Farmers take control of local supply chain


Food producers in the Toowoomba region of Queensland take the local food chain into their own hands to increase sales

Farmers take control of local supply chain
Farmers take control of local supply chain

January 20, 2012

In what they say is an Australian first, the South Eastern Queensland Regional Food Network, in partnership with local councils, tourism organisations and the government will help farmers in the region to develop alternative supply options for their product.

The farmers will develop a short supply chain through their local food system to increase their customer base and profits using the skills and information provided by upcoming "Shed Meetings" in Applethorpe and Toowoomba.

Presented by the South Eastern Queensland Country (SEQC) Regional Food Network, the meetings aim to provide the local farmers with the
information
and skills tothey need
connect to the local food supply chain and maximise opportunities for selling their products locally.

"A regional food system is a concept which provides an alternative to the central market system," explains the SEQC Regional Food Network’s Rose Wright, who will facilitate the shed meetings.

"It is a locally based trading system that shortens the distance between consumers and producers achieving economic, social and environmental sustainability outcomes."


Southern Downs producer Dave Evans is enthusiastic about the possibilities that this concept could bring to his business.

"We pay a fortune in commissions to central markets to be told one day our produce is good, next day it’s not, too small, not small enough and we pray to get a cheque," he says.

"It’s time for us to consider investing in a system which supports ourselves. An alternative to fall back on – to get a bit back. I’m ready to be a price maker instead of a price taker."




Alaringa Organics’ Ian Moss (pictured) is another local producer who supports the idea.

"It wasn’t until I attended the last Regional Food Network shed meeting that I realised they are not trying to take all of my produce and sell it for me but rather play ‘match maker’," he says.

"I can still sell the majority of my produce as I always have and start feeding some into this new venture as the demand arises. It also gives me a chance to diversify a little and get another source of income from the farm."


Tthis is the first time we’ve had local, state and federal support for this type of thing," another farmer comments.

"If we don’t jump on board now – it could be too late. I’m sick of chasing my tail!"


Southern Downs/Granite shed meetings to be held:

Tuesday February 7, 3-5pm at Applethorpe Research Station
Wednesday February
8,
3-5pm, at the DEEDI conference facilities, 203 Tor St, Toowoomba

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