Local Farmer Fighting War on Waste
A decision borne of desperation and survival has not only improved the viability of Wamuran strawberry farm, LuvaBerry, it has spearheaded a ‘War on Waste’ movement that is helping other local farmers.
Faced with another rain damaged crop, LuvaBerry Operators, Amanda and Adrian Schultz, knew that their still good quality strawberries would not meet the strict cosmetic standards demanded by Australia’s supermarket giants. Determined to salvage their edible fruit, Amanda froze the strawberries in 1.5kg lots, and set about finding a solution.
“Where we used to have a seconds market and be able to offload stock to jam berries, there’s now very little of that,” explained Amanda. “On top of that, you’ve got foreign imports, so there’s too many first grade strawberries on the market. What do you do with all of it?”
The answer came at a Regional Development Australia (RDA) Moreton Bay Region StartUp workshop delivered by Edgeware Creative Entrepreneurship, where Amanda met Director of Samford Commons, Ellena Stone. Advocates of sustainable living, Samford Commons became the first distribution point for LuvaBerry’s frozen strawberries.
“I have Ellena to thank for a large part of our success, because it was her idea to start the LuvaBerry ‘Our War on Waste’ Facebook group,” said Amanda. “We posted on the Samford Valley Community Noticeboard Facebook page inviting people to join the group, and we had 100 members very quickly.”
Emboldened by her success, Amanda posted on the Grow, Make and Bake Community Swap North Brisbane Facebook page, and the rest as they say as history. With now over 2,600 members, including the small army of LuvaBerry war on waste ‘ambassadors’ who have offered to be distribution points, Amanda travels all over Brisbane selling produce that would otherwise become landfill.
“I didn’t know until this journey began that there were so many people that one, cared about farmers; two, really care about knowing where there food comes from; three, like to eat as many berries as they do; but most importantly, they’re really peeved off with how the food chain works,” said Amanda. “Sometimes I think they buy our fruit in anarchy to the big supermarkets, and then there’s the people who just can’t stand the waste.”
For Amanda and Adrian, what began as an initiative to save their own livelihood has turned into a crusade to help fellow farmers. ‘Mango Madness’, ‘Luvin’ Limes’ and ‘Raspberry Frenzy’ events have been added to the LuvaBerry events calendar, with 480kg of raspberries once sold in one weekend.
Natalie King, Owner of LimeRidge Grove located just outside of Gympie, is the farmer who benefitted from the ‘Luvin’ Limes’ event. Thanks to LuvaBerry’s supporters, on one day across five locations, 175kg of limes were sold, with many happy recipients taking to Facebook afterwards to share their disbelief that the limes had been deemed unacceptable by a supermarket giant.
“The biggest thing for us in getting involved in LuvaBerry’s war on waste was that it gave us our faith back that our fruit is worthy and what we do is worthy,” said Natalie. “You put so much time and effort into your fruit … so to find this avenue to get our fruit out to people has been absolutely amazing for us.”
“If I could do permanent war on waste carpark parties every weekend I would,” said Amanda. “The difference that it’s making to the farms themselves is just huge, and seeing so many caring and concerned people who are willing to get involved is really touching.”
For more information, visit www.facebook.com/groups/luvaberryourwaronwaste/