Big year tipped for region
The Southern Forests Food Council has the potential to create $35.1 million in Gross Regional Product and support 190 jobs in the region by 2021-22, according to an economic impact assessment.
Council chairwoman Monica Radomiljac said there was a lot going on this year to help make this goal achievable.
“It has taken a while to get our ducks in a row but now they are lined up and we are ready to go,” Ms Radomiljac said.
“One main thing we have done is launched a paid membership in order to become sustainable into the future, which has led to more benefits for them as well.”
She said this year companies outside the region would also be included and produce from farms would go straight to local IGAs.
“We have also started a Genuinely WA brand for the export market which is starting to be recognised in the Asian countries we export to,” she said.
“We are aiming to support local farmers more than ever this year because we have more partners now, both in the State and internationally.”
Ms Radomiljac said the council was also trialling farm tours, with 40 farmers engaged so far.
“The plan is to create individual and specialised tours which include things like cooking lessons with local produce and more this year,” she said.
Chief executive officer Bevan Eatts will be stepping down from his role but said there was potential to develop the council’s supply network over the coming year.
“I have been involved since the council’s inception and I think we have built something to be proud of,” he said.
“When we first started no one recognised the region as a food bowl and now we have been able to build the brand so that up to 40 per cent of the metropolitan area recognises the Southern Forests brand and knows what the area supplies.”
He said it had supply partnerships set up through this work which would continue in 2019.