Turning powder into productivity
Just how good are we in the Wimmera at making the most of our development opportunities?
History and our position as a major international food producer suggest we have been good at it in the past.
And there seems to a feeling that, after resting on our laurels for quite a while, there is a renewed mood to explore new ideas and concepts.
The question is, how do we make the most of this encouraging sense of a need for progress?
Marrying up something happening somewhere else with the potential of our region can be hard.
The reality is that creating opportunity needs considerable thought and, importantly, a willingness to explore ideas beyond the norm.
This type of thinking has plenty of labels such as ‘outside the square’, ‘left of centre’ and so on.
It also represents a critical way forward and has always been the catalyst for human progress.
The reality is that it can take only one fanciful idea to take off to make a world of difference to an individual, family, community, town, city, region and state.
There were a few chuckles in response to news from the CSIRO last week about a new powdered product made from waste broccoli that could be used as an additive to coffee.
‘Yuk!’ was a common response by many but a deeper investigation into the product revealed the enormous market potential of a much-maligned vegetable.
Most of us recognise the health benefits of eating broccoli, one of the many nutrient-rich members of the cabbage family. Some of us also enjoy eating it, while others only indulge under sufferance or avoid it like the plague.
But as a relatively tasteless powder that maintains all of its health values and can be used as an additive to everything from coffee, soups and cereals? Now that’s different and boy does it have potential.
Hang on a minute! What does all this have to do with the Wimmera?
Well, if we apply the concept of marrying a new idea or development into what we could do here then the conceptual melting pot starts bubbling.
We know there are investigations into developing a pulse-derived protein-powder industry in Horsham district.
We also know that construction has started on a world-first Northern Grampians Bulgana Green Power Hub that will combine renewable energy with greenhouse horticultural production.
Pulses, powder and perhaps… horticultural produce? Is there a potential relationship and therefore a regional opportunity?
Who knows? But it might be an opportunity we risk hanging out, pardon the pun, to dry unless we ask the question.
This is value-adding that we have all heard so much about and the way we should be thinking about in developing our region.