Local OJ supports community development
Formed in 2003 by 16 volunteer members, the Girgarre Development Group came together to represent Girgarre and the surrounding farming areas and to help the community achieve a vibrant future.
Girgarre is 190 km from Melbourne and has a population of 191. With the community reeling from the impacts of a long drought, restructuring in the dairy industry, young families moving away to look for work and a marked rise in community members suffering from depression – local leaders knew something had to be done and the Girgarre Development Group was born.
Key activities for the group include a monthly Farmers' Produce Market, an annual music festival called The Moosic Muster, and a monthly jam session (Jigarre Jammin'), in the hall. But the group’s main money spinner is their very own fresh orange juice stall at the farmers' market.
Boosting juicing capacity
With a Small Grants for Rural Communities program grant of $1,600, specifically funded by The Estate of the Late Edward Wilson, the Girgarre Development Group purchased a new juicer just in time for the 2014 Moosic Muster. The fresher, faster OJ has been a great success:
- Juice sales were up by 80% at the Moosic Muster;
- Juice sales increased by 50% at the monthly farmers' market;
- 50% fewer volunteers are needed to produce the juice; and
- There is less cleaning required and other community groups can hire the juicer.
Juicing up the community
More juice = more profit. It’s WIN WIN for the Girgarre community! The proceeds have assisted other community groups to upgrade the netball court, complete a restoration of the railway siding and do tree planting.
After some investigation, the group purchased a relatively inexpensive machine with similar capacity to the more expensive brands. The Girgarre Development Group recommends that all community groups do their research - “We learnt that the most expensive is not always the best.”