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Positive response to Wimmera Food Innovation Program

By Dean Lawson

A program designed to provide a spark to the Wimmera’s entrepreneurial food-production industry has attracted a diverse list of participating businesses.

Wimmera Development Association project manager Vernetta Taylor said the Wimmera Food Innovation Program had attracted encouraging buy-in from participants.

“It’s been really positive. We’re getting a good mix of businesses and individuals – some are in an initial ideas stage, others are in a start-up stage and others are looking to expand and diversify to capitalise on changing markets,” she said.

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“At the moment we have half a dozen businesses signed up for a 12-week program starting in February next year. We’re hopeful to get up to 15 and still definitely looking for businesses to get on board.”

The innovation program is based on exploring, enhancing and capitalising on the potential of the Wimmera and southern Mallee as a diverse food-
production region.

The region has a long history as a base for traditional broadacre farming and the new program is about identifying growth opportunities for an expanded multi-dimensional food industry.

Wimmera Development Association is partnering with Food Innovation Australia Limited, FIAL, and Beanstalk to present the program, which has started with three workshops.

Mrs Taylor said about 12 people attended the first two workshops and she hoped for a similar attendance at a third meeting at 2pm, tomorrow.

“We’re encouraging as many people as possible to get involved and we’re still looking to expand participant diversification,” she said.

“It could be someone who wants to turn their back-yard beer-brewing hobby into a business, anyone who already has a place in the market or others producing on a large scale. 

“This program is suitable for different levels.

“We’re always seeing many individual or hobby food producers showing off what they’re doing in the various markets across the region. 

“This would be of particular benefit to them if they want to pursue what they’re doing as a business.

“At the same time, there might be a food-production business out there that has simply run out of ideas and is looking to enhance or diversify what they’re doing. The scope is very wide.

“We want a few more registrations for tomorrow’s workshop and remind everyone that this is for the Wimmera and southern Mallee-wide. And I encourage anyone keen to be involved but unable to attend the workshop and needs more information to get in touch. This is only the start.”

People keen to know more can call Mrs Taylor on 0419 114 274 or email

“We’ve been working on this program for some time and hope this is the beginning of a big kick-start to generating more opportunities and future networking,” Mrs Taylor said.

The entire November 4, 2020 edition of The Weekly Advertiser is available online. READ IT HERE!