2021 Business of the Year!

We were awarded Mount Alexander Shire Council Business of the Year 2021!

Harcourt Organic Farming Cooperative (HOFC) was awarded two awards at the annual Mount Alexander Shire Council Business Awards; The AgriBusiness Award and 2021 Business of the Year

HOFC were both incredibly proud and deeply moved by the two awards – and pretty bowled over to be honest!

Collecting the Agribusiness Award Gung Hoe Growers owner Melissa Willard thanked the community expressing gratitude for all our connections and customers who support our passion and visions. “It’s incredibly important for the shire to be acknowledging this model and different way of farming. We are seeking to be sustainable both for the earth and for ourselves in the way that we farm.  If you can look at your plate and know where your food came from – and even better who grew it or harvested it – that’s a great thing. Knowing where your food comes from changes your connection to food, to place and to each other”.

The Business of the Year Award speech was made by Merv Carr, 84, who managed the farm before it was taken over by his daughter Katie Finlay and her partner Hugh Finlay. Merv now runs Carr’s Organic Fruit Tree Nursery with his daughters Lizzie and Katie. Merv said that “the exciting innovation that’s happening on our small farm shows that not everything needs to get bigger and bigger to succeed.” 

HOFC were delighted to share awards alongside other outstanding local businesses and in particular other local food businesses including fellow Harcourt business Goodness Flour as well as Shedshaker Brewery and The Castlemaine Farmers Market. 


Many speeches returned to the ways in which the covid19 pandemic has highlighted the need for a resilient and localised food system. The awards last night reflected not only the importance of this but the many ways in which our local community is already building and strengthen a local food economy. HOFC are delighted to be part of this movement.

We are grateful to all of the local businesses to whom we sell produce, who we cross promote, that we set up alongside at the Castlemaine Farmers Markets and especially to all our customers and friends across the community.

We echo the sentiment that Jacqueline from Shedshaker Brewery expressed in one of her two award acceptance speeches – our local economy is an ecology and we are all stronger together.