'Bellofoodbox' a winner for Bellingen

A project that aims to provide fresh, local produce to nearby communities and to foster sustainable agricultural practices has received a financial boost from Bellingen Shire Council.The Bellofoodbox project came a step closer to realising its goals when it recently purchased a mobile coolroom.

With a population of over 13,000, Bellingen is located on the North Coast of NSW, halfway between Sydney and Brisbane and just near Coffs Harbour.

Mayor Mark Troy said the partnership between Council and inspired and dedicated community groups such as Bellofoodbox was wonderful.

"Bellofoodbox will change the way we look at where our food is grown and how far it is transported," he said. "You cannot beat food that has been freshly harvested and delivered in just days."

Bellofoodbox is signing up new members who wish to purchase a $30 or $50 box, packed with fresh produce for weekly collection. The organisers also encourage local suppliers to become a part of the Bellofoodbox family.

Project coordinator Alison Heeley said Bellingen Shire Council has helped the group buy a mobile cool room with a $5,000 dollar grant.

"We've now got a website and a Facebook page, that's regularly updated with what goes in the boxes, pictures and information about the farmers," she said. "The project is becoming increasingly popular."

She is encouraging residents to try out one of the boxes, filled with fresh produce.

"What we're doing is encouraging and supporting local farmers to have another avenue to sell and also reducing food miles," she said.

"So, the produce doesn't have to be trucked down to Sydney or up to Brisbane. Often the produce has been picked that day or the day before, and it's really good value for money as well, because we're buying in bulk."

For further detail contact Bellingen's Manager Sustainability and Natural Resources Ian Turnbull on (02) 66557338.