MORE central Victorian farmers are cutting out commercial middlemen to share both their produce and the risks of farming direct with the consumers through community supported agriculture schemes.
These projects allow consumers to buy a share in a farms' produce for a season, reaping both rewards and losses.
It means farms and consumers share the risks that come with food production, such as dry seasons.
A Harcourt community supported agriculture project hopes to expand in the coming years to offer a greater range of produce, while a new Kyneton project allows egg lovers to buy direct via farm boxes.
The Good Life Farm Co. opened its community supported agriculture project last week.
Owner Claire Moore said people's desire to be more connected to their food was contributing to the rise in support for such agriculture projects.
The farm is using a box scheme, with collection hubs along the Calder Freeway between Bendigo and Melbourne's northern suburbs.
Users can choose what goes into their box from a range of products, subscribing for a three month period.
The system gives the business an idea of its prospective profits, allowing it to plan for growth.
"By doing that the sales are direct to us, so we get a fair price for our product, we don't get a margin taken," Ms Moore said.
"By supporting us, and buying the love your farmer farm box. By loving us we obviously return that to them as well by giving us access to the farm."
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Harcourt Organic Farming Cooperative member Ant Wilson is part of a community supported agriculture project that is looking to expand.
Mr Wilson grows fruit at Harcourt's Tellurian Fruit Gardens.
Community supported agriculture projects had become popular in Australia over the past three to five years, he said.
It's Mr Wilson's second year selling fruit through a community supported agriculture project. Last year he had about 95 households involved. He's begun to sell shares for the coming season's harvest.
Many farms in the Harcourt cooperative are running separate community supported agriculture projects. But in the future they hope to run a collective project, with dairy, fruit and vegetables all bought with the same share.
Mr Wilson said he was hopeful the group would have a full collective box, with all types of produce, by next year.
Getting the collective running was a matter of working out the details - with different farmers producing different amounts, in different seasons and for different lengths of time, Mr Wilson said.
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