Greens announce Grow The Growers initiative to help Coffs Coast farmers

Jonathan Cassell (L) and David Tate (R) want to support small-scale farmers. Photo: supplied.

 

COUNCIL candidate for the Greens, Jonathan Cassell, has announced an initiative to support the farming community.

Called ‘Grow the Growers’, it aims to introduce a thriving local small-scale produce market to support existing growers and provide a training pathway for people interested in market gardening.

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Mr Cassell said, “As someone who has been involved in market gardening, I’m very excited that the Greens can support farmers through this initiative if elected to Council in September.”

He said he wanted to encourage local production for local consumption and that research shows that such initiatives foster social connections in the community and support rural livelihoods.

“This particular farmers market model that has been developed on the NSW South Coast and has grown and grown over the last ten years,” Mr Cassell said.

“I can see Coffs Harbour benefiting greatly from a deliberate focus on small scale agriculture where shoppers access fresh, high quality, local foods from growers they know,” he said.

“This idea fits perfectly with Council’s MyCoffs Community Strategy, especially considering our area as a leader in sustainable agriculture, building community connections and providing economic opportunities,” he said.

Long-time Korora banana grower, David Tate, supports Mr Cassell and said he also would also like to see Council promote and develop a strong local market for small-scale producers.

“Growers need more help and Council could make a massive difference and really help smaller farmers remain viable,” he said.

Mr Tate said that he would like to see Council consider a land share strategy.

He pointed out that there are plenty of ‘sea changers’ with five-acre properties who are not farmers and many young farmers who don’t have land, and that linking them would have benefits for both.

“In my time I have seen the banana industry go from 1000, 40 years ago, to now only 20, so the situation is serious,” Mr Tate said.

“We have some of the best soils in NSW, an amazing climate and a growing population, and if we don’t act soon, we really won’t have much of an agriculture industry left in Coffs Harbour, so I support the Greens ‘Grow the Growers’.”

More information about the Grow the Grower initiative can be found by visiting www.coffsgreens.org.

 

By Andrew VIVIAN

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