Thursday, 13 February: Biofarms Australia in Forth, Tasmania has become the latest beneficiary of the $30 million Woolworths Organic Growth Fund.
The organic vegetable grower will use a $500,000 interest-free loan from the Organic Growth Fund to buy new machinery and equipment, and upgrade irrigation systems to improve productivity and efficiency on the 300-acre farm.
Run by brothers Chris, Mark and David Benson, Biofarms Australia produces a diverse range of certified organic vegetables such as broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, beetroot and pumpkin.
Biofarms co-owner Chris Benson said: “Tasmania was just made for growing vegetables. It has the soil, the water and the climate to suit growing a wide range of produce well.”
“We initially started our farm growing vegetables conventionally over 20 years ago. We were keen to eliminate the use of chemicals for environmental reasons, and so we decided to start organic production in 1999 and haven’t looked back.
“In the beginning we were quite small and at times it was financially challenging, but we believed in the principles and the product, so stuck with it.
“There is now so much variety of organic food available and Woolworths has a great range, which means customers can shop in the one place and get all that they need.”
Biofarms Australia is expected to start supplying Woolworths with organic vegetables from spring this year.
Woolworths Head of Produce Paul Turner said: “We’re seeing double digit growth in customer demand for organic fruit and vegetables, and believe the trend will only continue over coming years.
“We’re delighted to be working closely with organic farmers like the Benson brothers to boost production and make organics much more accessible across Australia.
“The Bensons are rightly ambitious with their growth plans and we’re excited to see what our fund will unlock for Biofarms and our mutual customers.”
Round three of the Woolworths Organic Growth Fund is now open and Woolworths is inviting farmers to apply by 1 March 2020. In the next grant round, Woolworths is particularly keen to hear from conventional fruit and vegetable growers looking to convert to organic farming methods.
About the Woolworths Organic Growth Fund
The Woolworths Organic Growth Fund has been established in partnership with Heritage Bank - Australia’s largest customer-owned bank - to help Australians farmers meet the growing consumer demand for organic fruit and vegetables.
Woolworths has committed to invest up to $30 million over a five-year period in the form of financial grants and interest-free loans. Applicants who successfully apply to the Woolworths Organic Growth Fund for an interest-free loan are invited to apply for an interest-free loan issued by Heritage Bank.
For further information, contact Woolworths Media: 02 8885 1033 or firstname.lastname@example.org