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Wednesday, 5 July 2017


The Andrews Labor Government today awarded a Food Source Victoria Grant to the Harcourt Organic Farm Co-op to enable the regional business alliance to explore opportunities in new, high-value export markets for organic produce. 

The alliance is made up of three producers from the Harcourt region – Mt Alexander Fruit Gardens, which grows certified organic fruit; Maidenii, a vermouth produced with Australian ingredients; and Gung Hoe, a company that produces chemical-free organic green produce.

Katie and Hugh Finlay from Mt Alexander Fruit Gardens are well known for their organic produce. In 2015, Katie won the Victorian Rural Women’s Award.  The business was also awarded Business of the Year at the 2015 Mount Alexander Business Awards.

Creators of Maidenii, Gilles Lapalus and Shaun Byrne, have backgrounds in wine and spirits, and named their main product, vermouth, after the British botanist, Joseph Maiden.

Gung Hoe Gardens is operated by ‘Mel and Sas’ whose produce is becoming increasingly popular in the region and restaurants of Melbourne.

The $9,082 planning grant will enable the alliance to capitalise on key differences, including its organic branding and high quality, and consider value-adding products such as organic cider.

The alliance is looking to grow based on its healthy focus on the production of safe, fresh and chemical free produce with organic branding.

This Food Source Victoria planning grant will ensure the Harcourt Organic Farm Co-op has capacity to overcome challenges facing the region and take the next steps for its future growth and development.

The $20 million Food Source Victoria program supports regional Victorians working in agriculture and food production to enhance their business and export skills through training and professional development.

The program is open for applications. People working in the food and fibre sector looking to collaborate and create new business opportunities are encouraged to contact or visit

Quotes attributable to Member for Bendigo West Maree Edwards

“Food Source Victoria’s Planning Grants program is giving regional Victorians the skills they need to develop in-demand food products and grow the state’s economy.”

“We’re proud to invest in our world-class growers right here in Harcourt, helping raise their profile, increase export potential and deliver quality produce to consumers domestically and on the international stage.” 

“We understand the importance of our $12 billion food and fibre export industry and that’s why we’re supporting innovative regional Victorian organisations working in agriculture and food production to develop skills and boost their businesses.”


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