Supporting each other

Tumut producers and makers supporting each other

Smart Farmer News
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Originally planned as a replacement for the local farmers markets, the Tumut Region Producers and Makers Co-op is now helping out after the fires.

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BANDING TOGETHER: Sarah Kynaston and Hansie Armour prepare for the Tumut Region Producers and Makers Co-op to begin trading.

BANDING TOGETHER: Sarah Kynaston and Hansie Armour prepare for the Tumut Region Producers and Makers Co-op to begin trading.

After bushfires tore through the Tumut and Batlow area in January, not many, if any, producers were unaffected.

And while the concept of the Tumut Region Producers and Makers Co-op began 18 months ago, it is more important than ever in the wake of the fires.

"We started developing the co-op 18 months ago to give smaller producers and makers somewhere to market their goods," co-founder Sarah Kynaston said.

"Most of the operations which are involved in the co-op are very small.

"Many are a second income and it is just not financially viable for them to have a shop front by themselves.

"The co-op has now secured a location where each member can showcase their produce or products.

"After what we have all gone through with the fires, this is a very important step to many members getting back on their feet."

Before the co-op was founded, Tumut held a farmers market for four hours on Friday afternoons.

The markets were outside, making it susceptible to the whims of the weather.

It was from these markets where the majority of the co-op members came from.

"We thought having something more permanent and indoors would help us achieve our goals," co-op member Hansie Armour said.

"The temperatures can be pretty extreme here - very cold in winter and hot in summer.

"We feel we will be better able to support members with an indoor venue.

"We have applied for a grant to pay the rent for 12 months so that members don't have to bare that cost and maximise their profits to get back on their feet.

The Tumut Region Producers and Makers Co-op has 12 members, most of whom were severely affected by the fires, with some losing their homes.

"Some of what we are doing at the moment is just trying to help those members who really need it after the fires," Sarah said.

"Our regional produce and products are renowned and if we can give our members a face in the local community, it will be a benefit.

"If we can get our producers back on their feet again, in the long term it will benefit the broader community as well."

Offering a wide range

Despite the significant set back of the January bushfires, the Tumut Region Producers and Makers Co-op will still provide a wide range of produce and products.

At the shop they will sell everything from honey, jams, berries, wax wraps, lip balms, lamb, beef, eggs, condiments, chicken sausages, soaps, pork, breads, cakes, apples, juices, fruits, vegetables, fibres, fabrics, yarn, art, quilting and more.

Great location to get started

The need for a move indoors and a more permanent presence has seen the Tumut Farmers Markets transform into Tumut Region Producers and Makers Co-op.

To help best promote the produce and products of members, the co-op has secured the an iconic building just off the main street of Tumut.

The co-op tentatively opened its doors on Thursday, March 12, making good use of the Learmont building.

There are also plans to expand out the back.

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