HELPING South Gippsland and Bass Coast farmers adapt to climate change is the aim of a project being jointly funded and delivered by the two local shires.
And last Saturday, officers from both shires took the opportunity to spread the word at the Bass Coast Summer Agricultural Show in Wonthaggi.
Over the years, shows have often been the place to take campaigns, programs and information of all sorts to the people, especially at election time, and there were several efforts being made to do just that last Saturday.
There was a novelty recycle bin doing the rounds to promote waste recycling.
The Wonthaggi SES was out making a pitch to attract members.
And the CFA had a Fire Ready stand delivering the summer fire message.
Manning the Agricultural Climate Resilience stand were Bass Coast Economic Development Coordinator, Ros Jenzen, and South Gippsland Shire project officer, Jill Vella.
“We’ve been chatting with some of the farmers about the project and it’s been a good way to raise the issue locally,” Ms Jenzen said.
So what is the Agricultural Climate Resilience Project all about?
“The Victorian Government identifies climate adaption for the agricultural sector as an important issue to address for the long term prosperity of our communities.
“This is definitely the case in this region with agriculture worth approximately $500 million to the economy annually.
“The project developed out of a partnership between the Victorian Government, South Gippsland and Bass Coast shire councils, and local producers over a period of four years. This culminated in outcomes such as the Southern Gippsland Local Food Map, South Coast Local Food Coalition and Bass Coast Rural Engagement Group.”
The project will focus attention on skill development and strategic planning over a two-year period, until November 2016, to assist local food producers in adapting to the challenges of climate change.
It could involve physically reducing the impacts of climate change by using wind breaks and shelter belts, developing healthier, water-retaining soil and improved land and water management.
Sharing resources and knowledge via food cooperatives and the like, diversifying into other products and methods, better addressing pests and weeds and risk mitigation; these could all be among the outcomes.
A range or workshops and farm visits are being rolled out to support the project.
For more details contact Jill Vella, project officer, 5662 9200 or email jill.vella@southgippsland.vic.gov.au