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Support for local farmers to help create foodie paradise


Zuleika Henderson
23 November 2009
With regions like the Gold Coast and the Tweed Valley on its doorstep, rural land holders in the Scenic Rim area might be considering how to make the most of tourism opportunities - and a series of upcoming field days are aiming to show them how.

Information and advice on how rural landowners can diversify into agritourism, nature-based or food tourism will be available at field days to be held by Southern Cross University in partnership with Scenic Rim Regional Council and Tourism Queensland on Tuesday, December 1 and Thursday, December 3.

The field days are the first part of a project announced last month by Queensland Tourism Minister Peter Lawlor to support local farmers in value-adding enterprises such as nature-based tourism related activities, on-farm experiences for leisure or education, manufacturing and sales at the farm door.

Rose Wright, manager Extension and Industry Development at Southern Cross University’s School of Tourism and Hospitality Management said the project was one of a series of similar schemes that had already helped hundreds of farmers across the country from Tropical North Queensland to the Yarra Valley determine whether a farm-based tourism business could work for them.

“Food tourism, or agritourism, can include food and wine trails, farm stays and farmers' markets, outback adventures, working holidays on farms, conservation volunteering or processing plant tours,” said Ms Wright.

“It allows farmers to diversify their income and promote their fresh produce by selling directly at the farm-gate or local markets, but the key is to get it right.

“The field days will give interested parties an insight into food, and nature-based tourism to help them decide if they have the potential to diversify.

“Tourism is not for everyone, but for those who do go down this path it can provide additional income and options for succession planning for members of the family – as well as luring more visitors to regional areas.

“We aim to deliver the project in a way that helps give people the skills and support they need to turn their tourism business ideas into reality in a focused way, whilst developing clusters of experiences and products based on the strengths of the region.”

A food and agritourism field day will take place on Tuesday, December 1, from 8.30am to 3pm and the food and nature-based tourism field day will take place on Thursday, December 3 from 9am to 3pm. Both field days are $10 per person per day including lunch and refreshments. To register, contact Tanya Lipus from the Scenic Rim Regional Council on (07) 5540 5281 or email your interest to [email protected]. Venue will be advised upon registration.

Photo: Rose Wright(high resolution image available on request)