An innovative fish and chip shop that featured on ABC's Landline and Gardening Australia for serving up a spray-free salad, freshly grown at its own aquaponics farm, is about to close its doors at Buderim.
'Rak' means love in Thai, and FarmRak founder, Nattapon Chumchujan has not given up on his vision of both caring for the environment and feeding people local food that is fresh and healthy. But COVID-19 has impacted trade and caused critical staff shortages.
To keep his dream alive, Mr Chumchujan had to put his farm on hiatus and close his popular Sunshine Coast eatery. "Unfortunately, at the moment we're just struggling with staff," he said. "We just have to make a hard decision just to shut it down for now and we're just going to wait and see whether the situation is going to improve." Mr Chumchujan has juggled aquaponic farming and operating the Buderim shop with renovating and rebranding his FarmRak signature restaurant in Ascot, Brisbane, which is still trading.
"Every operation required a lot of attention and work by itself. Trying to do them all without many people that can work is very tough," he said.
"One of the reasons that we decided to shut the shop down, at least I can save my energy and focus on things that I can do and have enough energy for when this wave is over. "We can still come back, and we can still do other things."
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