Originally Published:
Macleay Argus
By Kieran Moran
Sept. 25, 2015

A CROWD of more than seventy locals attended the Kempsey Shire Council’s MicroAgri Forum held at Kempsey Showgrounds this week.

The event was part of the Healthy Communities program aimed at building upon the diversity of intensive small scale production within the Macleay Valley.

Program coordinator Julie Woodrow said the forum was about showcasing what the Macleay Valley has in terms of micro-agri production.

“It’s about inspiring people who have underutilized land to come on board and start to consider what money they could make from their land and become part of an opportunity which is joining the food supply chain locally,” Ms Woodrow said.

“The Macleay Valley has incredible diversity in terms of producers who have established niche markets where they can’t meet the demand.

“What this means is people who are willing to produce at the same quality level can join those producers and start to bring more food into that supply chain.

“They can benefit from the marketing and the existing markets as well as the buying power without having to be all things to people from the get go.

“It’s a low cost entry point where people can start with small amounts and make money off half an acre where they can create a niche market.”

A number of speakers attended the forum from producers to local supply businesses to discuss the benefits of micro-agriculture.

Jeremy Bradley from FoodPrints, a biological assessments and supply service company, said he spoke at the forum to share his knowledge of how the agriculture sector can become more sustainable and profitable.

“I spoke about what microbes are in the soil and how they actually work on peoples’ farms to benefit micro-agri producers without them having to pay,” Mr Bradley said.

“The bacteria that feed on the sugars produced by the plants provide nitrogen into the soil and other microbes liberate minerals in the soil.

“A lot of the soils in the Macleay and on the Mid North Coast are relatively poor and with microbes, minerals and management people can grow better soil.”

Co-owner of boutique beer company Bucket Brewery, Sam Preston, said he attended the forum to promote his small business.

“There are a number of opportunities for us as a small brewery as we would like to get into the pubs and bottleshops and basically be the beer that everyone drinks around here,” Mr Preston said.

“It’s a wonderful opportunity to put ourselves out there and let people know who we are and what we are all about.

“In the future I hope when people see Bucket Brewery on the beer tap or in the bottleshop that they will know who we are and hopefully give us a go.”

For further information about the MicroAgri Forum or other initiatives please contact Kempsey Shire Council on 6566 3200.

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