Earlier exploration of the Coffs Harbour food innovation ecosystem (Project Number P1-005) identified great potential in the Coffs Harbour region for increasing value-addition and overall production output. Collaboration among different stakeholders, including growers, producers, retailers, educational institutions, and policy makers, was observed as an overarching barrier to realizing this potential. A 'Precinct' where multiple stakeholders can come together in knowledge and other resource exchange was proposed as a viable solution to overcome these hurdles. The proposed project will address this issue, with the aim of establishing a ‘Living Lab’ (i.e. Living Laboratory) in Coffs Harbour to design the Precinct and act as a hub where other solutions can be developed to evolve the region's agrifood ecosystem. A Living Lab can be defined as a user-cantered, open innovation ecosystem based on systematic user co-creation approaches that integrate research and innovation processes in real life communities and settings.
The project will be collating industry information such as variety, planting date, management, productivity etc to each established orchard polygon. This collation of information will directly assist market access, traceability, biosecurity response, yield forecasting, carbon storage, regeneration and drought resilience, and will set a new standard for all other agricultural industries.
This research project aims to address the challenges faced by the vacuum freeze-drying industry, such as high operational costs and prolonged drying times. The focus is on the application of direct ultrasound in Atmospheric Freeze Drying (AFD) to enhance water diffusivity and improve drying efficiency. The research will involve modelling and fabricating a prototype of an Ultrasound-assisted AFD system. The effectiveness of this system will be assessed through the drying kinetics analysis and physical, and chemical characterization of apples and eggplants.
Produce Prescription – an innovative ‘Food is Medicine’ intervention to improve health among people with type 2 diabetes
Increasing consumption of fresh produce is an important focus for food growers and retailers, but it has been challenging to achieve. Food is Medicine programs like produce prescription offer a potential new area of partnership between healthcare and food growers/retailers, where healthcare dollars can be spent directly on paying or subsiding healthy produce for individuals with diet-related conditions. Hence food industry is very interested to support this research.
Characterisation of capsaicinoids from capsicums, chillies and greenhouse horticultural waste of these crops
Food waste is a global issue, as almost one third of food produced is lost before it is consumed (Ishangulyyev et al., 2019). Simultaneously, the resources such as water, energy, land and fuel, used in the food production supply chain are also wasted during this process. When discarded into landfill, both the plant biowaste and food waste impact the environment by the emission of greenhouse gases (Benyam et al., 2018). Fruits and vegetables contribute only 20% to the total food purchased, but they are responsible for half of the food waste (AUSVEG, 2013).
The project aims to test and pilot fast detection procedures with the aim of giving growers a suite of options to test for the presence of the pathogen prior to disease being evident. The project also aims to test a range of commercially available control measures and create management recommendations.
The project aims to explore rhizosphere microbiome engineering to manage Fusarium wilt of tomatoes, and to evaluate changes in the rhizosphere microbiome in response to application of bio-organic products. Firstly, the rhizosphere microbial community associated with healthy and fol-infected tomatoes in Western Australia will be assessed. This will identify core microbial taxa critical to plant health and to provide insights into managing the Fusarium wilt disease by modifying the core taxa. Field trials on the long-term contribution of three commercial bio-organic products will be conducted to assess their impact on tomato crop performance, yield, and the rhizosphere microbiome. The rhizosphere soils from the field trial sites will be used as ‘donor material’ for the microbiome engineering experiment.
The Australian domestic exotic mushroom market heavily relies on imports, leading to high prices and limited availability. However, there is a strong demand for locally produced alternatives, especially among Asian cultural communities. To unlock market potential, the industry needs streamlined production, improved quality, and year-round supply. In this project, five key strategies will be developed to address these challenges and capitalize on opportunities.
The proposed project aims to visualise future freight demands for agricultural commodities in kilotonnes originating from the Namoi region. This visualisation will rely on the actual projections made by Transport for NSW at the SA3-level and their downscaled estimations at the LGA level. The downscaling process will utilise a linear proportional estimation based on the available total production data for such commodities from ABS/DPI.
This project aims to track online personal food preferences and establish a hierarchy of drivers for purchasing produce, including affordability, access, and source. The goal is to provide invaluable insights into consumer behaviour for NSW farmers, enabling them to align their production and marketing strategies accordingly.