2011 Commonwealth food innovation grant
The Food Forest wins Commonwealth food innovation grant
The Food Forest has researched small scale nut harvesting and processing equipment throughout the Mediterranean and with the help oif the Commonwealth Government, recently installed a working model for nut growers and regional communities to visit and assess. It is the result of years of interaction with small European manufacturers and provides equipment that true artisans can drive in the production of the very best regional products in Australia.
The 50/50 cost subsidy for equipment has enabled The Food Forest to process its own production with ease and provide a processing service to others.
The grant has assisted in the assembly of machinery for the grading, handling and packing of pistachio nuts using small/medium scale technology from Greece, China and Australia to create a seemless, batch specific, quality controlled system.
Value-adding specialist, Annemarie Brookman says that the system is unique "...and doesn't cost a million dollars. It is something that regional communities can sensibly invest in. The return on capital invested can be very quick, especially for organic growers" she said. "It also shows how the pistachio growers of Sicily have cooperated to promote their unique dark green nuts as a unique brand and to build ownership of local pistachios in Sicily and mainland Italy" continued Annemarie.
The Commonwealth has also supported the presentation of information events and the making of a DVD which shows many small scale machines in action. It is available for free directly from the Food Forest.