Laven­der fo­rum on its way

Lock­yer to host conference

Warwick Daily News - South West Queensland Rural Weekly - - News - Ali Kuchel

THE Lock­yer Val­ley will show the re­gion can grow more than fresh pro­duce and crops when the Na­tional Laven­der Grow­ers Conference kicks off in Gat­ton on May 31.

It will be a Queens­land first when the four-day conference and com­pe­ti­tion starts in two weeks, with grow­ers, pro­duc­ers and guest speak­ers com­ing to Gat­ton from across Aus­tralia.

The Aus­tralian Laven­der Grow­ers As­so­ci­a­tion will host the event, show­cas­ing ev­ery­thing laven­der, in­clud­ing food, grow­ing the flower, laven­der-based craft, oil dis­til­la­tion and tourism op­por­tu­ni­ties.

TALGA vice-pres­i­dent and lo­cal laven­der grower Gary Young said the theme “pad­dock to plate” would high­light all as­pects of laven­der farm­ing, as well as show­case the Lock­yer Val­ley.

“We felt it was time to bring the conference to Queens­land,” he said.

Al­though laven­der grown in Queens­land was pre­dom­i­nantly used for laven­der crafts, Mr Young said Aus­tralia was be­com­ing one of the world’s big­gest pro­duc­ers of laven­der oil in com­par­i­son to Euro­pean coun­tries.

“We’ve got a bet­ter fra­grance,” he said.

Del­e­gates at­tend­ing the conference and com­pe­ti­tion will have the op­por­tu­nity to see what else grows in the Lock­yer Val­ley as they visit sev­eral key farm­ing lo­ca­tions in the dis­trict.

Mr Young’s wife, Anne, said the pad­dock to plate theme had a big con­nec­tion to the Lock­yer Val­ley, with its vast agri­cul­tural en­vi­ron­ment.

Ad­di­tion­ally Mrs Young said laven­der farm­ing had proven to be a large gen­er­a­tor of tourism in many towns and they hoped to boost tourism in the Lock­yer with the conference.

“It re­ally shows you that you can take a prod­uct and make it into a tourist at­trac­tion,” Mrs Young said.

“I think in the Lock­yer Val­ley there is a lot of agri­cul­ture but there is a lot of missed op­por­tu­nity to turn it into tourism.”

Tas­ma­nian laven­der grower Robert Ravens, known for his laven­der oil, will be a key guest speaker at the conference.

The conference will run from May 31 to June 3 at the Lock­yer Val­ley Cul­tural Cen­tre.

PHOTO: ALI KUCHEL

LAVEN­DER LOVERS: Gary and Anne Young as­sess their laven­der ahead of the TALGA conference this month in Gat­ton.

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