CSU Vice-Chancellor Professor Andrew Vann (pictured third from left) at the launch of Farm to Institution Central West NSW
Charles Sturt University (CSU) announced its partnership with Regional Development Australia (RDA) Central West on Farm to Institution Central West NSW - a first-of-its-kind project in Australia that is part of a movement in the region supporting regional economic development, and 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 the 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.
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.
“Charles Sturt University 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 the University to increase our purchase of local produce.”
Regional Development Australia Central West Chief Executive Officer Julia Andrews said the RDA is focused on making it easier for the project to happen.
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,” Ms Andrews said.
“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.”
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,” Cadia Valley Operations Manager Health Safety Environment and Social Responsibility Ms Nedra Burns said.
“We are supporting this innovative initiative through our Community Partnerships Program, leading the way in implementing this first-of-its-kind project in Australia,” Ms Burns said.
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,” Ms Andrews said.
More information including the ‘Farm to Institution Central West, NSW Roadmap Report’ and the Farmer Sign-up page can be found on the website – http://www.rdacentralwest.org.au/initiatives/farm-to-institution
Pictured in attendance at the launch are (from left): RDA Central West Chair Christine Weston, Federal Member for Calare Andrew Gee MP, CSU Vice-Chancellor Professor Andrew Vann, Cadia Valley Operations Manager Nedra Burns, CSU Strategic Adviser - Regional Development Fiona Nash, Orange Mayor Cr Reg Kidd and RDA Central West CEO Julia Andrews.