As the incoming President, I acknowledge and thank Colin McLean, whose leadership as President and formerly as one of the Southern Harvest Association (SHA)’s founders gives me and the incoming 2018 committee members a solid foundation upon which to continue to implement the Southern Harvest vision of growing and nurturing a productive and connected regional food economy. I also thank Yvette Blackman, Helen Lynch and Samantha Hawker who as non-returning committee members gave much of their time and talents to Southern Harvest during 2017.
I am honoured to be chosen to lead Southern Harvest for 2018. With my fellow committee members I look forward to representing our association to bring us together to grow, nurture, and connect all who share our vision of a regional community sustained by local, ethical food production.
2018 will be an exciting year for SHA as we consolidate 2017’s successes. I offer two goals for Southern Harvest in 2018, the first is to continue to promote and grow connectivity amongst our membership and across the regional community and the second is to use this connectivity to promote the Southern Harvest brand to be “top of mind” and the “voice” for local producers putting you, our members, first in the conversation as we challenge people to #askwhereitcomesfrom and #askisitlocalfood when shopping or eating out.
For our signature events and activities, planning is underway for the Southern Harvest 2018 Bungendore Festival in March with the Food Box Program and the Bungendore and newly established Queanbeyan Farmers Markets continuing to promote and support local farmers supply people with locally grown food.
More broadly, SHA is auspicing the 14th Australasian Permaculture Convergence and Permaculture Festival in April 2018. Supporting these activities provides Southern Harvest with the opportunity to showcase the region’s local produce and producers as well to continue to develop the Southern Harvest brand as the voice for local producers within SE NSW/ ACT region.
Southern Harvest also aims through its education program Southern Harvest Education to assist people to learn about how to contribute as producers to our regional food community. Southern Harvest Education is preparing a proposal for a young farmer development program and is also scoping a Youth Program both aimed at supporting young people to become farmers, take up allied industry opportunities or just raise awareness to support the growth of our regional food community now and into the future.
I acknowledge that we are a volunteer based organisation solely funded by our collective efforts and I thank you all for continued support.
Southern Harvest is us, a community of people who share a common vision to grow local and regional food communities in the ACT and South East NSW through education, market opportunities, networking and advocacy. I look forward to working with my fellow committee members and all of you to realise this vision in 2018.
As we enter the festive holiday season, I wish you all the best for the season and that 2018 for us all brings a bountiful harvest.
Southern Harvest Association