Garden of Villages’ directors in Gympie yesterday (from left) Tim Bennett, Leigha Gould, Jeff Hastings and John Rivett. Tanya Easterby
Garden of Villages’ directors in Gympie yesterday (from left) Tim Bennett, Leigha Gould, Jeff Hastings and John Rivett. Tanya Easterby Tanya Easterby

New venture in Valley

A NEW concept in primary industry and sustainable regional development could put the Mary Valley on the international map and launch it into a brave new future.

Garden of Villages presented the first of a series of information sessions in Gympie yesterday, explaining why the company had chosen the Mary Valley to establish what it believes will be a world-first showcase of regional renewal, successful co-operative farming and clean, green primary production.

The company has already secured land near Imbil to establish the first of what it hopes will be three agri-industry hubs in the Valley that will not only sustain and nurture family farming, but will give young farmers a chance to enter the industry, establish training centres to preserve and pass on the skills of a broad range of primary producers and create a locally based, integrated network of food production, value-adding, marketing and branding.

It is expected to boost rural income and employment, create affordable housing, reduce water use, carbon emissions and landfill waste, and hopefully attract the best farmers in the business to the Mary Valley.

Presenter and agricultural scientist Tim Bennett said yesterday Garden of Villages planned to create three different agricultural precincts in the Valley - one for tree crop industries, one for small crops and vegetables and one for meat, dairy and aquaculture. The company was in negotiations with the State Government to lease or purchase some of the land from the defunct Traveston dam, Mr Bennett said.

The first "village" to be established near Imbil will include its own training, research and accommodation centre, shared machinery and other rural infrastructure, and more.

"Garden of Villages is a product - a collaborative package of innovative and practical commercial partnerships between industry, residents, finance and the wider world," yesterday's presentation heard.

"It's more than an eco-village, more than a farming network or an agri-industry cluster. By integrating these and putting people at the centre, it is the first of its kind. It has evolved in the Mary Valley and has worldwide niche."

Inquiries about Garden of Villages in the Mary Valley can contact director and community liaison officer Leigha Gould at 0458 333 404 or leigha.gould@managed growth.com.au.

Gympie Times


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