It’s exciting times ahead as we finalise the successful wine grape growers across the state selected to be the inaugural EcoGrowers as part of our 2-year EcoVineyard project.
The response from growers to this project has been overwhelmingly positive. It’s evident there is significant interest from SA wine grape growers to investigate ways to create better biodiverse ecosystems in and around their vineyards. Although limited by the number of grower’s sites for this project we can see there is genuine widespread enthusiasm and we’re really looking forward to sharing information and knowledge more broadly through workshops in our regions. We’re confident these events will bring tangible benefit to those keen to have a go at growing resilience naturally on their own vineyard properties.
Over the coming months we’ll be introducing you to our EcoGrowers and keeping you up to date with information via the dedicated page on our website along with our social media outlets. Workshop dates and locations will be widely circulated and we hope to see you at one of these.
At this stage, we have EcoGrowers from each of the 8 major wine grape growing regions in South Australia. We have a couple of opportunities left for growers in the Riverland and Limestone Coast who would like to be a part of the EcoVineyards project. If you’re interested in being involved, send me an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
There is an application process to secure a position in the EcoVineyards program. To receive funding from the program, growers must develop a Biodiversity Action Plan, contribute a cash component, and agree to an in-kind commitment of 20 hours over the life of the project to assist with the management of plantings and contributions to workshops.
In return, our EcoGrowers will receive capped funding to assist with expenses in achieving their goals along with a micro-bat box, raptor perch, photo-point, signage, monitoring and promotional activities. EcoGrowers are expected to share their experiences and knowledge with colleagues through workshops, interviews and educational materials.
As we head into spring it’s the perfect time to plant native plant tube stock and we're encouraging all grape growers and their communities to join in the EcoVineyards movement. As a way to get involved, we're asking growers, families, friends, schools and communities to consider planting some native trees, shrubs or grasses and pledge their plants to our target of 20,000 native plants by 2020. Just let us know how many plants you put in the ground and where and we’ll update our map with your pledge! (Visit our website to see the plants pledged so far and pledge your own!)
A great tip from Viticulturist Mary Retallack is to plant a native species alongside your strainer posts. As Mary says, 'Instead of trying to emulate Europe with rose bushes at the end of our rows, why don't we celebrate our native plants and gain functional biodiversity at the same time! Christmas Bush and Prickly Tea Tree are two great examples to try.'
Let's celebrate our world-class grapes by surrounding them with attractive (and practical!) native plants in our beautiful South Australian landscape.