Small-scale and craft producers across the Bendigo region are now better equipped to grow their businesses and spread local produce more widely, thanks to support from the Andrews Labor Government.

Member for Bendigo East Jacinta Allan and Member for Bendigo West Maree Edwards today announced that the Labor Government is backing local food, drink and produce companies from around the state as part of the first round of the Artisanal Sector Program.

Bridgeward Grove is a grower of olives and producer of olive products and preserves, and will receive a grant for marketing and web services to grow their sales to a wider audience.

Divine is an organic grower of edible flowers, culinary herbs and vegetables in Goornong, Central Victoria whose grant will be used to purchase a forklift to improve efficiency in production and packing as they use a palletised system when sending produce out.

Thyme for Tea produces artisanal hot and cold tea beverages, collaborating with other local producers for events, and sourcing local produce wherever possible. Their grant will be used to purchase a new label maker and labels to enable higher production of their teas.

The Flowermint produces and arranges artisanal flowers locally, including natives, using specialised techniques, providing customers with an authentic experience – and will use the grant to purchase greenhouse equipment that will support expanded production of locally-grown flowers.

Wild and Tamed is a small-scale, specialised artisan bread maker that provides artisan breads for a large number of cafes and restaurants in the Bendigo region. Their grant will go towards equipment that will allow the business to produce more bread more quickly and grow their customer base.

Across Victoria, almost 250 small-scale and craft food and drink businesses have received grants to support them to grow by purchasing new equipment or infrastructure, completing training in specialist food and agricultural techniques or hiring consultancy services to build their marketing and business capability.

The Victorian Budget 2018/19 provided $2 million to support small and micro businesses from around the state increase production and promote their local produce more widely.

Victoria is renowned for its high-quality premium produce, and the Labor Government is proud to support the agricultural businesses that not only feed and clothe Victorians, but create jobs, attract tourism and make regional communities vibrant.

The Labor Government is now continuing its support for small-scale craft food, beer and spirit producers, with a commitment to provide an additional $10 million.

The expansion of the program is part of a goal to keep Victoria as the nation’s number one food producer, support local economies, create local jobs and reach $20 billion in food and fibre exports by 2030.

The program has received a huge response and large number of applications in its first round, highlighting the important role of local produce, and the diversity of the sector across Victoria.

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Quotes attributable to Member for Bendigo East Jacinta Allan

“We’re proud to back Bendigo’s craft producers to improve their agricultural techniques and business skills, so they can increase their production and share their produce more widely.”

Quotes attributable to Member for Bendigo West Maree Edwards

“The Bendigo region has a rich and diverse agricultural sector, and we’re supporting our producers to improve market opportunities and build agri-tourism across the state.”

Posted by:Maree Edwards MP