With a variety of growing conditions from the highlands and plateau to the ocean, agriculture (including everything from small scale horticulture to the award-winning Coffs Harbour Fishermen’s Co-op) is considered one of our regions ‘growth engines’ and one of the largest areas of employment on the Coffs Coast. The growth of the industry has also generated a number of new business and employment opportunities in supporting industries such as farming equipment and machinery supply and maintenance, building and earth moving, financial management, etc.

The Agrifood sector on the Coffs Coast has diversified from it’s beginnings as the banana capital with our current largest crop being blueberries. The two industry leaders in the area provide jobs in a variety of sectors including production, soil management, packaging and logistics. Oz Group Co-op Ltd and Costa Group both have plans in place to become competitive in exporting blueberries to several international markets. With the blueberry industry growing in strength, opportunities to tap into other markets, such as new strains of raspberries, are being researched.

Our robust local food movement is supported by activities such as the Coffs Coast Growers Market and other local farmers’ markets, a calendar of events showcasing regional food and cuisines, and talented chefs and cooks who have established relationships with growers, fisherman and producers, utilising this local food on restaurant and cafe menus.

Agriculture, horticulture and hospitality industries are all supported by courses at North Coast TAFE campuses in Coffs Harbour, and on-farm learning is also an option for agriculture students. The new Tourism and Experiences Services SkillsPoint hub at the TAFE campus will also work in close partnership with industry, business and employers to deliver training that looks to the future and responds to emerging trends in areas such as hospitality, food service and preparation, and tourism.

The Coffs Coast Food Collective is a new initiative from a committed group of growers, food producers, artisans, processors, restaurateurs, chefs and cooks working together to promote the abundance of good food we have in the Coffs Harbour, Bellingen and Nambucca LGAs. This group is working to facilitate the collaboration of the region’s food providers through networking, experiences and education, to:
• promote a diverse food destination;
• create a sustainable local marketplace;
• and connect people to real food from local producers.

To learn more or become involved with the collective, please contact Nicole McLennan on 02 6648 4834 or email nicole.mclennan@chcc.nsw.gov.au.

The Coffs Coast is celebrated for its fresh foods and diverse dining options – it is certainly a unique coast of flavours with a range of job and business opportunities to match.