The Mantle Brings Farmers, Fresh Produce And Foodies To The Table

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Food grown by local farmers, brought straight from the ground and delivered to your table. Sounds pretty good, right? Well, that’s exactly what’s possible at The Mantle.

Dubbed a ‘Farm-to-Table’ incubator, The Mantle’s pioneering co-creators and directors Anatoly Mezhov and Irene Polo designed it to connect farmers and promote the importance of healthy eating. Originally located in Fremantle, The Mantle is now also situated in the picturesque farmland in Toolern Vale, where it operates as a community hub for farmers, producers and foodies alike.

We recently caught up with Anatoly to find out the reasons behind The Mantle’s growing success and popularity.

A Platform That Puts Food First

There’s a lot of different opportunities ready to be tapped into. There’s ‘Lease-A-Paddock’ to use as agricultural farmland; either for crops or livestock. With this option, an experienced agriculturalist can extend their harvest or a green-thumbed entrepreneur can trial their idea at cultivating organic fresh produce a lower startup cost, with the added benefit of a supportive community.

Then there’s the ‘Incubation Kitchen’; a fully-equipped commercial cooking facility that’s able to be used as a space for experimentation, education and catering. If you are a baker looking for inspiration to craft new pastries, if you own a food truck that needs a larger kitchen to prepare more dishes, or if you are a chef looking for an amazing venue to conduct a culinary workshop, look no further than The Mantle. “This is where The Mantle becomes more than just a farming space. It’s here that food entrepreneurs put their heart on the plate”, says Anatoly.

A Space For All Occasions

The Mantle is more than just a place to enjoy great food; it’s a rural oasis in close proximity to an urban environment. In other words, it is a haven that city-dwellers can flock to when the daily rigours of working life become too much.

The Mantle offers access to a huge open space and provides a great opportunity for people to bond over food – knowing exactly where their food comes from, and the opportunity to be more involved in the process.

It’s a very welcoming environment, with bespoke furnishings and a rustic aesthetic, “I’m a big believer in people’s health and wellbeing”, Anatoly explains, “People come down here to get away from it all. We’re only 45 minutes away from the CBD, but it feels like an escape from the concrete jungle”. In fact, studies show that being in nature is enough to relieve stress and improve one’s mental health

Part of enriching this community space lies in The Mantle’s potential as a location for events. Anything from business meetings, to pop-up restaurants, to educational workshops, even destination weddings. It is visually stunning and practically equipped for events and special occasions. The possibilities are endless!

Harvesting Connections In Agriculture

Beyond its key function as a platform for foodies, The Mantle is also designed to be a community hub for a range of farmers and food producers from far and wide. After all, the region is a rich area for produce, and there couldn’t be a better place for them to bring their produce to.

“We wanted to put a face to the farmer”, says Anatoly. “Many farmers traditionally live in rural communities and may experience social isolation. The Mantle acts as a ‘farm gate’ drawing many farmers out of the woodwork and into the spotlight. This provides them an opportunity to expand their business, market their products and connect with local entrepreneurs and potential customers to increase distribution and sales”, he further explains.

After all, how often can you say you’ve met the person who cultivated your lunch? The Mantle seeks to reconnect people with what’s on their plate.

What’s Next for The Mantle?

The Mantle was originally created to in order to offer gourmet food options to consumers in an accessible way. But it has now expanded to be a community hub, as well as the starting point for fresh faces to the agricultural industry.

“Numerous people have now commenced their own business after starting off at The Mantle”, says Anatoly, “there are so many success stories now.” He tells of one aspiring florist, whose backyard flower farm was given a boost with help from The Mantle, and has now expanded into a successful flower and decoration business. The Mantle is more than just a modern farm-gate – it’s a gateway to Melbourne’s West and the Macedon – Daylesford Region for local food producers and entrepreneurs.

The Mantle is constantly evolving, slowly but surely becoming the central hub for farmers around the region and an escape to nature that is very attractive to urban dwellers in particular. It’s a business that is designed to help the community of Melbourne’s West flourish, and we can’t wait to see what else The Mantle of Toolern Vale will offer on the horizon.

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BOB | Melbourne’s West | More Than Just Business

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