buy the freshest supplies.
‘In addition to increasing local demand, Tweed Fresh will also build on the emerging reputation of our food experiences as a tourist attraction. This will involve the development of food trail itineraries and, potentially, an annual food-focused festival or event, as well as broad-based collaborative marketing and PR opportunities.’
The Tweed Fresh initiative evolved as a result of the 2009 community-based Caldera Economic Development Project, which identified strong community support for agribusiness and the development of food-related tourism as a key element for the development of a sustainable economic future for the Tweed.
Since then, Destination Tweed, the Caldera Institute and the Murwillumbah and District Business Chamber have worked in partnership with local producers and businesses on a number of successful initiatives, such as the establishment of the weekly Caldera Farmers’ Markets.
‘Tweed Fresh formalises this partnership and takes it to a new level where we can adopt a strategic, fully co-ordinated approach encompassing all aspects of the Tweed’s food sector,’ said Mr Tatchell.
‘Ultimately, it is all about expanding the income potential and employment prospects for everyone involved – from our farmers, distributors and food retailers through to farm workers, restaurant attendants and food store staff.’
Photo supplied by Destination Tweed