Organic farm plans ripe for the picking

Organic farm plans ripe for the picking

Agriculture and social enterprise heavyweights are set to gather in Hervey Bay today to discuss plans for Australia‘s first community-based organic farm.

Neighbourhood Park Estate developer Russell Geldard will be joined by founder of Organic Farm Share Alf Orpen and world renowned permaculture, teacher, designer and consultant Geoff Lawton in a bid to share his vision to start a shared organic farm which will have the potential to provide Hervey Bay residents with locally grown, affordable, fresh produce.

Mr Geldard said he had been considering the farming project for a number of years.

Yet, it wasn’t until he made contact with Mr Orpen and Mr Lawton this year that he was able to fully comprehend the feasibility and potential the project would have for an area like Hervey Bay.

Having earmarked an initial allotment for the farm within Neighbourhood Park Estate, Mr Geldard said the not-for-profit initiative could have the potential to feed up to 40 families – though in the long-term, the scope of the farm would only be limited by “how far we can dream”.

As well as improving the land and soil quality of the area being farmed, Mr Geldard said the program’s “self-generation” model would see all funds directed back into the farm to help it grow and expand.

Reflecting on Hervey Bay’s population and the easy routes for people to transport produce around town, Organic Farm Share founder Alf Orpen said the area was an ideal location for community farming.

With world population statistics indicating a need to double food production over the next 30 years, Mr Orpen believes addressing how we meet that requirement is crucial.

If the model for the first organic farm in Hervey Bay is successful, he is confident its blueprint could be used by communities across the globe.

Mr Orpen and Mr Geldard are inviting anyone who may have an interest in organic farm share to head along to a public discussion which will be held at the Hervey Bay Community Centre today, Thursday, September 18 from 4pm until 5.30pm.