The CRUNCH [group shot]
So (f)route is on it’s way to becoming an arts-led SOCIAL ENTERPRISE.
Well … we spent our first CRUNCH session figuring out how to articulate the (f)route social purpose – and the social need that we are addressing. This is key to what comes next. This is what we said:
(f)route is an East Gippsland enterprise based on its natural assets – wild fruit, slow art, its people – and walking & cycling from one to another.
(f)route aims to create an East Gippsland ‘destination’ – an alternative tourist trail that can connect East Gippsland with new markets – particularly younger, ethically aware urban travellers looking for an authentic rural experience.
(f)route’s social purpose is to stimulate sustainable economic development opportunities in small communities across East Gippsland – primarily through ‘local produce’ (ie. fruit) related tourism experiences.
Those opportunities need to embrace the key elements of the (f)route ethos: caring for locals and local knowledge; the importance of culture and creativity; community health and environmental sustainability.
(f)route’s social need has been flagged by shrinking job opportunities; a continuing trend of declining average incomes; an ageing demographic of overworked and overwhelmed farmers and disappearing youth. Fewer hands, rotting fruit – and in our minds, an unnecessary cycle of rural decline.
And while (f)route’s primary purpose is to improve the liveliehood of East Gippslanders – it is an idea deeply rooted in a more global concern for food security and the desire to live locally and ethically.
(f)route’s beneficiaries are the residents of East Gippsland who choose to connect with the (f)route movement.