Rural mental health has become a major talking point in Australia, highlighted by an increase in rates of suicide among male farmers in recent times.
One company seeking to ‘make a difference’ in supporting rural communities is Tenfarms, a new produce wholesaler-exporter based in Melbourne. The company has teamed up with mango grower Brazzale Mango Mareeba on a new charity initiative with Beyond Blue, the national not-for-profit organisation to raise awareness of anxiety and depression.
Brazzale Mango Mareeba, run by Alvise and Noalene Brazzale, is supplying Tenfarms exclusively with mangoes for the 2014/15 season, and the two companies are donating a percentage of the sale of every tray produced to Beyond Blue.
“Acknowledging the personal difficulties faced by many primary producers in running a business dependent on seasonal changes beyond anybody’s control, we have decided to try and make a difference,” the companies said in a joint statement. “Together, we wish to raise awareness and generate some activity in growing regions to show farmers they are not alone.”
Anthony Holman, who, along with Michael DeAgostiono, is the driving force behind Tenfarms, told Produce Plus the two companies have targeted a minimum A$20,000 donation this year. “This will be a joint effort accrued from sales of the product over three months from December through February,” he said.
Brazzale mangoes will be labelled Beyond Blue, while staff in Mareeba and Melbourne will wear shirts with logos for Beyond Blue as well as wristbands, he added.
Retailers have indicated a strong level of support for the programme, according to Holman, who said Tenfarms plans to roll out the initiative to its other sourcing programmes throughout the year.
“We plan to continue working with Beyond Blue via a range of products with our farming partners all-year round,” said Holman. “The important thing is to host events in the regional areas engaging our farming partners as ambassadors to support those members of the community that are struggling with the challenges of horticulture.”