Happy New Year to you all. I hope you enjoyed the festive season.
While public health measures to slow the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) impacted on many Landcare and environmental volunteer group meetings and on-ground activities last year, reports from our Regional Landcare Coordinators show that a great deal of environmental work was still completed.
In recognition of the continuing great work undertaken by Landcarers and environmental volunteers, the Victorian Government is pleased to continue to support the Landcare community into 2021, with $8.9 million for environmental volunteering and the Victorian Landcare Program announced in November in the Victorian Budget 2020-21.
This issue of the magazine is about small farms and food production. The breadth of articles shows that this sector is diverse, creative and adaptable.
Some producers who shared their stories reported that downtime during the pandemic gave them the opportunity to plan, trial more sustainable land management methods and develop new products.
The Central Otways Landcare Network identified a need for small and medium producers to connect with their customers and the community.
The network created a biennial food and fibre showcase featuring guest speakers, workshops and demonstrations. The event brings the region’s producers together to share information and get advice from experts.
Olive growers Rita Bikins and David Margetson from Pomonal in the Wimmera have created a successful paddock-to-plate business using organic farming practices. They have taken a holistic approach to sustainability by improving soil health, using environmentally sound packaging and reducing energy consumption.
On a smaller scale, retired research scientist Richard MacEwan shares his experience producing food on his property at Lockwood South, near Bendigo. The MacEwans grow a variety of herb and vegetable crops, and even make wine.
Farmer discussion groups are a great way for small producers on the Mornington Peninsula to share knowledge during challenging times. When local restaurants and wineries closed because of coronavirus (COVID-19) restrictions, several growers from one discussion group pooled resources and found new markets for their produce.
As ever, I am inspired by the commitment of Landcarers and environmental volunteers to improving our environment and our communities. I look forward to hearing about your successes during 2021.
The Hon. Lily D’Ambrosio
Minister for Energy, Environment and Climate Change
Minister for Solar Homes
The guidelines and the application form will be available on the DELWP website when applications open. Go to www.environment.vic.gov.au/grants/vlfp
Additional information regarding the 2021-24 VLFP employment requirements and updated frequently asked questions will also be available on the website.
For more information contact the Victorian Landcare Program staff at DELWP by email at firstname.lastname@example.org
The Victorian Government is continuing support for our natural environment by funding multiple grant programs this year for environmental volunteering projects.
The details of these environmental grant programs will be available online.
For more information, visit environment.vic.gov.au/grants