Victoria’s best artisanal producers will be supported to employ more staff, upgrade equipment and grow their businesses to take Victorian produce to the world, thanks to funding from the Andrews Labor Government.
Minister for Agriculture Jaclyn Symes today visited Blue Tongue Berries in Seymour, who received support through the first round of the Labor Government’s Artisanal Sector program to purchase a solar water pump that will allow the blueberry plantation to operate completely off-grid.
Blue Tongue Berries is one of 29 successful applicants to share in $136,800 in the first round of grants alongside a goat cheese producer, a Celtic bakery, an aquaponics business and berry, rhubarb and vegetable producers.
The grants will help artisanal producers and food businesses invest in the skills and training, equipment and small-scale projects they need to grow their businesses.
The Labor Government’s Artisanal Sector program was launched in 2018 to support Victoria’s artisan agriculture and premium food producers, alongside the launch of the Artisanal Sector Roadmap, which provides a framework to support and grow the sector across Victoria.
Eligible producers can continue to apply for up to $5,000 in the first round of grants until 31 January 2019.
Expressions of interest for the second round of the Artisanal Sector program, which will fund larger projects, are now being accepted, with applications to open later in 2019.
For more information and to apply for a grant, visit agriculture.vic.gov.au/artisanag.
As noted by Minister for Agriculture Jaclyn Symes
“Victoria is Australia’s premier food destination – and we’re proud to be strengthening our state’s artisanal food offerings and helping fantastic businesses take local products to the world.”
“I would encourage all of our state’s artisanal producers and food businesses to see how the Artisanal Sector program can help them make the most of their wonderful products and ideas for growth.”
As stated by Blue Tongue Berries farm owner Nick Bray
“This grant has allowed us to install a solar operated pump to irrigate our blueberries – the last piece of the puzzle for our vision of energy sustainability for Blue Tongue Berries.”