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‘Small but mighty’ Mypolonga takes second crack at ag town crown
Locals have wowed the judges of South Australia’s 2022 agricultural town of the year award with a tour and a community lunch.
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Mypolonga has become a destination for young families in recent years, with a great school, a new cafe and a developing foodie culture.
But a successful agricultural industry is what underpins it all.
That’s what the judges of South Australia’s agricultural town of the year competition heard when they visited on Monday.
Orchardist Paul Prosser and buffalo farmer Corey Jones took them on a tour of the area, showing off local olive, honey, beef, goat and dairy producers, among others.
In the middle of it, they enjoyed a morning tea presented by the local history group at Woodlane Reserve.
About 70 people then came together for a locally sourced lunch at the Mypolonga Combined Sporting Club.
On display were items representing each of the agricultural industries active in the area over the past century: fruit from Mypo’s orchards, meat and wool from its livestock, grains from its broadacre farms, veggies from its gardens and milk from its dairies.
It was easy to put together a picnic feast using only items produced within a stone’s throw of the township.
Schoolchildren explained the workings of Mypolonga Primary School’s shop, which for each of the past 27 years has generated thousands of dollars in revenue for the school while teaching students about financial literacy and customer service.
Four locals – apricot grower Kathy Prosser, farmer Mark Pahl, greengrocer Carlo DeMichele and cafe and business owner Kelly Johnson – then offered their insights about the way the community was headed.
Gone were the Mypo Co-operative and some of the other big fruit-growing businesses of the past, thanks in large part to the drought of 2009-10, Mr DeMichele said.
Cropping up in their place were families living on small blocks, growing their own produce and sharing it with neighbours, visitors and local businesses.
“What we’re going to be seeing is more little niche businesses growing up, and being a real reason for people to come up from Murray Bridge,” Ms Johnson said.
Mypolonga was previously named a finalist for the ag town of the year award in 2021.
Locals wowed the judges with a pitch which focused more closely on innovation and lifestyle, but the town lost out to Kimba in the end.
Judge Simon Maddocks said choosing a winner had been difficult then, and surely would be again.
“It has been fantastic to see so many happy, healthy regional communities (this year),” he said.
“Irrespective of the outcome, you have an awful lot to be proud of.”