Huon Valley News

Huon Valley Food Hub recognised on the national stage

The Huon Valley Council’s Food Hub project has been shortlisted as a finalist in the 2023 National Economic Development Awards for Excellence.

The Awards are an annual event from Economic Development Australia (EDA), the peak national body for economic development practitioners in Australia.

HVC is the only Tasmanian Council recognised among the finalists and is just one of three shortlisted nominees in the Economic Development – Sustainable Initiatives award category, alongside the City of Boroondara (in partnership with City of Melbourne and City of Stonnington) (VIC) and the Livingstone Shire Council (QLD).

Many years in the making, the Huon Valley Food Hub vision is to ‘grow a vibrant and connected food system that contributes to the health, social, economic and environmental outcomes of the Huon Valley.’

Regional food hubs have been used internationally to build resilient regional economies that support locals to eat well, create more local jobs and increase economic activity.

Our Food Hub project mapped the local food system to:

  • better understand capacity and availability to support the local community with fresh local produce;
  • understand the sentiment and market interest to access and purchase more local food; and
  • work out how best to respond to local needs, particularly our most vulnerable members of the community.

Through a series of engagement activities and workshops with community members, businesses and stakeholders, seven themes were identified and prioritised to help guide and shape further exploration into how a possible food hub could deliver for our region.

Increasing productivity and growing capacity, along with improving access and availability of local produce were among the top priorities.

A series of activation projects began, including:

The Huon Valley Farmgate Blitz – 10 farmgate ‘blitzes’ for small-scale producers – supported by local experts and mentors in market gardening and other techniques – to become regenerative producers;

Sacred Country – a collaboration with local Aboriginal young people and teachers at the Sacred Heart Catholic School in Geeveston, to share knowledge of traditional edible natives and regenerative land management techniques and better connect with Country;

The Growing Together Harvest Festival – a curated program of community celebrations and events in all major Huon Valley townships to distribute local produce, celebrate local food and inspire and educate community members to get involved.

Local food vouchers – surplus fresh food was donated to community members and families with chronic health problems, or who were food insecure.

With more value than ever placed on sourcing local food in the post-COVID era, it’s hoped these initiatives will have a lasting impact in the community.

They have encouraged community members to continue connecting and sharing ideas, knowledge and social interactions with like-minded people.

They have empowered people to get involved and its hoped, inspire long-lasting change in some of the more complex areas of food insecurity, access to and distribution of fresh food, and reducing food waste and mileage one step at a time.

Award winners will be announced on 23 August 2023 at the National Economic Development Conference (NEDC) in Karratha.

Congratulations to HVC’s project team Michelle Gledhill, Manager of Economic Development, and Food Hub Project Officer Dr Emily Samuels-Ballantyne for the nomination.


Members of the Huon Valley Food Hub Reference Group standing in a paddock

The Huon Valley Food Hub Reference Group, pictured last year.