Out of adversity come opportunities

Out of adversity come opportunities

Hi there, we are Steve Ronalds and Sallie Jones (not married, just friends in case you were wondering), and we are the co-founders of Gippsland Jersey … a small milk brand that was formed out of personal adversity and the milk crisis in 2016. We are so proud of what we have been able to achieve in such a short time – producing milk you love while giving back to the community and shining a light on the mental health of farmers. Thanks to all of you who have supported us along the way and bought our milk.

We got a phone call from our milk processor telling us that we had four weeks until they would stop processing our milk. We’ve had to solve this problem really fast, as that decision could close our business.

Since that conversation we have made hundreds of phone calls to try and find an answer. We’ve found a temporary solution to keep our milk on the shelf … but we’re still left with a serious problem.

Having our own processing facility has always been part of the ‘Gippsland Jersey’ dream, as with our own facility we could control the whole process from the milking shed to the store shelf. If we can do this, we can ensure that our farmers are getting a fair price for their milk.

Sal's dad built a  factory in the 1980’s and was the first person in Australia to build a milk factory next to his dairy and to process milk and make ice cream on his own farm. Tragically Mike (Sallie's Dad) took his own life two years ago and left behind an incredible gift. Sometimes answers to life's problems are right under our noses  ... a factory, located on the organic dairy farm, with a rich history of home grown manufacturing and only five minutes from the township of Lakes Entrance is right the key to solving our processing crisis.

What We Need & What You Get

What we’re going to do is setup our very own milk processing plant, right here in the factory at Lakes Entrance. We’re going to transport Steve's beautiful Jersey milk from Jindivick and process  in Lakes Entrance. This is the perfect solution for us right now, as it means that we can be operational in three months time and our temporary solution will hold us over until then. With this plan we have one big problem though… we need to pay for it. To make this happen we need to buy and install a processing plant into this factory. We estimate that this is going to cost about $250,000 … and that’s where we need you. 

We’re launching a ‘Crowd Fund’ campaign to raise $100,000 towards getting this factory operational. Achieving this will help Gippsland Jersey in its dream to grow by bringing more farmers into our brand … and most importantly to pay them a fair price for their milk. 

We know that this brand is people powered thanks to people like you … who choose to buy Gippsland Jersey milk and believe in us.

Copy and paste the link below into your browser or access crowd fund off our main web page

https://igg.me/at/gippslandjerseyfactory/x/19089155

 

Gippsland Jersey Calendar Launch

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Gippsland Jersey Calendar Launch

https://www.weeklytimesnow.com.au/news/bid-to-save-farmers-from-depression-and-suicide/news-story/9ba8808dc5a911e65bb26635df542e03

12 very brave Gippsland dairy farmers have stepped outside their comfort zones and have allowed us to share their personal mental health story. 

This calendar 📆 will serve as a starting point towards breaking down the stigma attached to mental health in our rural communities.

 

Our wish is that this calendar prompts honest and real conversations about a health issue that often we feel ashamed or embarrassed about.

 

Calendars will be distributed to 1400 dairy farms in Gippsland where it is hoped that this calendar will serve as a resource for any farmer suffering mental health struggles. The calendar will include help numbers to health services available. Through speaking to many Gippsland farmers over the past few months, we have found that most dairy farmers don’t know where to get help.

 

Motivation behind the calendar:

 

This calendar has been made in memory of my Dad, Michael Bowen (ice cream king of Gippsland) whose life was tragically taken by suicide on 22nd March, 2016.

 

That day was a life defining moment for me.

 

I absolutely loved my Dad. He was kind, compassionate and bold, a man who could make anything happen. His capacity for life equalled 3 men. He worked hard, 18 hours most days, so that he could give our family every opportunity possible. He was as strong as an ox, physically and mentally. Nothing could break him…or so we thought.

 

I’ll never forget the Sunday afternoon when he walked into my kitchen and started crying. It was the first time I’d seen my Dad cry. He’d lost a lot of weight, which I believed was due to cutting out bread from his diet. He’d also lost his enthusiasm for life, lost that fire in his belly. He no longer wanted his hair to be cut and was happy to sit on the couch all day.

 

It turns out these were the red flags of poor mental health.

 

Being the eldest daughter, I thought we could fix the matter as a family and get back to some normality in no time, but this was only the beginning of Dad’s mental health journey. For three years we were in ‘Struggle Town’ and eventually Dad entered a period of psychosis. He believed that the house was bugged and that people were watching him. We were almost convinced ourselves.

 

During this time, our family rallied around him. Everyone was so kind and patient. We tried our absolute best to do everything we could to relieve his mental health, and it was hard work!

 

Just when we thought we’d come through the worst of it, Dad took his own life. He would never, ever have chosen to do this if he wasn’t completely broken and was suffering more hurt than we would ever know. We are left with no answers, just a ripple of sadness and heartbreak.

 

Mental health is a serious illness that requires care, help and support. It cannot be left to fix itself - you must reach out and seek help.

 

We’ll be distributing 1400 calendars via tanker drop to every dairy farmer in Gippsland. The calendar will include the help numbers of health service providers and the stories of our amazing farmers who have very bravely stepped up and described their own mental health journeys and struggles. Our aim is to end the stigma and help save someone’s life.

 

Two years ago I’d never have dreamed I’d be involved in starting a milk company that advocates for mental health. Through Gippsland Jersey we’re working to destigmatise mental health and give back to farmers who need assistance. It’s been a privilege to speak to the farmers featured in this calendar; we hope that their stories might impact another farmer out there somewhere who might need a helping hand.

 

Sallie, Gippsland Jersey

 

 

 

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Thank you, thank you, thank you!

Thanks to everyone who so generously donated to fund our milkshake truck! Your investment and belief in what we are trying to achieve means everything to us!