Newton Orchards Harvey Giblett with grandchildren Sacha and Riley (1)

Newton Orchards is one of the recipients of the latest round of Coles Nurture Fund grants

Coles has committed A$3.7m to help 14 producers from around Australia become more sustainable in the latest round of its Coles Nurture Fund.

Fresh produce is well represented among the small- and medium-sized businesses which are implementing plans to improve sustainability.

Raffa Fields at Tooradin in Victoria plans to install climate-controlled polytunnel growing structures to extend the growing season for asparagus and replace imports at a time when locally-grown asparagus is not available.

Ky D-Pak at Kyabram in Victoria will use its grant apply Voen all-weather covers to cherries to protect crops, provide greater surety of supply in the face of adverse weather, reduce water usage and improve fruit quality.

Meanwhile, Newton Orchards at Manjimup in Western Australia, plans to install large-scale netting over its apple trees to reduce waste, improve fruit quality, water use efficiency and sustainably manage endangered bird species damage.

Steven Cain, chief executive of Coles Group, said the Coles Nurture Fund had now provided more than A$28m tomore than 80producers since 2015.

“The Coles Nurture Fund was set up to help producers to bring innovative and sustainable ideas to life on their farms and in their factories,” said Cain.

“By helping to fund initiatives which increase recycling, reduce water use, increase renewable energy and support local production, we aim to drive generational sustainability in Australia.”