The Food Leaders Australia (FLA) Meat Up event held in the Lockyer Valley has brought about many positive outcomes, including the possibility of new regional tourism highlighting the diversity of the region. “Bringing business together and providing opportunities is what we do at FLA,” said general manager Bruce McConnel.

The FLA Meat Up event featured site tours for the first time, where more than 50 agricultural business representatives visited the progressive field and hydroponic vegetable growers, Barden Produce, Gatton, and horticultural exporters, Qualipac, at College View.

Still in the planning stages, but born from the networking opportunity provided by the FLA event as well as a previous Toowoomba and Surat Basin Enterprise (TSBE) conference, the proposed rural tourism venture is the brainchild of Southern Cross Motel Group’s, Graham Pollock, of Chinchilla.

Mr Pollock said he had been working on an itinerary for the proposed new tour which included overnight stays in Dalby and Chinchilla. “I went on the FLA site tours and was so impressed with Bardon Produce. I found the whole day so interesting so it will definitely be added to our tour itinerary,” he said. “TSBE has been very helpful as I have done most of my networking for this venture through their events. We are planning our first tour shortly to gauge interest,” he said.

Another outcome from the recent site tours was the evidence of an emerging interest in agriculture by all facets of business in the Toowoomba region. Mr McConnel said the multiplier effect in agriculture had been brought home by the possibility of this new rural tourism venture. “There is significant growth in the horticulture sector, and just 20 minutes east of us is the Lockyer Valley with many businesses in the region excited about making connections in that area,” he said.

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