Award-winners, innovators and regional food advocates are set to descend on Emerald for a special event this month.

Meet the Food Innovators, to be held on 25 October, will explore alternative high-value markets for local products and strengthen links in the local food chain – for farmers and consumers.

Tickets are $60 per person and can be purchased at

Year 12 students, budding food-preneurs, and young producers can attend at no cost through the Young Agribusiness Bursary program, supported by CQUniversity. Applications close on 16 October.

Central to the forum will be interactive panel discussions featuring a range of experts, including Sonya Comiskey from multi-award-winning Comiskey Bazadais Beef, ABC radio personality and food consultant Alison Alexander, and Chris Balazs from Provenir, a pioneering mobile meat processor.

Liz Alexander, Agribusiness Development Coordinator from the Central Highlands Development Corporation (CHDC), describes it as an amazing array of speakers.

“This is a mix of people from regional areas – both local and elsewhere – who have built value-adding business and opportunities for their produce and have a wide variety of expertise, experience and insights,” she says.

“They are keen to share their ups and downs with others who are interested in premium, regional food products.”

Other special guests include North Queensland banana growers Krista and Rob Watkins, who’ve attracted international acclaim for their unique green banana flour, and renowned journalist Peter Lewis, who will be the event’s MC and panel facilitator.

The full-day program also offers the choice of three field tours; local retail, food and fibre trade displays; and a Cluster Muster, which is a targeted networking session focusing on building collaboration in grains, horticulture and beef industries.

CHDC will launch and share the results from the 2018 Central Highlands Beef Processing Feasibility Study and 2018 Grown in the Central Highlands, a research project that measured the local community’s interest in purchasing local produce.

“Meet the Food Innovators is about connecting local producers to opportunities to value-add to their business, including with local restaurants and events, and it will help to lay foundations to make locally-grown food more accessible to consumers within our own region,” Mrs Alexander says.

The event is an initiative of CHDC’s multi-award-winning Central Highlands Accelerate Agribusiness (CHAA) initiative, which aims to grow, promote and realise value and opportunity for all businesses producing agricultural and food products, processing and other value-adding services in the region.

Meet the Food Innovators is supported by Advance Queensland, Department of Agriculture and Fisheries, Central Highlands Regional Council, and the Local Buying Foundation.

Find the event on social media using #foodinnovators. Follow CHDC on Facebook, Twitter and LinkedIn.

Please contact Liz Alexander on (07) 4982 4386 or 0429 471 511 for further information.

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