Mansfield growers boost

01 Apr 2017 North East Farmer, Wangaratta (General News) by Rhyll Mccormack THE Victorian Government has provided a $30,000 grant to Mansfields gourmet food producers to commission a growth plan that will help them develop into the future. A project control group has already been established, and has appointed Mick and Rowena Ellis of Highview Partners to complete the plan. The Elliss, who own Long Lane Capers, have removed themselves from the gourmet group to alleviate any conflict of interest and will instead focus on how best to steer the growth of fellow producers from the area. The project control group is made up of Tin Shed Cider, Murphy Fresh Tomatos, Howes Creek Farm, Northern Slopes Plantation, Mansfield Coffee Merchant, Mansfield Farmers Markets, the Mansfield Shire Council and the Mansfield District Business Association. As part of the growth plan, we will explore all the options available to Mansfield producers including the barriers they face, Ms Ellis said. Something like this has been needed in Mansfield and the grant will really give us a chance to sit down and dedicate some time to see what will most benefit growers from this area. Its about exploring what works best for others in a similar situation, and what would work best for us here in Mansfield. Some examples of other shires which are capitalising on the gourmet market include Beechworth, which has 12 local producers working out of an online store as well as a physical location. Jaclyn Symes (MLC, Northern Victoria) announced the grant and said the funds were part of the Labor Governments $20 million Food Source Victoria Program. The grant will drive private sector investment, boost jobs, improve productivity, provide a reliable supply of produce for Mansfield agri-tourism sector and create export opportunity for businesses, Ms Symes said. Licensed by Copyright Agency. You may only copy or communicate this work with a licence.