Covering the Goulburn and Murray valleys

Design unveiled for new food co-op

Plans for a new food manufacturing plant at Kyabram have been unveiled.

October 16, 2012 4:06am

GV Food Co-operative Director Les Cameron with the sketch.

The public and supporters of Goulburn Valley Food Co-operative have been given an update and a sneak peek at what a new food processing facility might look like.

The group has risen from the ashes of the former Heinz tomato processing facility at Girgarre and has vowed to get food processing up and running again on a Kyabram industrial site.

On Thursday night the co-operative held a joint meeting with sister organisation Australian Grown Food Company at Kyabram Community and Learning Centre.

Co-operative chairman Les Cameron said the group was excited to present the designs as the next step in achieving its goal of creating a sustainable, environmentally-friendly and competitive food manufacturing plant.

The vision for the factory is to have a sort of ‘‘manufacturing farmers’ market’’ where people can see how their food is made and buy the products.

About 30 other images of the concept designs from Studio Osk and antarctica architects were presented for discussion, and Mr Cameron said he was happy with the plans.

‘‘I feel really pleased with them, they’ve thought through all of the issues,’’ he said.

Tomato farmer and co-operative director Bruce Weekes said while concerns about the state of the industry remained, a co-operative approach was the best way forward.

‘‘Things will continue to be tough. Manufacturing in Australia is in deep trouble, there is no doubt about that,’’ he said.

‘‘We have to be really competitive to make this work, but there is no doubt a co-operative way of doing things is the only chance. I am impressed with the efforts of everyone to make this happen and it is great to have everyone having the opportunity of being a shareholder no matter how little they have.’’

Member Dermot Brophy said he was looking forward to discussing how the factory would operate.

‘‘We know we now have the money to go forward, (but) we also have to be super-efficient if we are going to survive,’’ he said.

Co-operative director and former Heinz employee Ken Covington said having the architects present the design concepts to a local audience was a great way of moving closer to the group’s goal.

‘‘Within a month all the people who have been working with us will be joint owners of the factory land, and that is a great milestone for all of us,’’ Mr Covington said.

The co-operative is now in the final stages of buying land for the factory from Kyabram businessman Scott Collins.

Purchase of the site, on Wood Rd in Kyabram Industrial Estate, is expected to be completed at the end of October.

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