Woolworths invested a total of $ 850,000 in two family-owned organic farms in the latest round of the Woolworths Organic Growth Fund, helping to boost future production and the resumption of bushfires.
The two winners of the fourth round of funding – Red Plateau Organic Produce and Bon Accord Organic Citrus – grow a wide range of fruit and vegetable varieties on farms in New South Wales and Queensland.
Red Plateau Organic Produce, based in Comboyne, NSW, suffered damage in a 2019 firestorm that swept through the surrounding area, burning more than 40% of one of the company’s properties and several of its avocado trees.
A $ 500,000 grant from the Woolworths Organic Growth Fund will help the business rebuild, ensure water security for the future, and invest in increased production with a new cold room and lifting platform for harvesting .
Red Plateau was founded by Sandra Fishwick, a longtime organic farmer who started producing organic vegetables for wholesale and local markets in the 1980s. She now runs the business with her two sons.
“We want to restore our farm to its former glory and replant and expand with more avocados,” Sandra said.
“We have worked hard to ensure that what we have developed will continue for the next generation. With the Woolworths grant, we will be able to move forward and rebuild faster.
The second grower to receive a grant from the fund’s latest cycle is Bon Accord Organic Citrus, an orchard in Gayndah, Queensland, which will use its $ 350,000 grant to bolster its shift to organic production.
After switching to organic farming last year, Will and Anna McLay of Bon Accord Organic Citrus will use the grant to increase production with an expanded orchard and new equipment to better meet the unique demands of organic farming.
The McLays started producing conventional citrus in 2016 and quickly recognized the potential of organic production as a growing market. This led them to branch out by purchasing a certified organic orchard in the North Burnett area of Queensland last year.
Orchard owner and manager Will McLay said the Australian organic market is growing.
“Consumers are looking for food that is grown in a healthy and sustainable way without chemicals. We believe there is a real opportunity to develop this market, ”he said.
The grants also mark the start of new partnerships between Woolworths and producers, who will have their products stocked in stores.
The Woolworths Organic Growth Fund was established to support eligible Australian growers in their organic farming projects.
Created in 2018 in partnership with Heritage Bank, the $ 30 million fund aims to help fruit and vegetable producers get into organic farming or expand existing organic production.
For more information: ausveg.com.au