It's been no small task grappling with climate change, Covid-19, technological and geographical barriers in the Central Queensland (CQ) Region - but as Food and Fibre Stage 1 comes to a close - there's a real feeling of triumph moving forward having uncovered such meaningful ways in which to enhance resilience in CQ.
Food and Fibre Plus: The Background
Stage 1 of the Food and Fibre Plus Project has officially been completed – and what a journey it has been!
Food and Fibre Plus aimed to bring together Central Queensland (CQ) producers, businesses, government, community and key stakeholders to enhance business resilience and sustainability in Food, Fibre and associated cross-sector industries through the introduction of cluster networking framework; a web of dense connections between individuals, groups and stakeholders in a concentrated geographical region, with the intention of sharing data, ideas and subsequently improving outcomes for the region as a whole.
The four key themes for this project were agreed upon following stakeholder interviews, empathy mapping and a vast literature review.
- Circular Economy Opportunities
- Sustainable Land Management and Water Security
- Supply and Value Chains
You can read about our project process and the interactive virtual workshops we had the opportunity to guide and facilitate here.
Beginning Stage 2
Now, the Queensland Department of Agriculture & Fisheries, Advance Queensland and CDHC are gearing up to take this pioneering initiative to Stage 2 – and we couldn’t be more excited for the greater region.
Our work across stage 1 of the project allowed us to collaborate with key stakeholders and the project management team to identify a number of Pilot Action Areas. Each action area relates directly to one of the four identified themes and serves to create more targeted deployment of time, energy and resources.
Most notably, these pilot action areas support diversification of economies and businesses to increase community resilience across CQ, which have been advocated for previously, and are just now being afforded a meaningful opportunity for development and growth. We’re particularly looking forward to watching concepts like: Farm-based integrated water management, more effective methods of carbon farming and the creation of food trails across the CQ region take shape – just to name a few. These initiatives are some of our favourites, as they can build meaningful connections between producers and business owners and empower individuals to make a difference.
Other exciting areas for action include harnessing data for biomass assessment, with a focus on SMEs, introducing drone pilot programs and exploring alternate means for land regeneration, restoration and enhancement of biodiversity.
Each one of these areas for action demands a high degree of innovation and the use of technology in a creative and targeted manner. Projects like these give way to inventive possibilities for the development of small businesses, start-ups and inter-regional collaborations . We love any opportunity to engage creative thinkers and incorporate big, innovative ideas in our work!
Collaboration as a Catalyst for Change
Stage 2 is also looking to strengthen the basis for a cluster networking system, building stronger, multilateral networks between people, producers, businesses and government across the region.
With involvement and support from such an incredible pool of participants and partners, we cannot wait to see the ideas and concrete pathways for development that emerge from this next stage of Food and Fibre Plus.
A draft action plan to steer the delivery of these initiatives will be created in the inception phase of stage 2. This plan will be in large part guided by the thoughts, ideas and urgent actions proposed by the key stakeholders of this project from stage 1.
The Food and Fibre Plus initiative is shaping a sustainable and resilient future for Central Queensland from the ground up! The Sustainable Innovation Co. has so enjoyed the role we have played in this project to date, strategically facilitating more impactful food & fibre systems of the future.