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Australasian Regional Food Cultures and Networks Conference


Steve Spinks
10 November 2011

The term ‘paddock to plate’ has been gaining currency in the Australian psyche in recent years as consumers put more emphasis on wanting to know where their food comes from.

This renewal in interest in food origin, how it is produced and by whom, its impact on our lives and environment, and the impact on our culture as well as food security, will be some of the themes discussed at the inaugural Australasian Regional Food Cultures and Networks Conference which will be held at Peppers Resort, Kingscliff, on November 29 and 30, organised by Southern Cross University’s School of Tourism and Hospitality Management.

The conference brings academics and industry together across a number of areas including food production, distribution, marketing, tourism and hospitality to explore the key issues and opportunities for regional food.

The director of the Higher Degree Research Unit at Southern Cross University, Professor Philip Hayward, said the conference would specifically address local networking issues.

“Local food and low food miles are desirable. But to make local food industries sustainable we have to thoroughly rethink distribution systems, branding and appellation and how producers network with other members of the local supply chain,” he said.

“This conference brings together a wide range of experts to address these issues and build collaborative industry and academic research enterprises to foster these.”

School of Tourism and Hospitality Management Associate Professor Kevin Markwell said he believed regional food could become an engine for tourism.

“We will discuss how food styles and products help create distinctiveness between regions which then has flow on effects in terms of attracting tourists to regions to sample distinctive cuisine,” he said.

The conference will have a number of prominent keynote speakers including Kate Carnell, the chief executive of the Australian Food and Grocery Council; Robin Shaw, of the Winemakers Federation of Australia; Professor Elspeth Probyn, a Professor in Gender and Cultural Studies at Sydney University; Robert Heazlewood, the executive director of Brand Tasmania Council; Joanna Savill, a director with The Crave Sydney International Food Festival; and Belinda Jeffery, an award-winning TV food presenter, author, freelance writer, restaurant reviewer and cooking teacher.

There is a pre-conference tour on Monday November 28 exploring the region’s dairy industry and a post-conference session on Thursday December 1 on culinary tourism and agritourism.

Photo: Professor Philip Hayward