“Eat local” month proposed to showcase Bellarine’s food

February 15, 2024 BY

Local producers are hoping to launch the Bellarine Food Love Affair, a month-long celebration of the region's products, in October. Photo: BELLARINE FARMGATE

LOCAL producers are hoping to launch a new month-long event to celebrate Bellarine-grown products and encourage further food production and collaboration across the peninsula.

Inspired by a similar event hosted in the region in the early 1990s, the Bellarine Food Love Affair will involve a series of activities throughout of October.

These activities will bring producers together, encourage consumers to visit the region’s agricultural businesses and allow those businesses to showcase their products.

There will also be opportunities for local restaurants to get involved.

A collaboration between Tuckerberry Hill, Ket Baker, Lard Ass Butter and Drysdale Cheeses with the support of Tourism Greater Geelong and the Bellarine, the team are hoping to secure a grant from the state government to fund the event.

Tuckerberry Hill’s Chris Lean said the goal of the event was to create connections between producers, consumers and restaurants.

Ms Lean has been running a weekly farmers’ market for 10 years and has seen first-hand how powerful these connections can be.

“There’s an absolute buzz,” she said.

“There’s people just having a chat because they see each other each weekend; there’s people who grow and they come in and talk [with consumers].”

She said these informal spaces and unstructured conversations allow for information sharing and build awareness of the region’s growers.

These markets, and many others now operating in the region, often include products grown outside of the Bellarine.

The Bellarine Food Love Affair event would instead strive to place a stronger focus on the region’s food production.

Ms Lean is also hoping the event will also provide spaces for producers to interact with each other, leading to potential product collaborations.

“If producers can get together, maybe there’ll be more production on the Bellarine that is actually Bellarine-to-Bellarine product,” she said.

As part of these efforts, Bellarine Farmgate – a directory of the Bellarine’s agricultural businesses – is also being put together, and local businesses are encouraged to get in touch with the team to add their products to the website.

Ms Lean said the goal of the directory was to raise awareness of the food producers operating in the region and make it easier for consumers to find and purchase local products.

“There are avocados on the peninsula, there are macadamias, but who hears about them? Who knows about them? How do we get them to the consumer?

“All these things exist on the peninsula. All they need is a little bit of encouragement.”

For more information, or to get your product listed on the Bellarine Farmgate website, head to bellarinefarmgate.com.au