IN a world where we can pick and choose partners online and buy things without moving more than a finger muscle, it should come as no surprise that fresh produce is set to have its own version of online dating app, Tinder.
North Queensland woman Erica Hughes is behind Farmer Meets Foodie, an online concept to bridge the gap between the farm gate and the commercial kitchen.
Using social media sites, Ms Hughes has established a platform where almost 500 people now advertise their available produce or what they are looking to source.
While it currently only services those north of Bowen it has the potential to go national after receiving almost $100,000 from the State Government’s Ignite Ideas grant to develop the concept as a mobile application.
The app is currently being tested and will be on show at the National Ag Day to be held on November 21 at the Mareeba International Club from 10am to 5pm with Fairfax Media as media partners. More than 300 people are expected to attend.
Just like Tinder, the app will allow people to set their location preferences to search or advertise produce and businesses in an area and receive notifications when a match is made.
Ms Hughes, and her husband Lindsey, own an 80 hectare cattle property at Mount Molloy and had began approaching businesses to sell their produce direct.
She said some cafe owners spent a week on the road sourcing products around the Tablelands region.
“There is currently a huge interest in the paddock-to-plate concept, however, from a commercial foodies’ point of view, this is not always easy to achieve,” she said.
“Farmers and chefs are both time poor and very busy making amazing food, so this app will be a very efficient way for them to connect directly.”
Minister for Innovation, Science and the Digital Economy Leeanne Enoch said the project had the potential to be a great win-win for not just North Queensland.
“There is an increasing desire by food lovers for a paddock-to-plate experience, with people not just wanting to know what type of food they’re eating but also the origins of that produce,” she said.
The Mareeba National Ag Day will be hosted by Farmer Meets Foodie and will include a forum hosted by writer Anna Daniels with key note speaker and River Cottage Australia chef, Paul West, to discuss how Australians are embracing the stories behind produce.
Local producers Bellasato Farm, Mungalli Creek Dairy, Rainforest Bounty and Skybury Coffee Plantation will share their stories.
The event will conclude with a Food Truck Feast at Ringers Rest. For tickets visit www.eventbrite.com