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Farm thriving one year after 'reboot'

Posted: 5pm 27 Oct 2021

One year ago, Millen Farm was an ‘eyesore’ with shoulder-high weeds. It had been fallow (left unused) due to drought and the pandemic. But look at it now!

The urban farm, on Mt Samson Rd, Samford, is thriving with produce, community and business partnerships, volunteers and plans.

To mark the anniversary of the ‘reboot’, a morning tea was held last week for dignitaries and stakeholders to look back on 12 remarkable months …. and forward.

“What a year it has been!” Martine Nordh, Millen Farm Board Chair, said, “last year we had weeds up to our shoulders. What an eyesore.

Picture gallery - click through

Bumpy road

“We travelled a bumpy road. It was not best time to start in the heat of summer. But we had to power through and have had so much energy going into the land.”

Millen Farm is a community organisation aiming to set up a “financially and ecologically sustainable urban farming system” - and help others do the same.

On October 19, 2020, the Mini Farm Project took up that offer, renting Millen Farm land with a vision to give half its produce to charities and sell the rest to fund operating costs.

“We started working with Arran (Heideman) at Powerful Owl Permaculture and Liam (Dolan) was our first full-time person one year ago today,” Nick Steiner, founder and CEO of the Mini Farm Project, said.

Urban farms

“We partnered with Arran to synchronise production and sell under The Mini Farm Brand so we can attract larger customers, such as Food Connect.

“Our aim is to reduce food insecurity in Queensland by 80 per cent by introducing a series of urban farms all the way from the border to Cairns.”

The ‘farm’ also sells to Fresh Local Provisions, Pause Restaurant, Little Tree Bake House, Wine & Dine’m Catering, Caboolture Sports Club, Dalton Catering and Fresh Box.

Since the middle of December Meals on Wheels has also received a minimum of 50kg a week of free produce to help divert funds to other vital services.

Future plans

Millen Farm had 500 visitors on Samford Edible Garden Trail day in May and Cheryl McKenzie joined as education manager in July, with the first course next month on native beekeeping.

Marist 180, which helps create “positive change in individuals’ lives”, ran a building course at Millen Farm producing beds for the education garden.

In September Millen Farm reached agreement with Moreton Bay Regional Council to extend the lease and take over more land, which will have fruit trees and edible natives.

The next challenge, said Martine Nordh, was to build permanent toilets and dispense with the portable toilet.

Visit millenfarm.org for information and to volunteer at the Mini Farm Project visit mfp.org.au/volunteer/

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