Sour outcome as celebration of local flavours cancelled
FOODIES will not have the opportunity to be wined and dined at an array of gala events this year, with the Scenic Rim Council making the decision to cancel Eat Local Week.
Council said the decision to cancel this year's festivities, which draws in 40,000 people annually, was because of ongoing advice from health authorities restricting mass gatherings and non-essential travel due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Chair of the Local Disaster Management Group, Greg Christensen, said he was disappointed this year's event could not go on, especially given the event was due to celebrate its 10th anniversary.
"Scenic Rim Regional Council works collaboratively with a wide range of local businesses to deliver Eat Local Week each year, and naturally it is a major disappointment that this cancellation of Eat Local Week must happen," he said.
"However, it is the right decision to put the health and safety of the Scenic Rim's visitors, producers, tourism operators and the wider community first.
"In the decade to date, Eat Local Week has gone from strength to strength, helping the Scenic Rim win its current title of 'Outstanding Region' at the delicious. Produce Awards and winning a national award at the Australian Economic Development Awards in 2019."
Mr Christensen said Eat Local Week contributes about $2 million to the region's economy each year, which would hurt the many growers, farmers, producers and tourist operators.
In a bid to help soften the blow, the Scenic Rim Regional Council "approved an economic stimulus package to help minimise the impact on the Scenic Rim's economy" at a special council meeting on March 26.
"This package included consideration of Eat Local Week and the ability to work with the region's agricultural and food producers to develop a providore solution to open up growth opportunities," Mr Christensen said.
"Council also announced its intention to develop a Go Local and Grow Local campaign in conjunction with local Chambers of Commerce across the region."
A new date has already been marked into next year's diary, with plans for next year's festivities to be bigger and better.
"In these tough and constantly changing times, we can at least give ourselves something to look forward to by marking 2021 Eat Local Week in our diaries for June 26 to July 4," Mr Christensen said.
"As we count down to Eat Local Week 2021 now, more than ever, is the time to make the most of the abundant local Scenic Rim food still being produced right on our doorstep.
"All of us have the opportunity to support our local producers and food businesses as they adapt to give us safe access to fresh, seasonal, high quality produce.
"Council continues to look for innovative ways to support our region through this time.
"Council will publish a full list of participants and sponsors who had committed to be part of 2020 events on the Scenic Rim Eat Local Week website so you can show your support for those businesses affected now, and into the future.
"The Scenic Rim as a region looks forward to being able to once again share the sights, sounds and tastes of our unique event when we celebrate the 10th anniversary of Eat Local Week in 2021."