Council is pleased to announce the following members have been appointed to the Project Advisory Group for the Artisan Agriculture Project.
- Carmel Masterson – Springmount Foods – Blampied
- Danny Kinnear – Danny’s Farm – Blampied
- Tammi Jonas – Jonai Farm – Eganstown
- Darren Rose – Two Good Acres – Newlyn North
- Sophia Christoe – Holy Goat Cheese – Sutton Grange
- Natalie Hardy – Brookland Free Range Farms – Blampied
- Richard Bales – Regional Development Victoria – Ballarat
- Angela Clough – Agriculture Victoria – Ballarat
Working directly with Artisan Agriculture Specialist Sharon Hebbard, the Project Advisory Group’s role is to assist the Hepburn Shire Council by providing key insights of industry trends and to promote a shared knowledge, understanding and increase awareness of the sector within the Shire and broader Central Highlands region.
“We are thrilled to be working collaboratively with representatives from our local artisan agriculture sector on this project. It’s important to hear directly from the sector about what their key barriers and needs are, so we can assist the sector to become more successful” said Mayor Cr Kokocinski.
“The advisory group led by industry will provide a ‘voice’ to Council throughout the project and assist to grow the artisan agriculture sector business within the Shire and greater Central Highlands region” said Mayor Cr Kokocinski.
Victoria is a major producer of food and fibre commodities, accounting for approximately one quarter of Australia’s total agricultural production (by value). Artisan agriculture has only recently been acknowledged as a sector in a similar way that grains or dairy are acknowledged as being sectors with their own unique strengths, challenges and markets.
Agriculture Victoria’s Angela Clough explained “We are pleased to be working with Hepburn Shire Council to support our producers of premium foods in the Central Highlands region. Artisanal producers work on a small scale or use specialised techniques, and their produce has clearly identified provenance.”
In October last year, Hepburn Shire Council successfully acquired funding to lead the Artisan Agriculture Project over three years to provide support to the sector in the following areas to:
- Raise the profile of the Hepburn Shire and greater Central Highlands artisan agriculture producers more broadly
- Improve financial stability by expanding access to government grants and reducing barriers to finance for producers
- Increase access to business support services through centralised information and training and mentoring opportunities to build business skills and knowledge.
- Improve access for a more scale appropriate food regulatory framework
- Better access to shared infrastructure and market distribution channels
- Increase awareness of competing land use pressures on the sector to LGA’s and State Government.