The village of Willunga in the vales south of Adelaide is renowned throughout the cycling world for its infamous hill that is an annual fixture in the ever-expanding Tour Down Under. The three-kilometre hill is broadcast to tens of millions of viewers each and every January, as the world's best cyclists fight each other for the title of 'King of the mountain'.
Yet Willunga and the surrounding district is also a centre of both local fresh food markets and the super-high-speed internet through the National Broadband Network (NBN) pilot program. The village is therefore an eclectic mix of events and possibilities that on the surface don't naturally fit together. Yet, I soon discovered 'oil and vinegar' make for great salad dressing.
The farmer's market organisation, though, has also been infected with innovative ways. The marketing and development managers have spawned the idea of replicating the real market place as a Virtual Farmer' Market, which has set heads a-spinning.
The idea that has been prototyped allows people to walk through a virtual market in 3D and visit the tents and stalls as they are in reality. The young team that's working on the project has been inspired by the possibilities their local NBN roll out has afforded them: the opportunity to create new and innovative services to augment the market is driving optimism and change.
|Billy Doecke and Dave Abrahams at the Willunga Markets. |
Photo courtesy of Dave Abrahams.
Now, having left Willunga, I feel a little sentimental - not so much for their provincial setting and fresh food, but for the positive and innovative atmosphere that they are building on the back of their NBN roll out. I hope to be able to inspire a similar change in my regional economy when the NBN rolls out on the Central Coast of NSW later this year.
Perhaps fresh local food, wine, optimism and superfast networks can deliver a new economic renaissance to many regions across Australia. Oh, and with such high speed 3D virtual reality don't forget your bicycle helmet.
Article originally published on myregion.com.au.