The Great Lakes Food Trail

Connecting local ethical producers with the community

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The Great Lakes Food Trail

Connecting local ethical producers with the community

The issue

Our modern industrialised food systems create a double edged problem for achieving Landcare objectives. The “middle man” costs of logistics and marketing and the market power of big food industry players put the price squeeze on primary producers, in turn putting pressure on resources of time and cash to devote to protecting and enhancing the farm ecosystem. At the same time a norm of faceless supermarket fare creates a disconnect between producers and consumers of food, where producers are often not recognised and rewarded for their Landcare ethic.

The solution

Topi Topi Sustainable Farming Group, a sub-group of Karuah and Great Lakes Landcare, made a plan to build and promote a Food Trail in the Great Lakes, to bring the community, both locals and tourists to our beautiful region, directly to local ethically motivated producers. The group’s proposal was met with a lot of interest from MidCoast Council and the wholehearted support of Karuah & Great Lakes Landcare. A producer driven steering committee was formed, and MidCoast Council funded the engagement of design consultants to develop branding and marketing material. An inaugural Great Lakes Food Trail was conducted over the Easter weekend 2017.

The impact

The Great Lakes Food Trail rapidly formed a highly motivated inner circle of landholder drivers, and an extended network of like-minded producers. Participating producers where overwhelmed by the response on the opening weekend, with numbers of visitors far exceeding everybody’s expectations. Visitors gave very positive feedback, and participants are very keen to continue and expand the project. There is another event planned for the June long weekend, and a commitment to at least an event each season. The Great Lakes Food Trail is already looking like a positive force for diverse, sustainable agriculture in our region.

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Key facts

  • Over 600 visitors over the Easter weekend
  • First event featured 13 primary producers and 6 purveyors of local food products
  • Over 700 social media followers.

Project Partners