New network to grow Coast’s food and agribusiness sector
  • Friday 04 December 2015

One of the Sunshine Coast’s key economic sectors will have its own membership-based, not-for-profit company following the launch of the Food and Agribusiness Network (FAN) this evening.

Chaired by Andrew Eves-Brown, the chief operating officer from one of the Coast’s major export success stories, Gourmet Garden, FAN has been established to support food and agribusiness operators in the greater Sunshine Coast region – from Moreton Bay to Gympie.

It will be officially launched by Mayor Mark Jamieson who said FAN would be a major assistance to producers and growers in one of the seven high-value industries identified in the Regional Economic Development Plan (REDS).

“This is a special day in the history of the greater Sunshine Coast region’s food and agribusiness sector,” Mayor Jamieson said.

“With the help, knowledge, expertise and professionalism that will exist in the Food and Agribusiness Network, our growers, producers and manufacturers will be able to tap into the increased demand for food and agricultural resources – both locally and globally.

“The REDS Food and Agribusiness Taskforce identified the opportunity to form a leadership group to improve communication and collaboration in agribusiness. FAN is a direct outcome of that work.

“Without Andrew’s leadership and passion, we wouldn’t have reached the point we are at today so quickly.

“Along with the REDS, he and Gourmet Garden have been the catalysts for the establishment of this network which is going to provide a pivotal point for information and connection.

"We’re looking forward to working alongside the Food and Agriculture Network with the joint purpose of helping the industry grow, adding to our emerging community of food exporting companies and creating more Sunshine Coast jobs and success stories.”

The launch of FAN comes on the back of Country Chef Bakery’s announcement just this week to invest a further $8 million locally and expand their workforce to over 100 fulltime staff - another sign of the maturing nature of the local industry.

Major FAN gold sponsors in its inaugural year include Gourmet Garden, Sunshine Tropical, Wimmers, COYO, Epicurean Products, Queensland Cold Logistics and the Country Chef Bakery.

This evening’s launch will be held at Gourmet Garden’s herb processing facility in Palmwoods and will include a factory tour, an outline of the vision for FAN by Andrew Eves-Brown and the Sunshine Coast University will share the key findings extracted from a recently conducted food and agribusiness research paper called “Building the Links”.

“The concept behind FAN is that together we can help grow the industry,” Mr Eves-Brown said.

“The Sunshine Coast epitomises the image that the food and agribusiness industry wants to portray. It represents the clean, fresh, sustainability of the area – the true Natural Advantage.

"FAN will be the meeting point where the food and agribusiness industry members are encouraged to meet, share ideas, innovate and collaborate to grow their business, and in so doing, the regional economy.

“We will grow to be the central point of contact for the industry, so by joining FAN there will be many benefits for its members and support for businesses affiliated to the industry.”