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Victoria government launches e-commerce platform

The Victorian Government is supporting its regional producers, makers and entertainers with the launch of the Victorian Country Market – bringing an online market direct to homes across the state.

The Minister for Regional Development recently announced the new e-commerce platform will launch at the Recharge 2020 Festival, hosting a range of small businesses and producers through virtual stalls.

The Recharge 2020 Festival is a one-day live streaming event hosted by Myf Warhurst and Henry Wagons that will recreate the energy of a regional music festival and farmers market while many are unable to operate due to coronavirus restrictions.

The site aims to complement the many food networks and farmers markets already operating in Victoria.

More than 150 regional businesses and producers from across Victoria are on board, with the market to continue its online presence beyond the festival.

The festival itself will include prominent music acts such as Tones & I, Missy Higgins, Archie Roach and The Black Sorrows, along with regional talents like Ainslie Wills and Dallas Frasca. A second stage will also run live from the Theatre Royal in Castlemaine featuring regional artists.

The festival will also feature art and cultural showcase, cooking demonstrations, and a ‘meet the makers’ segment.

The concept has been designed to support those regional communities doing it tough, those impacted by bushfires and people facing the challenges of coronavirus.

The Recharge 2020 Festival follows the success of the Delivered Live online music festival, launched in April for 13 weekly shows. Both festivals have been developed by HandShake Live Entertainment in partnership with the Victorian Government and with support from the Royal Agricultural Society of Victoria.

The event is free but viewers are encouraged to buy a ticket, with funds raised to go towards the performing artists and crew supporting the event.

The festival and farmers market will go live at 12 pm on Sunday, 17 May 2020, on the website and on Victoria Together – the Victorian Government’s online hub supporting people to stay connected through the coronavirus pandemic.

The Minister for Regional Development stated that the Recharge Festival and Victorian Country Market is a true celebration of Victoria’s regions and showcases the best of what they have to offer whilst supporting many communities doing it tough from the impacts of coronavirus and bushfires.

She also noted that many are missing their local markets and the interaction with farmers and the community – this online event will hopefully go some way to bring back that feeling of connection whilst supporting the region’s world-class producers and makers.

Recently OpenGov Asia reported that the Victorian government launched an online support network is encouraging rural women to put the kettle on or have a splash of wine whilst having a virtual chat to share ideas and experiences in staying connected during the coronavirus pandemic.

The Virtual Country Cuppas aims to support rural women in combatting feelings of isolation and stress whilst physical distancing.

Coordinated by the Victorian Rural Women’s Network (VRWN), the event is based on the VRWN’s successful face-to-face Country Cuppas that attracted 600 rural women to 32 events across Victoria in October.

This year participants are invited to host a virtual morning or afternoon tea, after-work drinks, or another form of an online catch-up with their favourite community members or group.

While staying at home and limiting physical interaction has been vital to slowing the spread of the virus, it can be difficult for people’s mental health and wellbeing – particularly for those already experiencing mental health conditions or who live in isolated areas.

The Country Cuppas is a relaxed and comforting environment for participants to reconnect and share their experiences whilst meeting other rural women.

Anyone wanting to host a Virtual Country Cuppa will receive a hosting pack from the VRWN, which includes a free Zoom training webinar and personal development resources.

Virtual Country Cuppas will be held from 23 May to 31 May and is just one of several virtual initiatives that are being developed by the VRWN to upskill and support rural women.

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