Twelve innovative Australian projects will get to share in almost $3 million from the Coles Nurture Fund. Coles has announced it would provide grants to twelve small and medium sized businesses which are instigating plans to improve sustainability, rebuild after bushfires and produce more Australian food and beverages.
Coles Group CEO Steven Cain said the commitment of nearly $3 million in grants from Round 8 brings the total amount provided by the Coles Nurture Fund to more than $24 million since it was established.
“The Coles Nurture Fund was set up to support new, innovative practices, processes and technologies and we’ve been delighted with the calibre of the applications this year. At a time when food and grocery manufacturing across Australia is so important due to the flow-on effect of COVID-19, it’s terrific to see the innovative, forward thinking of small to medium sized businesses,” he said.
“At Coles, we also want to win together with Australian producers to be the most sustainable supermarket in Australia. By helping to fund initiatives which increase recycling, reduce water use, increase local production and enhance the environment, we aim to drive generational sustainability in Australia.”
Among the producers to receive grants are:
- Black River Produce, that will plant more asparagus and install equipment to process the produce on their farm west of Townsville in Queensland. This will enable them to produce asparagus out of season and replace imported asparagus with Aussie-grown produce.
- Harvey Citrus from Harvey in Western Australia. This company will extend the supply of WA-grown citrus over the summer by at least three weeks and increase local employment by extending its cool room facility and acquiring solar panelling.
- Sutton Farms from Gatton in Queensland will increase water and fertiliser efficiency by introducing grow bag technology and a new irrigation system for its cherry tomatoes grown in the field.
Hall Stanley Premium Chestnuts from Stanley in Victoria will save water and increase production by introducing new high-efficiency irrigation and fertigation, which reduces evaporation and increases nutrients.
National Farmers Federation CEO Tony Mahar welcomed Coles’ support for innovative farmers. “It’s inspiring to see that from the challenges of drought and bushfires has come such ingenuity – like the development of fence posts from silage waste; the installation of cutting-edge robotic technology and new high-efficiency irrigation systems,” he said.