A 105-hectare property on the outskirts of Canberra is set to become home to a self-sustaining Murray cod fishery and an organic cider mill, among other agrifood businesses, as part of an innovative "agrihub".
Freshford Foods will aim to provide an expansive offering for farmers, artisan food and beverage producers, agriculture investors and community groups to drive environmental social sustainability in Canberra's south.
Managing director Hamish Sinclair predicts the $100 million investment could create over 120 jobs and inject $397 million into the local economy.
"Within the next 25 years, we think we will have provided a brand new sector of the ACT's economy," Mr Sinclair said.
What was a pipedream two weeks ago has been thrust into development following meetings with member for Bean David Smith, Regional Development Australia and the Australian National University's Centre for Entrepreneurial Agritechnology.
The hub will be divided into two sectors.
The first, a 45-hectare artisan sector, will host up to 15 agribusinesses, including a cider tree orchard.
The second, a 65-hectare agritech sector, will be home to an extensive aquaculture venture in partnership with Uarah Fisheries.
The aquaculture project, headed by Dr John Yu, will farm Murray cod using recirculating aquaculture system technology to grow fish to market size, in an attempt to increase Murray cod numbers in Australia.
A spokesperson for the Department of Agriculture, Water and Environment voiced their support of the project.
"Innovation hubs play a key role in the agricultural innovation system, by providing a physical location where researchers can innovate with producers and businesses along the supply chain to co-design and test solutions," the spokesperson said.
"Hubs foster entrepreneurship and help link agritech developers with investors to improve commercialisation of research outcomes and uptake of the innovation solutions."
Located near the Hume distribution centre and Canberra Airport, the hub will allow for Canberra-grown and made produce to be distributed worldwide.
"Things can be grown on the property and 30 minutes later are booked on a plane to anywhere in the world," Mr Sinclair said.
The land, currently owned by Mr Sinclair and his wife Janice Firth, is occupied by the Freshford Equestrian centre, 100 hectares of which will be sold to Freshford Foods.
The current equestrian facilities will be retained to allow visitors to ride around the property to view the agribusinesses involved in producing the food and drinks enjoyed onsite.
"We want to have a very clear break from 'I've left town and am now out in the country,'" he said.
"It's important that we have transparency in what we are doing with the land."
Mr Sinclair believes the opportunity for small agribusinesses to set up on the hub land is akin to the first home owner's grant, with many young farmers unable to afford the outset of starting a farm.
As a rural land-holder himself, Mr Sinclair has been waiting nearly 20 years for the ACT government to make decisions regarding potential urban development on rural land in the west of Tuggeranong.
Freshford Foods will begin taking expressions of interest for agribusinesses in the coming months.