Regional Development Australia Central West is launching Farm to Institution Central West NSW – a first-of-its-kind project in Australia, and part of an embryonic movement in the region supporting not just regional economic development, but also social and environmental development.
Farm to Institution Central West NSW is about creating new pathways to market for regional producers and farmers into regional institutions.
The ultimate outcome of this project will be for local institutions, like schools, hospitals, universities, aged care and disability providers to buy more of their food from Central West NSW, for the sustainable economic development, health and resilience of the region.
“Our role as RDA Central West is to make it easier for this to happen” said RDA Central West CEO Julia Andrews.
RDA Central West has been piloting the project between 2017-2018 with a number of interested institutions and producers, forming the ‘Farm to Institution, Central West NSW Network’.
“We have been working with the Farm to Institution Network to identify priority activities for implementation, detailed in our Roadmap Report, which are research, education, connection and collaboration” said Ms Andrews.
“The project arose out of a need to bridge the disconnect between the region’s agricultural industry and institutions with catering, which is a missed opportunity for Central West NSW,” said Ms Andrews.
Cadia Valley Operations, the Funding Partner for the project has provided a commitment to support the initiative through to 2020.
“Cadia Valley Operations is delighted to support the growth in Agriculture in Central West NSW, as a sector that will drive economic development in the region well into the future” said Cadia Valley Operations Manager Health Safety Environment & Social Responsibility Nedra Burns.
“We are supporting this innovative initiative through our Community Partnerships Program, leading the way in implementing this first-of-its-kind project in Australia” said Ms Burns.
Charles Sturt University is the Research Partner for the project. CSU Vice-Chancellor Professor Andrew Vann said the University was pleased to provide strong support for the project.
“CSU is excited to be the major research partner with Regional Development Australia, to explore how Farm to Institution can encourage local food purchasing to stimulate and support the regional economy in a positive way,” Professor Vann said.
“We are also looking forward to working with Regional Development Australia to explore ways for CSU to increase our purchase of local produce.”
With the launch of the project, RDA Central West is putting the call out to the region to join the movement.
“We have created a Sign-Up page on our RDA Central West website for interested institutions and producers in the region to join the Network and work with us to create more efficient regional supply chains” said Ms Andrews.
More information including the ‘Farm to Institution Central West, NSW Roadmap Report’ and the Farmer Sign-up page can be found on our website – https://rdacentralwest.org.au/initiatives/farm-to-institution
RDA Central West Julia Andrews, CEO, RDA Central West Ph; 0448 288 698
Nedra Burns, Manager Health Safety Environment & Social Responsibility, Cadia Valley Operations Ph; 0407 207 078
Jessica Mansour-Nahra, CSU Media Ph; 0447 737 948 or firstname.lastname@example.org
Media note: Contact CSU Media to arrange interviews with Vice-Chancellor Professor Andrew Vann.
EMBARGOED UNTIL 10:00am Friday 31 August 2018