FFS hosts successful Summit: For Food’s Sake – fostering collaboration and innovation in WA’s agrifood sector

The recent For Food’s Sake Summit hosted by Future Food Systems at Murdoch University, Perth, was a testament to the vibrancy and potential of Western Australia’s agrifood industry. Supported by Murdoch University, the event convened stakeholders from diverse sectors to delve into the critical role of collaboration in driving innovation.

Prof. Len Collard, an Indigenous knowledge holder, set the tone with a heartfelt welcome, grounding discussions in the rich history of food science and production on the lands. Throughout the day, attendees were treated to inspiring success stories, ranging from craft brewers bolstering local economies to the transformation of vacant spaces into state-of-the-art food manufacturing hubs.

Dr Natasha Teakle, AgriStart
Dr Natasha Teakle, AgriStart

Speakers emphasised the strategic significance of collaboration in overcoming regional challenges, such as distance from processing facilities. Dr Natasha Teakle, a leader in agri-tech, underscored the importance of strategic partnerships in unlocking value-add opportunities, while clusters emerged as vital conduits for bridging gaps between researchers and farmers, fostering capability building and access to new prospects.

Panellists offered valuable insights into designing innovation hubs and stressed the necessity of aligning objectives across diverse perspectives. As discussions unfolded, sustainable solutions and opportunities for Western Australia’s agriculture sector took centre stage, with panellists expressing cautious optimism amidst challenges, advocating for cross-sector partnerships and inclusive problem-solving approaches.

Exploration of innovations inspired by space added an extra dimension to the Summit, highlighting the potential of cutting-edge technologies, such as machine learning and insights from NASA’s food innovations, to future-proof food systems.

The Summit concluded on a high note with a focus on emerging protein trends, including cellular agriculture and the potential of plant-based proteins. Practical insights from local growers and researchers illuminated opportunities for Australian crops and the importance of new technologies in enhancing livestock quality and fair trading practices.

A Gala Dinner capped off the event, featuring an address from the Hon. Minister Jackie Jarvis at Seagrass Boutique Hospitality Group’s premier restaurant 6HEAD in Perth’s Elizabeth Quay. The evening celebrated outstanding contributions, with Dr Ruey-Leng Loo of Murdoch University receiving the Researcher of the Year award, Mt Lindesay Farm honoured as Industry Partner of the Year, and Miranda Yang from UNSW and Charlotte Rowley from Murdoch University jointly awarded the PhD Student Pitch Award for their FFS ‘Shark Tank’ presentations.

For Food’s Sake provided a glimpse into the future with the Sustainable Innovative Food Technologies (SIFT) Centre, poised to further catalyse cooperation in the sector. Overall, it exemplified the spirit of collaboration and innovation propelling Western Australia’s agri-food sector forward, with Future Food Systems leading the charge in fostering partnerships and pioneering solutions to nourish communities and careers alike.

Further reading

Read about the For Food’s Sake Summit 2024 day tours to the Innovation Hub and Sustainable Innovative Food Technologies (SIFT) facility at FIPWA, Brugar Brewery and Melville Park farm here; and about the official opening of the SIFT Centre here.

Special acknowledgement to all For Food’s Sake sponsors: Murdoch University, Food Innovation Precinct Western Australia (FIPWA), Food & Agribusiness Network (FAN), TURBINE precinct, Silverplace, Great Southern Truffles, 6HEAD, Seagrass Hospitality Group, Mt Lindesay farm, Peel Development Commission, Department of Primary Industries and Regional Development (DPIRD) and Business Events Perth.