We are proud foodies on the Sunshine Coast, not just with eating and cooking but also growing. Many specialist and niche farms are popping up across the Sunshine Valley area and proving that agriculture is sustainable and appreciated by consumers. I am constantly impressed by local farmers creating new markets – from boutique herbs to organic microfarms and new and exotic fruits – that position the Sunshine Coast as a region of quality local produce.
Local farmers have also made an impact nationally after a series of ministerial forums I held on the coast directly shaped new Country of Origin labelling soon coming into effect. The Food and Agriculture Network (FAN) is actively promoting industry connections in its bid to create a more prosperous food and agriculture economy and double our food and agribusiness sector by 2030. With that in mind, I encourage anyone in the region who wants to take farming to the next level to consider applying for a Smart Farming Partnerships grant. The Federal Government is offering multi-year grants of between $250,000 and $4 million to put in place sustainable practices to improve soil conditions, vegetation and biodiversity in agriculture, fishing, aquafarming and farm forestry. The grants promote ‘next generation’ farming and encourage innovation in the area of sustainable land and water management. Farmers are innovators; we see that on the Sunshine Coast. So ow’s your chance to turn those ideas into action on the ground.
For more information on the $60 million Smart Farming Partnerships grant (which closes December 21), see my recent article here, visit www.nrm.gov.au or contact my office on 5479 2800 or email me at firstname.lastname@example.org
Published in the Sunshine Valley Gazette, 15 November 2017