Author: Bobbi Eades

Plate of Origin2020 will mark Plate of Origin’s fifth birthday and over the past few years has established itself as a key calendar event on the Manawatū foodie scene. However, this year’s Plate of Origin will be unlike any before it, evolving in 2020 into two unique events;

1. A world-class, month-long culinary competition, and 2. A bespoke dining experience held during New Zealand AgriFood Week. The two events are overseen and delivered by the team at the Central Branch New Zealand Chefs Association, with support from the Central Economic Development Agency (CEDA) and New Zealand AgriFood Week.

Plate of Origin Dinner
17 March 2020

A bespoke dinner will be held during New Zealand AgriFood Week to showcasing the best of Manawatū-Whanganui’s food producers and products. Each course will be created by a pairing two chefs, from leading Manawatū or national restaurants, with each plate incorporating a different product. Each chef will commit to having the dish on their respective restaurant’s menu, taking our regions culinary excellence and food products to the nation.

Tickets are limited to this exceptional dinner so get in quick to secure your seat. The event will be held at Distinction Hotel Palmerston North on Cuba Street, and delivered by the Central Branch New Zealand Chefs Association.

Plate of Origin – Manawatū Producer to Plate
1 – 30 April 2020

Manawatū Producer to Plate is a culinary competition that will run through April 2020 and is open to up to 40 cafes and restaurants in Palmerston North city and Manawatū region.

With the introduction of categories – casual and formal dining – the competition has purposely been opened up to more hospitality businesses, as the quality and number of cafes and restaurants in Manawatū continue to grow. For the first time ever, dishes will also not be limited to evening meals. This combined with the competition running for a whole month, means foodies will have extra chances to try one, two or even more competition dishes, with diners encouraged to vote for their favourite dish via social media.

Each entrant will design a dish with three or more regional ingredients and have the meal on their menu for the entire month of April. The competition culminates in a live, Plate-Up event where chefs will be judged on the NZ Chefs Culinary Arts Guidelines, focusing on flavors, use of product, taste, presentation and more. This event is owned and managed by the Central Branch New Zealand Chefs Association.

Plate of Origin 2020 is shaping up to be a delectable food showcase that will satisfy even the most discerning foodie and with the focus on food growers, innovators and makers more prominent than ever, it’s clear to see why Plate of Origin is such a key addition to the New Zealand AgriFood Week. New Zealand AgriFood Week will also have an increased focus on provenance in 2020, with events in the week using the catering as an opportunity to provide food experiences that tell the paddock to plate food story.

At the end of 2019, the Central Economic Development Agency (CEDA) launched the Manawatū Agritech Strategy, which was developed in partnership with the global agritech accelerator Sprout and regional stakeholders including iwi, education and training providers, business owners and entrepreneurs, for a coordinated approach to growing the sector for the benefit of New Zealand’s food industry. It is the first regional strategy of its kind, focused on agritech, in New Zealand.

“As an economic development agency it is our role to identify our comparative and competitive advantages as a region, to build on our strengths, with laser focus, to set this direction, secure buy-in from stakeholders, and then facilitate, connect and drive it to make it actually happen,” says CEDA’s Chief Executive Linda Stewart.

“This means partnerships are critical for CEDA and underpin everything we do – including our success.”

The strategy, which won the Economic Development New Zealand award for Best Practice 2019, is underpinned by four pillars that will drive the region towards achieving its goal of being recognised as one of the top three agrifood hubs in the world.

The pillars are Fueling Doers, Growing Talent, Creating a Temple and Building Manawatū’s Brand.

Within a framework of these four pillars, a one to three-year overview has been developed, identifying the activities and initiatives that are already underway and what else is needed, to help accelerate the sector’s growth.

Initiatives already underway include the Rural Innovation Lab, FoodHQ’s PGF application and New Zealand AgriFood Week. New initiatives include an agritech section at the Sort It Careers Expo, an agritech PR fund established between CEDA and industry, and local restaurants being connected to future of food, endorsed by FoodHQ.

“Having a regional strategy focused on agritech will set Manawatū apart when it comes to attracting businesses, investment and talent,” says The Factory’s Chief Executive Dean Tilyard, who presented on behalf of Sprout. The Factory, which delivers Sprout, exists to equip entrepreneurs with the skills, networks and funding they need to succeed.

“The benefits of having a regional strategy include improved ability to attract capital and resources,” says Tilyard.

“For a small region in New Zealand, being able to offer potential investors and strategic players a menu of capability, knowledge and activity that they can access in one visit or one engagement means the return on investment for their engagement with the region is significantly increased.”

He says when a community has a clear understanding of roles and responsibilities and who does what, everyone can move faster and ensure activities are complementary, rather than duplicating or reinventing the wheel.

“The Manawatū region is making strides towards our collective goal of being recognised as one of the world’s top three global agrifood hubs.

“Today [the strategy launch] is about planting the seed and getting everyone to think with a wider regional lens – to consider what is possible if we pool expertise, resources and money, to really showcase Manawatū to attract the talent, expertise and investment we know is needed to grow your business, and our region.”

For a copy of the Manawatū Agritech Strategy overview, click here.

CEDA talks with Dean Tilyard, Chief Executive of Sprout, a Manawatū based business accelerator for future food and agritech start-ups that help entrepreneurs grow global businesses.

Dean TilyardKia ora kautou,

We’re excited to start the new year by acknowledging that New Zealand and Manawatū’s international reputation as a leader in the agritech and future food sector has just taken another leap forward – Callaghan Innovation has partnered with Sprout to become one of its Technology Incubators.

This is big news for Manawatū as the announcement cements Sprout in a leadership position for agritech and future food seed and venture funding. Sprout will invest nationally and will expand its activity headquartered in The Factory on the Food HQ campus. This will increase Manawatū’s attractiveness to other technology investors, start-ups seeking the ideal location and tech professionals looking for opportunities.

This partnership will provide a significant boost to the region as the investor group backing Sprout includes two iconic New Zealand companies, Fonterra and Gallagher, as well as global venture capital firm Finistere Ventures and Israel’s most active venture investor, OurCrowd.

The Technology Incubator scheme significantly increases the amount of capital available for early stage agritech and future food start-ups. So, what does this mean? Basically, each time Sprout and its partners invest $250,000 into an agritech start-up, Callaghan will also provide the start-up with a repayable loan of $750,000 supplying the start-up with $1m of seed investment. Our investor group have the resources to complete up to 40 seed investments.

Sprout and CEDA have been actively working together for several years and recently co-developed the Manawatū Agritech Strategy, the first of its kind for regional New Zealand. With the shared objective of building agrifood tech activity in this region, our future looks set for growth.

We are focused on the future as 2020 looks bright with growth opportunities for our region and New Zealand.

Ngā mihi,
Dean Tilyard
Sprout Chief Executive

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