Blueberry awareness meeting

Blueberry awareness meeting will be held on Thursday October 5.
Blueberry awareness meeting will be held on Thursday October 5. Keagan Elder

DO you have concerns over the rapidly growing blueberry industry along the coast?

A blueberry awareness meeting will be held in Coffs Harbour where concerns about the growth of the blueberry industry across the district will be discussed.

The aim of the meeting is to create a regional action plan for change in the industry.

"Issues to be discussed include the lack of regulations, scrutiny and control of an industry which could be considered as intensive agriculture," spokesperson for the event Angela Phillips-Gow said.

"The group Citizens Unite is alarmed about the impact the mass blueberry plantings are already having on neighbours, waterways and the environment in general.

"The concerns about these plantings include the extensive and regular use of fungicides, herbicides, pesticides. The close proximity of these plantings alongside homes include erosion risk caused by plantings on downhill slopes, fertilizer run-off, the use of bird scare guns and the high water use requirements of blueberry plants.

"There needs to be regulations and adequate buffer zones to protect our families.

A Facebook event has been created stating residents will tell their stories about the blueberry intensive horticulture and their concerns for personal and environmental health damage.

The event also said Dr Sally Townley from Berry Watch aims to build a community network to investigate and document breaches of law and assist people to understand regulations around blueberry farming.

Convener of the Australian Institute of Horticulture for the Mid-North Coast Marc Percival will explain farming methods that can change and the benefits of doing so.

Ashley Love will explain the Bellingen Environment Centre and The Mid North Coast Environment Conservation funding contributions to create a conclusive report into the blueberry industry and how to fundraise more.

The public meeting will take place on Thursday, October 5 at the Cavanbah Centre at 6.30pm.

Topics:  blueberry coffs coast concerns industry netting public meeting

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