Goulburn Valley Co-operative finds its “home”
Image by Studio Osk
“The Goulburn Valley Food Coop has found a site for its first project…a value add factory in Kyabram” Chairperson Les Cameron announced today. “We have considered sites in Rochester and Merrigum but felt that a purpose built site in the Kyabram industrial estate will be a terrific first step. Our next steps will be to develop the rest of the Food Hub.”
Since the effort to secure the Heinz resource at Girgarre was rejected the Cooperative has searched the valley to find a replacement. “There were good opportunities outside the Campaspe region but we felt we had to honour the commitment made to locals,” finance manager Graham Truran added. “We will work with the owner of the site to ensure we get an outcome that is suitable for all concerned”.
It will take about 12 months to get to the production stage and the project team will now join with other small Australian producers to generate a range of goods which help replace imported products. ”It is certainly not our aim to compete with large local producers like SPCA, Unifoods, Simplot or Cedenko” Mr Cameron said “Our aim is to supply some of the niche markets which are not being filled”.
The Cooperative is convinced that they can create jobs for about 45 people in the new factory. They want to work creatively with the large producers, perhaps even sharing transport, packaging and storage facilities; and certainly supporting local farmers with a diverse range of produce. “Our production facility will be smaller in scale but more flexible we believe and we will make use of much of the unused capacity across Australia” Helen Hubble executive member of the cooperative explained. “We want to tap the ingenuity that exists in this country and provide new products at a suitable price.”
The Cooperative will further its activity with a May 16th launch at the Plaza Cinema in Kyabram. “We will profile a number of key parties interested in the issues; introduce some terrific guest speakers and performing artists and show our film called “Food Fight” Mr Truran said enthusiastically. “ We think this is a great start in our battle to replace Heinz and we are looking forward to a very exciting future”.
The Co-op’s million member campaign will also be launched by Peter Russell Clarke . “Even after his recent tragedy Peter is determined that this campaign must succeeded. He is an inspiration to us and his persistence is giving us all confidence” coop member Chris Lloyd commented.