Message from the Executive Director – Julia Andrews

Julia AndrewsRDA Central West is about to embark on an incredibly exciting project – a first in Australia – that will create, in the long term, a more sustainable and profitable food economy in the Central West.

Called “Farm to Institution Central West NSW” this project is part of an embryonic movement in the region supporting not just regional economic growth, but also health, social and environmental development.

RDA Central West’s long-term vision for the movement is for food produced in Central West NSW to be increasingly purchased by the region’s institutions for the sustainable economic development, health and resilience of the region.

We will do this by supporting and facilitating a place-based approach to food purchasing in institutions including universities, hospitals, schools and aged care home across the region.

Sounds too good to be true? That has been our challenge over recent months – to pitch this concept and prove it is possible. We took our inspiration from the United States, where programs such as Farm to Institution New England (FINE) have made big differences to the local food economy.

And, just last month, the French Government introduced a Bill proposing that by 2022 at least 50% of food procured by public sector institutions would be required to be from organic or local farms.

Over the past 6 months, with support and funding from Newcrest Cadia Valley Operations Community Partnerships Program, we have been busy scoping this concept, ground-truthing and testing for community interest. The results are now in and we are more than excited about moving on the next stage of Farm to Institution Central West NSW.

This is going to be big!