Lessons learnt from salad’s side | OPINION

Lessons learnt from salad’s side | OPINION


Opinion
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The horticulture industry could learn a thing or two about the scale of the event, Beef Australia.

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EDITORIAL

THE expectation was for 100,000 people to go through the gates. That’s a lot of people. 

It’s difficult to determine an exact figure of how many people attended Beef Australia 2018 in Rockhampton, Qld last month. 

Every man and his steer seemed to be making the pilgrimage to Australia’s “beef capital” to brush up on issues, hear from industry leaders and most importantly, be seen to be attending the event, probably with the “good Akubra” on, not the paddock one.  

But beef, it seems, is the perfect accompaniment to vegetables and salad. That carefully crafted line is probably not going to go down well within certain livestock-producing circles and yet, it’s true. 

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According to the Australian Dietary Guidelines 2013, most Australians need more vegetables and fruit, particularly green, orange and red vegetables, such as broccoli, carrots, capsicum and sweet potatoes, and leafy vegetables like spinach, and legumes/beans like lentils.

Curiously, within the list it says: "Many Australian men would benefit from eating less red meat." 

Admittedly, it also gives a warning against fried hot chips and potato crisps but overall, fresh produce is highly promoted. 

Horticulture might not be at that level of promotion yet but each year it seems to rise to new heights of economic input and export profits.

So while the agriculture media (and plenty of mainstream media as well) broadcast images of sizzling steaks and slow-cooked roasts, could there be a lesson in this event for horticulture? 

Put simply: Would it be possible to get a horticulture event to that level? Imagine 100,000 people pouring through Hort Connections or Hort-a-Palooza or Mega Hort Con or whatever incarnation it would take on. 

There are so many horticulture-focused regions around Australia that it would be hard to narrow it down to one area. Perhaps it could be shared about?

Being held once every three years also helps Beef Australia gear up for such a spectacule. Having breathing space “between drinks” seems to reap benefits.   

There is a lot of money in the beef industry and plenty splashed around on advertising and marketing. 

As the health recommendations indicate, salad should be the star of the plate. We own the health claim and that’s a big promotional tick.

Horticulture might not be at that level of promotion yet but each year it seems to rise to new heights of economic input and export profits. 

This could be the chance to lift its reputation with the public as well. Beef Australia is not an industry conference. It engages the public, makes the consumption of the product an event and pulls an industry together to celebrate what it has in a variety of ways. 

There is such potential to do the same in horticulture, particularly with so much colour and variety involved in the many different products. 

As the health recommendations indicate, salad should be the star of the plate. We own the health claim and that’s a big promotional tick.

Sounds too far fetched? Never say never. 

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