Artisan grants available

19 Sep 2018 Seymour Telegraph, Seymour VIC (General News) by Alison OConnor A new grants program to support the artisanal sector has been launched. The first stage of the program is now open, with up to $5000 available to growers and producers to address the immediate needs of their small business. Member for Northern Victoria Jaclyn Symes dropped by Seymours Somerset Heritage Produce on Monday to make the announcement, which was well received by owner Chloe Fox. This is an amazing step forward not only for me but the industry as a whole, she said. I have an immediate need for a new packing shed, but to do that I would have to divert funds from other things like weed control, but to have a program like this that is available will make such a difference. There are grants out there, but often they are inaccessible and over complicated, but this program is straight forward and is very welcome. The Victorian Governments $2 million Artisanal Sector Grants program, and the states first Artisanal Sector Roadmap which was also launched on Monday, came about after extensive industry consultation. Nine regional forums were held across the state, including in Avenel, where producers were invited to share their stories, and an online survey enabled anyone who couldnt attend these forums to have their say. The first stage of the grants program is open, which aims to address the immediate needs of producers and food businesses. Stage two of the grants program will support larger scale projects and will be launched early next year. My local farmers market in Tallarook has introduced me to our vibrant and passionate artisanal sector, there are so many amazing people doing amazing things through creativity, innovation and collaboration, Ms Symes said. Labors candidate for Euroa, Fionna Deppeler-Morton, who attended the Avenel workshop and has been consulting with local producers welcomed the grants. The electorate of Euroa consists of many award winning local producers, from pork to alpaca, carrots to berries, cheese to olives and honey to eggs; support from the Labor Government will help them go from strength to strength, she said