In 2022, Coles awarded grants to six small and medium sized businesses which are implementing plans to improve sustainability, grow Australia’s organic fresh produce industry and increase sustainable meat production. The grants bring the total financial support provided by the Coles Nurture Fund to $30 million since 2015.
Baxter, VIC and Barham, NSW
Family business Peninsula Fresh Organics will use a $300,000 grant to help transform its irrigation infrastructure at its farms at Baxter in Victoria and Barham in NSW and to build a cool room to improve product shelf life. This will help save 60 million litres of water per year and prevent run off of nutrients into local waterways.
Wayne Shields of Peninsula Fresh Organics said: “This Coles Nurture Fund grant will allow us to finalise a project that will have a significant impact on our environmental and business sustainability. With this grant we reduce our environmental footprint through substantial water savings and prevention of nutrient loss, while also improving produce quality.”
Third-generation business Mt Alma Organics will receive $300,000 to purchase and install specialised equipment for washing, grading and sorting produce.
Mt Alma Organics owners Gary and Angela Spotswood said: “We are ecstatic to be recipients of the Coles Nurture Fund and are thrilled that our plans to improve production in our packing shed and increase our growing capacity can come to fruition much sooner.”
“We look forward to working with Coles and supplying Australian families with even more of our delicious, healthy organic produce.”
Bowral, NSW and Gatton, QLD
Agricultural Networks will use a $189,000 grant to help fast-track access to organic fresh produce in key growing regions through a new dedicated organic certified packing and distribution facility at Gatton. This will enable the business to pack and supply increased volumes of produce from many local growers.
“Over the past three years, Agricultural Networks has developed a group of organic growers and a packing facility in Gympie, South Queensland, for the supply of organic fruit and vegetables exclusively to Coles. This grant will be used to expand the range and volume of organic produce for supply to Coles by developing a second organic hub in Gatton, including a dedicated packhouse, and supporting the transition of more growers from conventional to organic farming practices,” Agricultural Networks Operations Manager Rodney Tripp said.
“As illustrated by the recent weather events impacting the major growing regions, developing a secondary hub for organics will help to mitigate against climatic risk and ensure continuity of supply of organic fresh produce for Coles’ consumers.”
Fourth-generation farmers McMahon Family Enterprises, better known as McPiggery, has been awarded a $490,000 grant to construct covered effluent ponds at its new sheds to help manage waste and create sustainable energy by capturing methane.
Kim Thorpe of McPiggery has welcomed the $490,000 grant her business had been awarded.
“Being awarded the Coles Nurture Fund means a lot to our business and family. It means we can operate sustainably, and sustainability means many things to us. It means we can ensure we are more resilient for the future, not just from a financial perspective, but also from a social and environmental perspective,” Kim said.
“We are excited to be implementing new systems and technologies that allow us to be at the forefront of environmental accountability and leave our business and our land in the best possible state to allow future generations to continue our farming legacy.”
Lamb and horticulture business Elansco, owned and managed by Lauchlan and Sarah Cole, will receive a $295,000 grant to construct an undercover animal management facility. This will greatly improve the handling, welfare and management of lambs during winter when cold and wet weather conditions can adversely affect production.
“When we received the call that we had been successful, we were ecstatic. As a proud Tasmanian farming family committed to innovation, sustainable agriculture and best practice animal husbandry, we are delighted to be recipients of a Coles Nurture Fund,” Sarah Cole said.
“The grant will enable us to increase supply of high-quality 100 percent pasture-fed lamb utilising an all-season facility, enhance our sustainability commitment and further support businesses in the supply chain from paddock to plate. The investment will also underpin our ongoing commitment to caring for our land and growing our business for our children, as well as future generations.”
“We sincerely thank Coles for this game-changing funding, allowing us to swing the doors wide open, and we encourage other Australian farmers to apply for the Coles Nurture Fund.”
Cattle producers David and Katy Gillett from Jalna Feedlot have been awarded a $300,000 grant to install two solar power systems to reduce emissions in their production of beef for Coles’ carbon neutral beef range.
David Gillett welcomed the $300,000 grant his business had been awarded.
“We are very grateful and thank Coles for the funding from the Coles Nurture Fund for our Solar Energy Project,” he said.
“The funding will assist us to achieve our aim to reduce our carbon emissions and the reliance on fossil fuels and generate clean renewable energy by installing a solar power system on the roof of our feedlot.”