We were overwhelmed by the extraordinary generosity of the Australian people raising over $55,000 in 2018 to help support our industry
With those incredibly kind donations, we created the #berryloved fund which has been used to run a whole series of workshops for our Queensland strawberry growers which have provided mental health support, small business advice and business diversification opportunities to help them to build a more resilient business.
So far we have held:
- A Women’s Wellness Lunch at Marcoola in February 2019 which provided stress management techniques, ideas for how to stay mentally strong and to build stronger support networks within the women of the industry
- A Business Information workshop in Caboolture covering essential business topics including Fair Work obligations, border security, Australian Tax Office, Work Cover, Workplace Health and Safety, Industrial Relations, Queensland Fire and Rescue (grower training and information)
- An Agri-Tourism Tour to Sunshine Coast hinterland looking at successful diversified agri-businesses harnessing the trend for agri-tourism experiences. This also provided rare opportunities away from the farm for growers to build new networks
- Lunch & Laughs – an industry lunch with comedian & mental health professional Mark McConville to celebrate the end of the season, build resilience through laughter and further strengthen the connections between growers
And now 2021 has brought a fresh set of challenges for our strawberry farmers – a chronic workforce shortage!
The Association has decided to invest all of the remaining funds into our promotion to try to attract workers for the winter strawberry season. Without a supply of willing workers, the smaller family farms that have struggled their way through the last few years will sadly go out of business. We have already lost a number of growers in the last year and we don’t want to lose any more.