Small-scale and craft producers across Victoria are now better equipped to grow their businesses and spread local produce more widely, thanks to support from the Andrews Labor Government.

Minister for Agriculture Jaclyn Symes and Member for Macedon Mary-Anne Thomas today visited Hand to Ground farm in the Macedon Ranges to announce that the Labor Government is backing almost 250 food, drink and produce companies from around the state as part of the first round of the Artisanal Sector Program.

Run by Alex and Emily Sims, Hand to Ground produces sustainable poultry, eggs, raw honey and handmade soaps on 30 acres of pasture. A grant of $5000 from the Labor Government will allow the family to engage a consultant for branding, marketing and the design of a new egg carton, website and social media – so they can increase sales and spread their unique produce more widely.

Across Victoria, almost 250 small-scale and craft food and drink businesses have received grants to support them to grow by purchasing new equipment or infrastructure, completing training in specialist food and agricultural techniques or hiring consultancy services to build their marketing and business capability.

The Victorian Budget 2018/19 provided $2 million to support small and micro businesses from around the state increase production and promote their local produce more widely.

Victoria is renowned for its high-quality premium produce, and the Labor Government is proud to support the agricultural businesses that not only feed and clothe Victorians, but create jobs, attract tourism and make regional communities vibrant.

The Labor Government is now extending the Artisanal Sector Program with an additional $10 million, as well as opening the grants to craft brewers and distillers.

The expansion of the program is part of a goal to keep Victoria as the nation’s number one food producer, support local economies, create local jobs and reach $20 billion in food and fibre exports by 2030.

The program has received a huge response and large number of applications in its first round, highlighting the important role of local produce, and the diversity of the sector across Victoria.

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Quotes attributable to Minister for Agriculture Jaclyn Symes

“We’re proud to back producers right across the state to improve their agricultural techniques and business skills, so they can increase their production and share their produce more widely.”

“Victoria has a rich and diverse agricultural sector, and we’re supporting our producers to improve market opportunities and build agri-tourism across the state.”

Quote attributable to Member for Macedon Mary-Anne Thomas

“It’s so exciting to support family-run producers like Hand to Ground – so they can spread their sustainable and delicious produce further, and promote Macedon as a premier Victorian food destination.”