Meeting demand for fresh, local produce

People across the globe are increasingly wanting to know where their food is sourced from, meaning fresh, chemical-free, local produce is increasing in demand.

Creswick’s Wholefoods Collective was established over two years ago by Jan Worthington.

The collective’s coordinator, Trish Stannus, said it currently had 70 odd members with about 50 of those members actively participating in its management.

COLOUR: Creswick wholefoods collective treasurer Maureen Hazelton and coordinator Trish Stannus. Photo: Dylan Burns

COLOUR: Creswick wholefoods collective treasurer Maureen Hazelton and coordinator Trish Stannus. Photo: Dylan Burns

“The collective was set up as a buying group for good quality, organic, locally sourced food at as cheap a price as we could provide,” Ms Stannus said.

“It was set up as a way to fulfill a need for what was not easily accessible and the idea grew very quickly. We are an act of community here... but people don’t have to live in Creswick to be able to join.”

The group has active members from as far as Ballarat and Smeaton.

Ms Stannus said the idea of a collective was that people worked together towards a common aim.

“We are pretty large for a collective because in the early days, Jan had control of everything. But we are now working on the idea that if you become a member, you are expected to do something towards helping the collective run smoothly.

“There is a lot of behind-the-scenes work that needs to be done towards the upkeep, like checking stock levels, ordering, paying bills and cleaning. Everybody has found something that they are able to contribute and that works for them,” she said.

Ms Stannus said the fantastic thing about the idea was that people not only had the opportunity to purchase fresh food, but also had the chance to learn new skills and be engaged in their community. 

“Members meet so many new people and make friends,” she said. “It’s about putting something in to get something back out of it.”

She said the collective worked well because people had a desire for the products but also because it was so informal.

The collective works in partnership with other groups like Transition Creswick, Creswick Community Garden and Creswick Neighbourhood House.

From a sustainable point of view, we need to be more conscious of the impact of our food supply on the planet by reducing our carbon footprints.

Trish Stannus

“Partnerships are really important to ground these different groups into the community and strengthen them and make them sustainable.

“It’s really healthy for our community to work together. Food is one of our most basic needs and food security is a really big issue worldwide. 

“From a sustainable point of view, we need to be more conscious of the impact of our food supply on the planet by reducing our carbon footprints.”

In saying that, Ms Stannus said realistically, there are some things a collective cannot do.

“People will still want their coffee and tea, and we know that in our climate, we can’t source those products locally. But we try to lessen our footprint as much as possible.”

“As long as people try to eat in season, then it’s more likely that their food will be sourced locally,” she said.

She said this in turn supported the local economy.