“We are keen to offer a fair price for what Heinz is leaving, reduced to allow for tax payer support over the years and then we would like to get on with running the business for all Australians.” Les Cameron – Cooperative Member
It’s exciting times for people in Girgarre, as well as everyone else who thinks it might be time to take control of our food system back into our own hands!
So for those that haven’t heard, Heinz has decided to close it’s factory at Girgarre (which is in northern Victoria, close to Shepparton). This was very bad news for the people who worked there, as well as all the farmers that supplied them. In good news, they decided not to take it. These feisty people have lept into action and organised themselves to buy it and run it as a ‘paddock to plate’ cooperative – legends!
A bit more of this behaviour and working together, perhaps we can actually turn this around . .
Since the announcement was made, they have formed themselves into the ‘Goulburn Valley Food Action Committee’, got themselves organised and it really looks like they’re going to pull this off. So far they have:
- Built an effective committee of growers, manufacturers, marketers, educators, financial managers, consumers, distributors and services keen to develop a “paddock to plate” cooperative aiming for food security
- Raised funds to purchase the plant (up to $2.5 million)
- Identified funds to underpin purchase of new equipment (up to $15 million)
- Established a profile across Australia (and the world) as David in a battle with an international Goliath
- Identified a suitably governance structure which will enable cooperative business units to operate profitably and support the cooperative through a community dividend
- Applied for available government funding for innovation, training and research (up to $9 million)
- Built a strategy to encourage 1,000,000 Australians to become members of the cooperative at $50pp effectively underpinning operations with up to $50,000,000
Consider me in!! My $50 is at the ready . . show me where to sign 🙂
According to their latest media release,
“We have also been identified as the only potential purchaser of the Girgarre land and buildings and will, subject to price and quality of the offer, be the purchaser. We have investigated the conditions under which Heinz purchased the property from the Shire of Deakin and believe that there are grounds for Heinz making the land available to the cooperative at a suitable figure.”
(i.e. taking into account that it was public land until 1989 when sold to Heinz with ‘incentives’ and ‘substantial support’).
What an awesome story to fire us up for 2012 which is both Year of the Cooperative and Australian Year of the Farmer!
I’m guessing these people are pretty busy and we’ll update the blog if/when we hear more, but if you’re after immediate info or media inquiries: Les Cameron 0417 592 670 or Graham Truran 0419561451