Although this may not be or biggest industry or income directly within the shire it remains extremely important.
With the seasons getting dryer and hotter throughout Australia the Macedon Ranges remains in a relatively protected micro-climate that still experiences good rainfall and reasonably good growing seasons.
Macedon Ranges is well known for it’s local produce; wine, food, fiber, flowers, beer, cider and gin. These productions support our local restaurants, and transport their produce short distances to Melbourne diners, and also export to overseas markets.
We have fresh produce markets in nearly all our villages now and many producers work with others to create combinations that you can not achieve elsewhere.
Our agricultural landscapes are also an important part of tourism.
Watching 4corners on the ABC tonight, on Charles Massey, reminded me of how many of our farmers are embracing regenerative agriculture: restoring the land to make it more productive and better for biodiversity and the planet.
Macedon Ranges Shire Council was successful in obtain a grant to employ a staff member for 2 years to assist farmers to know more about the natural environment around them and how they can modify their practices to reduce costs and improve soil quality. They also often learn about traditional owner practices at the same time.
It has been shown that this form of farming creates better mental health for farmers, and makes them more resilient in times of stress.
I have supported the biodiversity strategy of Council, that required significant budget input. It is now helping us to create better environmental outcomes for all: our farmers, visitors, local residents, local businesses and most of all our rare and special native species.