Community & Business

27 May, 2022

Grant boosts operations at Farmers Co-op

A MUCH-needed forklift and a secure parking facility for the Tablelands Biodynamic & Organic Farmers Co-op Ltd has been funded by a $20,345 grant from the Queensland Department of Justice, Gambling Community Benefit Fund.

The crew at the Farmers Co-op are thrilled to get new equipment at their shop.
The crew at the Farmers Co-op are thrilled to get new equipment at their shop.

The round 112 funding was supported by local MP Shane Knuth and TRC Mayor Rod Marti and will give the farmers co-op the equipment it needs to prosper at its location on Herberton Road, Atherton. 

NQ Forklifts in Cairns supplied the 1.5 tonne forklift and Wilkinsons Blacksmiths & Engineering, in Atherton designed and built the parking facility and generously donated labour as well as some materials. Nuleaf in Cairns supplied the shade cloth to keep out the harsh western summer sun. 

The recent pandemic saw the cooperative increase its customer base as well as membership. With the increasing demand for high quality, fresh organic and biodynamic, local and Australian food the forklift was needed to manoeuvre bulky and heavy pallets of supplies effectively and efficiently, when they are delivered onto the facility’s loading dock and was required for WPH&S compliance for the safety of its volunteers. 

The addition of the forklift has also increased local suppliers utilising the facilities, thus increasing the opportunity to generate income for the cooperative and in turn, the local community. The Tablelands Biodynamic & Organic Farmers Co-op Ltd, is a community driven not-forprofit co-operative that is supported by a team of dedicated volunteers, a shop manager, over 250 members and governed by the Co-operative Directors. 

Profits earned go back into the shop to improve its facilities to support the local community and are also shared with individuals in need and other community groups. The cooperative also offers to small-scale local organic and biodynamic producers an affordable “Approved Suppliers Program” allowing ‘Co-op Approved’ in-store recognition. Regenerative agriculture principles are also shared within the community. 

First registered in 2010, the co-operative was formed from the need of local organic and biodynamic producers for a central place to showcase and sell their nutrient-dense, locally produced, fresh food. The co-operative services an area of around 47,452 sq. kms with customers and producers from the Atherton Tablelands, Cape York Peninsula, the Cairns Region, south to Townsville and rural and remote areas as far west as Mount Surprise. 

Since 2017 and becoming a not-for-profit organisation, it has grown to be a thriving retail shop for consumers as well as a hub for local farmers, producers and small businesses to showcase and sell their products. Consumers are now also able to gain membership to receive a 10 per cent discount on their purchases. The co-op, provides certified organic and biodynamic local and interstate produce and groceries with some overseas accredited grocery items. As well as fresh fruit and vegetables the co-op also stocks frozen meats, fish, berries and vegetables, breads, dairy products, locally made fresh sourdough and gluten free bread, locally made slices and snacks, seeds, seedlings and seaweed products, cleaning and personal hygiene products; micro-greens, herbs and spices; bulk oil; local honey and much more. 

If you are a local small scale farmer wishing to find an outlet for your fresh produce and are following organic or bio-dynamic practices, you can contact the co-op by emailing to


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