Farming for a cause

Warragul based tomato producer Flavorite has been recognised for its charity efforts at the 2022 Hort Connections awards, held in Queensland earlier this month. The company won the E.E. Muir and Sons Community Stewardship Award in recognition of the $100,000 it raises each year for Maddie Riewoldt’s Vision, as SHELBY BROOKS reports.

For six years, Warragul’s Flavorite has been a strong supporter of Maddie Riewoldt’s Vision, donating $100,000 every year through sales of specially-marked packs of cherry tomatoes and capsicums that promote the foundation’s cause.

Maddie Riewoldt was just 26 years old when she passed away after a brave five-year battle with a Bone Marrow Failure Syndrome called Aplastic Anaemia. Before she died, Maddie made her wish clear: that no-one would go through what she had.

“The partnership between Flavorite, Maddie Reiwoldt’s Vision (MRV) and Coles was established by Flavorite in 2016 by Mark Millis, co-founder of Flavorite, who battled blood cancer and personally understood the urgent need for supporting medical research in this field,“ Flavorite marketing and communications manager Tom Millis said.

“The aim of the established partnership is to create a legacy from both the Millis and Riewoldt families to fund discovery work for bone marrow failure patients in Australia and around the world. Sadly, both Mark Millis and Maddie Riewoldt didn’t survive and this has motivated the families to come together to fight.“

To date, the vital funds raised during the “Maddies Month” campaign which runs during the month of November in Coles stores throughout Australia, have resulted in the establishment of a Fellowship at the Peter MacCallum Cancer Institute. This work has been scientifically published and has been significant in the advancement of Bone Marrow Transplants.

“Last year the money raised went towards funding the inaugural Fiona Riewoldt Nursing and Allied Health Fellowship,“ Tom said.

“Named in honour of Maddie’s mum Fiona, this research fellowship recognises the vital role nurses play in supporting and caring for patients during often prolonged hospital stays, including lonely periods in ICU and undergoing multiple treatments.

“We love seeing the impact our fundraising efforts can have in the community and those living with bone marrow failure syndromes. From our sustainable approach to farming, to feeding the population with healthy flavoursome fresh produce, we want to have a positive impact now and into the future and our partnership with MRV is a key part of that.“

The partnership between Flavorite, Coles and Maddie Riewoldt’s Vision, now in its seventh year, is set to raise a total of $700,000 to help fight bone marrow failure syndromes.

“We are already planning for our biggest and best “Maddies Month” campaign yet. So keep an eye out for the purple packs of Flavorite tomatoes and capsicums in Coles’ stores during the month of November as we work towards raising another $100,000,“ Tom said.

Flavorite chief marketing officer Sam Kisvarda was recognised for the efforts of the company by receiving the E.E. Muir and Sons Community Stewardship Award at Hort Connections 2022 in Brisbane on Wednesday 8 June.

The E.E. Muir and Sons Community Stewardship Award recognises an individual or business that is proactive in developing or implementing a system or program of safe storage and use of on-farm materials above and beyond industry standards, engages in local or national community events and initiatives to develop wider industry and demonstrates the responsible planning and management of resources, leading to beneficial environmental impacts.

“The Community Stewardship Award is an important category in the National Awards for Excellence, as it highlights those businesses that go above and beyond to make a positive contribution to the industry, community and the environment,” AUSVEG chief executive Michael Coote said.

“Through its ongoing support of the Maddie Riewoldt’s Vision, Sam Kisvarda and the Flavorite team are using its business and the extensive reach of its produce to support the organisation, which funds medical research that will lead to new treatments and cures for bone marrow failure syndromes.

“The partnership between Flavorite and Maddie Riewoldt’s Vision is a shining example of how the fruit and vegetable industry can work together to make a significant contribution to such an important cause. In a year where there were many high calibre nominees for this category, Flavorite has proven itself a worthy winner for this prestigious award. I congratulate Sam and the Flavorite team for the work they have done to rise funds and promote such an important cause.”