Busy year at Maleny’s Maple Street co-op

MAPLE Street Co-op had much to celebrate at its recent 42nd AGM with local producers in the spotlight. Each grower, farmer or maker presented a two-minute “lightening talk” and then caught up with members over drinks and local tasting platters.

The producer guest list included Hop Valley Brewing from Noosa, Tin Shed Farm eggs, Tribe of Quin’s microgreens, Medicine Room, Skye Chai, Robin Clayfield permaculture, both Jeremiah’s Sourdough and Crystal Waters Wood-fired Bakery, Hinterland Bees and Four Cow Farm. Also in the audience were some of the co-op’s local consignors who sell excess produce from their gardens.

Membership has grown to more than 1,100, with each person owning a share and having a say in how the shop is run. Since extending the co-op into the old ice-creamery building and almost doubling its floor space, sales have been at an all-time high, buoyed by increased community interest in local food, organics, sustainable homewares and organic body care.

The co-operative model means that all surplus is ploughed back into the shop. This has seen improvements to its bank of solar panels that provides 30-50% of its power, an EV (electric vehicle) charging station and more efficient equipment.

Business manager Peter Pamment said the co-op aimed to be a local leader in innovation.

“Maleny has always led the way and now is being recognised as an EV town,” Peter said.

“At the co-op we are strong on environmental innovation, social enterprise and focus on both certified organic products and regenerative farming practices.”

Next year the co-op plans to organise a coach tour of some of the local farms to allow members to see first-hand where their food is grown.

Main image: The Co-op team