The Latrobe Valley Authority is working closely with Food & Fibre Gippsland and a range of industry, education, government and community partners to identify opportunities to further leverage food and fibre as one of Gippsland’s regional strengths.
Within the rapidly evolving global context there are some strong emergent trends that inform the potential for innovation in food and fibre production and manufacturing in Gippsland.
Given Gippsland's well established agriculture sector, there is opportunity for the region to develop products within market niches and become embedded in global value chains.
Sustainable Emerging Commodities – Seaweed
Seaweed is something you might see on a beach or taste in sushi, however did you know it is one of the most versatile and sustainable bioresources on the planet? While we use seaweed in Australia from yoghurt thickener to animal feed and pharmaceutical compounds most of what we use is imported. Globally seaweed aquaculture is a US$16.5 billion dollar industry.
With use increasing, it is timely for Gippsland with its abundance of coastline and clean water to investigate seaweed opportunities.
From January 2021-June 2022, Deakin University’s Blue Carbon Lab in partnership with the Latrobe Valley Authority and Food and Fibre Gippsland investigated a first-of-its-type study in Australia as to the viability of a seaweed aquaculture industry in Gippsland. The study investigated 10 species and found extremely promising results. In October 2022, an innovation group will deep dive the viability and profitability of seaweed aquaculture for Gippsland.
Gippsland Trusted Provenance Trademark
The Gippsland Provenance Trademark will be developed for use by food producers within the Gippsland region to brand their regional produce.
This initiative aims to build more awareness of Gippsland’s produce and region and create a trusted and recognised logo that validates the ‘Made in/Grown in’ Gippsland credentials to consumers.
Advancing commercial hemp manufacturing
Food and Fibre Gippsland is working with the LVA to explore innovation opportunities associated with the processing and manufacturing of industrial hemp fibre. With strong interest from investors, successful crop trials and niche equipment already located in the region, the discovery work is focusing on establishing how to advance this industry while maintaining the value add in Gippsland.
Developing vertical farming as a productivity and food security advantage
Vertical farming presents an innovative approach to food production that responds to the changing climate. Based on advanced research, vertical farming technologies improve food security, enhance production quality, and provide substantial productivity benefits. This project is exploring Gippsland’s advantage to host a demonstration site, with a focus on understanding which crops will present the strongest returns and broadest applications.
Advanced Vegetable Processing Hub
Food & Fibre Gippsland is leading the establishment of a regional Advanced Vegetable Processing Hub that would see underutilised regional horticultural produce turned into high-value ingredients and nutraceuticals.
Advancing high value protein sources
The use of insects as high value protein sources holds enormous opportunities for Gippsland. Food and Fibre Gippsland and the LVA are using evidence from a regional waste mapping study to identify food and fibre and bioenergy opportunities through using selected insects to process known sources of food waste.
Food & Fibre Gippsland are developing a carbon asset and liabilities register for the Gippsland region.
This register could allow corporates and other operators with high levels of carbon liabilities to enter into purchase/offset agreements with owners of carbon assets such as primary producers; Landcare organisations; water management organisations; and Traditional Owner groups.
Food & Fibre Gippsland are working on the Gippsland Circular economy – a Waste Trading Platform to enable the trade of currently unused/underutilised food and fibre produce, in favour of higher value applications.
Collective Craft Malting
The Collective Craft Malting facility will process local grain into malt to create beers and distilled beverages.
It will have significant benefits and cost savings for local grain producers, breweries and distillers as well as benefitting the broader Gippsland community through increased visitor attraction.
Sailors Grave Brewing have made space for a facility to be located within their Dune Town precinct - a brewery and experiential tourism destination located between Marlo and Cape Conran.
Work is currently underway to establish a pilot malting facility with a social enterprise structure that will contribute considerably more than just an important ingredient for the Gippsland region.