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Margaret River small producers make their mark

Address:
SouthWest, Western Australia, Australia 6285
Description:

Farming Together stream: Expert Support
Case: 2299
Group Name: Margaret River Producers
Product/industry: mixed crops

The group and challenge
The Margaret River Rural Producers Association (MRRPA) in Western Australia has been busy for more than 17 years, conducting weekly farmers markets. These markets are a tangible way to promote the produce of their 80+ local members, but the organisation wanted to do more.

The Margaret River region has an enviable reputation. It is known as the home of quality and artisan produce. However, not all growers adhere to the standards of locally grown and locally supplied products, and there was no overall guarantee of authenticity.

The Association set out to develop a brand that increased consumer confidence and guaranteed the authenticity of the produce sold within and outside the region as the ‘genuine article’. They also aimed for the  the umbrella brand to assist in marketing the region’s produce to the rest of Australia and into Asia.

The group ensures quality product before allowing members to use their brand. Strict guidelines on provenance and compliance ensures the value of the brand.

Farming Together Services and Support
Being a small, grass roots organisation, the MRRPA had little in the kitty to invest in large-scale marketing and branding activities. Through Farming Together they were able to access the skills of a specialist consultant who worked with the group to develop a proactive business strategy with particular focus on brand development.

Further funding was made available to translate the brand into a professional website and other promotional tools. The framework of the website has been launched and the group is finalising the range of criteria and compliance checking for members to use the brand.

“Farming Together helped us to create a valuable resource to assist rural groups. The Program helped us to adopt a collaborative approach towards marketing and sales. Our premium quality produce, diverse member base and our new brand will enable us to educate the market about our region and the authenticity of our produce,” Tom Hayward – The Farm House.

Expert Services delivered

  • Business planning
  • Brand development and testing
  • Website and promotional material development

Impact and Outcomes
For the first time the group has a brand to bring all producers together and to unite under the banner of quality and authenticity. This brand provides a guarantee of authenticity for consumers and expands the reach for the Margaret River Rural Producers Association.

Restaurants, cafes and other outlets are eligible to become members, and use the brand, if they adhere to the quality standards and use of local produce. This strengthens the ties between the producers and retailers and more closely connects them to outlets who value-add and showcase their goods.

“We were very lucky to access funds to develop our brand. This will assist our farmers to make their produce stand out from the crowd and enable consumers to quickly recognise that the produce has been grown with care, skill and love. Our region has huge potential to communicate its incredible environment, pristine conditions and excellent produce,” Kat Lombardos – Margaret River Farmers’ Market Manager.

Future Directions
The future looks bright for Margaret River Produce as consumers become more aware of their food and demand to understand  the product’s story. The Group’s new website will be used:

  • to recruit members (like-minded growers)
  • to explore ways to increase the scale and scope of collaboration,
  • to generate economies of supply scale, and
  • to share resources and networking opportunities.

Major urban retailers have expressed interest in carrying MRRPA branded products. The group is exploring this opportunitiy but aims to maintain the boutique and seasonal focus of their diverse produce range. It sounds like the small producers of the Margaret River are thinking big.

Contact Information
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