Eat Local Month dishes up an even larger serving of paddock-to-plate experiences

The stellar success of Scenic Rim Eat Local Week will see the region’s annual event mushroom to become a month-long celebration of paddock-to-plate experiences throughout June 2023.

From its inception in 2011, when 10 events attracted just 900 people, the Scenic Rim’s celebration of its farmers, growers, producers, artisans, chefs and quality food and beverages had grown to 125 events regionwide attended by almost 35,000 visitors in 2022, adding almost $2 million to the local economy.

Offering a taste of what is in store during Eat Local Month 2023, Scenic Rim Mayor Greg Christensen said the full program, to be announced in April, would include long lunches showcasing local produce, flavour-filled dinners, farm gate experiences, food walks, tastings, tours, talks, masterclasses and workshops for all ages culminating in the signature event, the Winter Harvest Festival, on 1 July.

“The exponential growth of Eat Local Week meant that nine days, with just two weekends, was no longer enough to celebrate all our region has to offer,” he said.

“Eat Local Month will place our farmers, growers and producers at centre stage and shine a spotlight on our outstanding local and seasonal produce against the backdrop of our spectacular Scenic Rim.

“The evolution of Eat Local Week to Eat Local Month reflects the success flowing from the hard work by many in our community during the past 12 years as well as the support of visitors from around Australia who appreciate authentic food experiences.”

With authentic food experiences contributing to the Scenic Rim’s inclusion in The Lonely Planet’s list of top 10 regions in the world to visit in 2022, the Scenic Rim was also named by delicious magazine as one of the top five places to visit in 2023.

Eat Local Week has not only put the Scenic Rim on the map, it has also been the catalyst for growth and diversification across the region, inspiring collaboration between producers who have developed new lines including carrot beer, milk stout featuring milk from local sheep and cows, beef and vegetable sausages, beetroot and carrot bread, and camel milk vodka.

“Connecting our farmers and growers with chefs to create fabulous food experiences has been a game-changer for the Scenic Rim and created truly memorable moments for thousands of visitors who have been welcomed at farms and events across our region during the past 12 years,” Mayor Christensen said.

“The concept of ‘paddock-to-plate’ has become something of a culinary cliché, but here in the Scenic Rim it’s something we embrace not only during Eat Local Month but also year-round.

“Eat Local Month in winter celebrates our most abundant time of the year for our region and is the perfect time to enjoy local produce at its finest and connect with those who put food on our tables.”

Minister for Tourism, Innovation and Sport Stirling Hinchliffe said the expansion of the event was great news for both locals and visitors.

“The Scenic Rim is rapidly building its reputation as a foodie’s paradise and the expansion of Eat Local Week to a month-long event brings huge benefits to local accommodation providers, retailers and of course restaurants, cafes and other food experiences in the region,” Mr Hinchliffe said.

“The Queensland Government, through Tourism and Events Queensland, has supported this event for the past seven years, elevating it to ‘significant’ status with a three-year deal from 2022–2024.

“That’s because we are backing its growth as it brings increasing visitors to the region and an estimated $2 million economic boost, which in turns supports good local jobs.

“I encourage visitors from around Australia and the world to put the Scenic Rim on their ‘must do’ list this June for a literal taste of this amazing region.”

Eat Local Month is supported by Tourism and Events Queensland’s Queensland Destination Events Program and has the highly sought-after Queensland Significant Event status.