Food tourism forum a must for farmers and food producers

Published 9 September 2008

The Northern Rivers has the potential to become renowned for its food, attracting visitors to the region and building strong regional brand recognition that is synonymous with quality - like the Margaret River or Barossa Valley - according to Rose Wright, industry development manager at Southern Cross University’s Australian Regional Tourism Research Centre.

So how do we make this happen? The keys to a successful regional agriculture and food sector are value adding and direct sales, according to Ms Wright.

To help farmers and food producers develop this vision, the University will be presenting the Northern Rivers Food Tourism Forum, this Thursday, September 11, at 2 pm at the Eltham Valley Pantry, Boat Harbour Road, Eltham.

The forum will explore the future for the region and how farmers can become part of the movement to establish the Northern Rivers as the next great ‘gourmet getaway’.

It is targeted at growers, producers and food ‘value-adders’ (such as nut processors, for example) to help them discover if their farm, or the foods they grow, have the potential to become part of a food tourism experience.

The event has been jointly sponsored by Southern Cross University and Member for Page, Janelle Saffin.

Federal Minister for Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Tony Burke, will be attending and special guest speakers include David Mason, team leader, urban agriculture, with the NSW Department of Primary Industry. Mr Mason is a Churchill Fellow and has been instrumental in the development of the Hawkesbury Harvest Food Tourism Region. Other speakers on the day will be Julie Rhodes, owner of the Eltham Valley Pantry, and Ms Wright.

“Come along and meet some of your fellow producers who have taken the plunge and are making the most of the opportunities that tourism presents to sell their produce,” Ms Wright said.

“You will learn how your farm, food business and the region can grow and diversify for a more sustainable future.”

RSVP to Kylie Causley, at Southern Cross University on 6626 9431.

Photo: Federal Minister for Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries, Tony Burke, will attend the Northern Rivers Food Tourism Forum.

Media contact: Rose Wright industry development manager, Australian Regional Tourism Research Centre, 0438 657 981 or Zoe Satherley, media officer, Southern Cross University, 6620 3144, 0439 132 095