THERE’S a lot to like about locally produced food and goods.
That’s the word being spread by the newly formed Prom Coast Food Co-operative that is making it easier for South Gippslanders and visitors to buy locally grown and made food and cleaning products.
A group of local farmers, backyard producers, business owners and conscientious consumers have united to form the co-op as a convenient way for consumers to buy organic and local goods.
Once a month, producers will gather at Blue True Honey Farm at Dumbalk to deliver pre-ordered goods to consumers, and meet the producers and learn more about the stories behind their products.
The initial group of 11 producers are Amber Creek Farm and Sawmill, Colin and Sally’s Organic Lamb and Beef, Blue Tree Honey Farm, Fish Creek Community Gardens, Buckley Park Community Farm, Kilmorack Farm Eggs, Terramirra Park Venison, PS It’s Organic beef, Mirboo Farm, Oak and Swan Sourdough, Mirboo Pastured Poultry, Pangrazzi Cheese, Golden Creek Olives, and Larkrise Eco-Clean cleaning products.
The grand opening will be on Sunday, April 23 between 3pm and 4.30pm, with the co-op to continue to meet on the third Sunday of each month. Only pre-ordered goods will be available, with no additional goods sold on the day.
The initiative is the brainchild of Bronwyn Davis of Fish Creek, Sally Ruljancich of Colin and Sally’s Organic Lamb, Dollar, and Amelia Bright of Amber Creek Farm and Sawmill, Fish Creek.
“We’re for consumers who are conscientious about what they are putting in their bodies and their families’ bodies,” Ms Davis said.
“We want this to grow so that eventually it’s something all South Gippsland producers can get on board with.”
The co-op was formed to make it convenient for consumers to buy, while saving producers the time involved with attending farmers’ markets.
“Through the co-op, hopefully we will be able to work with some retail outlets that can provide regular opportunities for customers,” Ms Davis said.
“We love to educate people about seasonal and local products, but we are also fighting that consumer mentality of convenience. The co-op is a retrospective way of trading produce because this is the way produce was traded in the past.”
The co-op attracted 110 subscribers within a week and already has hundreds of likes of its Facebook page.
Ms Ruljancich has experience running similar food hubs in Melbourne, on the Mornington Peninsula and Geelong.
“It’s a bit hard to buy from producers when they’re scattered all over the place,” she said.
Rob Fisher of Blue Tree Honey Farm said, “Producers are proud of their products and people love the story of the product. People can come and taste some real honey from their local beekeeper.”
To order goods, head to the website, https://promcoastfoodcoop.wixsite.com/subscribe, and place your order. Then head to Blue Tree Honey Farm on April 23 and collect your products from each producer, and enjoy a chat with them while you are there.
Co-op members will be charged $1 a week to cover administration and order processing costs.
“It’s about consumers being more aware of what producers go through to bring their food to them,” Ms Davis said.
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