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9 November 2022

The Southern Forests Food Council (SFFC) was established with the support of the State Government’s Royalties for Regions program and the Shire of Manjimup and formally incorporated on 24 September 2012 by local growers to represent and promote the region’s diverse and premium food and wine offerings. The SFFC acknowledged the milestone by raising a glass with members at their annual general meeting in October. Preparations are also underway to celebrate the SFFC’s milestone and the Genuinely Southern Forests brand’s tenth birthday in 2023. “The Southern Forests Food Council has achieved a great deal as a grower-led organisation and through the support and efforts of the local producers we have proudly achieved our ten-year milestone this year,” said SFFC Independent Chair Kieran Kinsella. Laura Bolitho, SFFC General Manager, has been with the organisation in various roles since its inception. “It’s hard to believe that ten years has passed by, and it is full credit to the incredible local growers who backed an idea that has led to some amazing outcomes and genuinely helped to establish the Southern Forests’ reputation as the premium food producing region for this state,” said Ms Bolitho. “It’s an honour to work with the local growers and community, and the Southern Forests Food Council is something that we can all be very proud of,” added Ms Bolitho. The SFFC has endeavoured to unite and represent the generational farmers of the Southern Forests region throughout its ten years. However, the ongoing viability of the organisation continues to be a major focus. Monica Radomiljac, SFFC Vice Chair highlighted the support of the Shire of Manjimup and the SFFC’s role with the South-West WA Drought Resilience Adoption and Innovation Hub that have secured the Food Council’s viability through to 2024. “The future of the organisation is fraught beyond this point. We will of course continue to identify and seek out funding and investment opportunities, and with our committee and the support of local growers we hope to identify a long and viable path into the future,” said Ms Radomiljac. The SFFC would especially like to acknowledge the ongoing support of long-term sponsors including getFresh merchants, Mercer Mooney, All Aussie Farmers, Phil’s Preferred Fruit and packaging partner GJ Freight. With the SFFC on the cusp of celebrating its first decade, the SFFC Committee and staff have proudly looked back over the contributions, efforts, achievements, failures, learnings, and immense support and pride that has been instilled not only within the local community, but the broader industry. “We want to show gratitude for the efforts and contributions of all those involved in the project since its inception, from our fundamental growers to the Shire of Manjimup and State Government, to the various stakeholders and agencies that have helped shape the Food Council over the years. We look forward to celebrating this important milestone with you all,” said Ms Radomiljac. The SFFC will be releasing a legacy document in early 2023 to acknowledge the efforts, achievement, and contributions since the organisation’s inception in 2012. The AGM confirmed the appointment of the new Committee of Management, including the reappointment of skills-based members, former committee members, and a new candidate:

  • Kieran Kinsella – independent chair – skills-based

  • Monica Radomiljac – vice chair – producer

  • Ben Arnold – treasurer – skills-based

  • Mark Bending – producer

  • Bevan Eatts – producer

  • Corrie Scheepers – producer

  • Nial Twigger – skills-based

Mr Kinsella commented “We have a high calibre of skills and producer experience within our new committee, and we look forward to putting them to work on guiding and forming a future for the organisation and the local industry.”

Photo: The SFFC Committee kicks off celebrations at the 2022 AGM. Left to right: - Tony Giumelli, Mark Bending, Monica Radomiljac, Laura Bolitho, Bevan Eatts, and Jennifer Riseley

Contact: Please contact Jennifer Riseley on 9772 4180 or Website: Facebook: Genuinely Southern Forests Instagram: @genuinelysouthernforests

Southern Forests Food Council: The Southern Forests Food Council was formed in 2012 by a group of passionate local producers who recognised that the wealth and abundance of produce grown in the region made it perfect for major food production and agri-tourism.

The Food Council was established through the support of the State Government’s Royalties for Regions program and the continued support of the Shire of Manjimup.

The Food Council is committed to unifying the area’s world-class and diverse producers to strengthen the region’s economy, attract investment and export opportunities, promote regional pride, and create sustainable jobs. It represents local producers, culinary and agri-tourism operators who live and work in what is WA’s premier food bowl, aiming to ultimately establish the Southern Forests as an internationally-recognised agricultural region and culinary tourism destination.

The Southern Forests produces over 50 different types of fruits and vegetables, truffles and boutique produce, dairy, sheep, pork and cattle farms, as well as award-winning wineries and exceptional culinary experiences. The Southern Forests region is heavily invested in agriculture, with $230 million of agricultural production coming from the region. Visit or find us on social media @genuinelysouthernforests

South-West WA Drought Resilience Adoption and Innovation Hub:

The South-West WA Drought Resilience Adoption and Innovation Hub (SW WA Hub) is harnessing the power of collaboration to enhance drought resilient practices and accelerate innovation and adoption. More information is available on the Hub webpage.

The South-West WA Drought Resilience Adoption and Innovation Hub is funded through the $5 billion Future Drought Fund (FDF) which is providing secure, continuous funding for drought resilience initiatives and will help Australian farmers and communities prepare for the impacts of drought. More information is available on the Department of Agriculture website.


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