The regeneration of Australia’s food and farming systems
A farming family of 5, 2 adults and 3 children. They are standing in front of a paddock of wheat.
The sun is setting over a field.
A farming family of 5, 2 adults and 3 children. They are standing in front of a paddock of wheat.
The sun is setting over a field.
19 March 2023
19 March 2023

ORCA Grains Project

Grant Amount: $70,000

Region: Victoria

Delivered by: ORICoop

Year funded: 2022

Project status: Complete

The Challenge

In Australia, farmers face many barriers to growing organic, regenerative and different varieties of grains. This includes:

  • Insufficient infrastructure so organic grains are mixed with conventionally grown grain during processing instead of being kept separate.
  • Processing facilities won’t take small quantities of grain.
  • There are not clear paths to market for many different types of grain.

These challenges make it difficult for farmers to sell their organic and regenerative grain at a premium price, resulting in fewer incentives for them to adopt organic and regenerative practices in their farming.

The Innovation

ORICoop has producer members affected by the lack of appropriate grain processing, supply chain and market opportunities for organic and regenerative grain. Sustainable Table supported ORICoop to trial a pilot in the Riverina area to assess existing grain processing capabilities, build collaborative relationships, scope out on farm processing infrastructure, trial different grain varieties and develop small-scale paths to market and demonstrate financial viability for these grain crops. This is the first phase towards creating ORCA Grains, a farmer-owned brand that empowers producers to share in the benefits of controlling their own supply chains for a diversified grain market.

The project’s stage one key objectives were:

  • Determine existing grain and processing facilities for the Riverina region
  • Assess the rigour of the existing feasibility study for the Riverina region
  • Determine the strategic demand for organic grain production
  • Complete the business plan for the Riverina region
  • Determine robust financials to formulate the story for investors to participate
  • Create a template using the Riverina project and incorporate the Western Australian organic grain project, adapting it to their requirements
  • Follow up industry engagement for Riverina and further engagement for Western Australia

Why did Sustainable Table fund this project?

ORICoop has strong relationships with producers and is addressing legitimate barriers to more farmers adopting regenerative and organic practices. The potential impact of improved infrastructure and the ability to replicate this in other regions would be a game changer for grain growers looking to farm in ways that centre the environment and their communities. It also rewrites the pricing model and puts farmers in the ‘price-maker’ seat.

What were the outcomes of this project?

This project has been completed and we will share the outcomes soon.

To help us support more projects like this and regenerate Australian food and farming, please consider donating today.