The Huon Producers’ Network vision for the Valley is a vibrant and diverse group of small to medium sized producers who work cooperatively to establish a local food bowl and resilient economy.
By working together we can reduce costs, share knowledge, resources, build our community, increase local health and prosperity and create a dynamic force for change.
(Kerri Gill’s alternative vision version):
We’re a bunch of grubby gardeners who rock up at each other’s places, ask “what the hell is that growing between the spinach and the turnips?”, steal cuttings off each other’s fruit trees, share soil borne diseases on our gumboots, and corrupt each other into supplying illegal goods like raw milk cheese and unstamped eggs.
At local farmers markets we push other peoples produce aside to make space for our own, bitch about the guy who has better looking spring onions for 50c cheaper per bunch, and discuss the colour of our undies. Wanna join?
HEART FOUNDATION FUNDING
Near the end of 2014 we successful in gaining $80,000 from Healthy Food Access Tasmania funded by the Heart Foundation to further the goals of the network – primarily to increase the access and availability of fresh fruit and vegetables in the Huon. This has made it possible to make significant progress. The project ends April 2016.
Beyond the funding we’re working hard to ensure the network is financially sustainable through a range of low level fundraising exercises such as training, bulk buys and market fees. Plus we’re cheapskates wherever possible 🙂
In 2014 we received $3000 from Huon Aquaculture towards buying a Pop up Shop through their Community Grants program.
We were also grateful to receive $3000 from Lara Giddings Office towards the 2014 So You Want To Be A Market Gardener Training
In August 2013 Liz Smith & Linda Cockburn organised a public meeting at the Lady Franklin to discuss the issues that faced local producers with an idea that those who turned up might consider it a good idea group and try overcome those challenges together. The response? An enthusiastic YES!
We’ve been meeting fortnightly ever since, more often than not at the Franklin Primary School Library – thanks to the Principal there and the agreement that we take off our muddy boots.
We’ve come a long way in a short time, but we have a long way to go yet. But we’re a determined mob made up of some very smart people who have an enormous passion for food and the Huon Valley.
The network started stretching it’s experimental market wings in 2013 in the valley attending Franklin Market, branching out to Huonville, Judbury, Cygnet, Dover in 2014 and Geeveston’s Farmers’ Market & Kingston Farmers’ Market in 2015.
We had a go with pop-up-markets on the sides of roads, and mucked around a lot with displays and ways of doing things better. We got things right by first doing it wrong.
Come to think of it we got a lot of things wrong.
We were testing the water. Helping producers get the hang of not just producing, but packing, presenting and just darn well turning up on time (And Celia taught us that she will always be the exception).
Many of us branched out and started selling direct to cafes and restaurants. To that end we surveyed cafes and restaurants in the Huon and discovered that in the Huon alone they used 124kg of carrots a week. They’re a big market and they WANTED local.
But it still wasn’t going to produce the amount of turnover we needed. We needed something more, something bigger, something so cool it would rock the socks off everything we’d done before.
November 22 is the first Huon Farmers’ Market & accompanying it the e-market – a way of effectively servicing the entire Huon with a logistical producer delivery system.