The Farm Next Door, Lachie and Joel.

“The Farm Next Door – affordable access to local, organic fresh produce for local people. But it’s not just about the food, it’s also about the like-minded community that we’ve built.” We hear from one of the founders, Lachie Chomley.

Farm Next Door Lachie and Joel

“We’re all concerned about Climate Change, inequality and the limited access to fresh healthy food in this area. The Farm Next Door is in Forster St. Norlane 3214 and the grocers across the road, in Labuan Square, offer a limited amount of fresh food.

“We started a year ago with the support of our auspicing organisation and local non-profit from Norlane Community Initiatives. This block was for lease and we were keen to develop an Urban Farm. What started as a core group of 6 has evolved into a community of about 60.

“We hold working bees on Tuesdays from 2 – 5pm and Saturday morning markets from 9 – 12. People living in 3214 get 50% off the produce. The Saturday morning markets will start up again from Aug 31st.

“There’s been a lot of support for the idea, which at times has seemed ambitious and stressful, but overall we’ve been really lucky to meet a variety of great people. Joel and I live here and moving in was positively eye opening for me having come from a privileged background.”

Joel Inei continues “It’s as much about the community as it is the food. We’re big on reducing food miles and growing tasty food that doesn’t cost the earth. Food’s also a great platform as it bring people together and everyone has to eat. We’ve had a very successful Summer and now we’re thinking about how we can provide for our market over Winter.

“We’re very optimistic about the future of The Farm Next Door concept as it is a great option for locals and is environmentally sustainable. On a personal level I’ve developed as a gardener and in the field of building community relationships. The community have made us feel welcome and supported.

“We’d like to expand into other backyards to grow more food for the locals. We also hold workshops and have recently held a mosaic class.”

Discovering The Farm Next Door seemed even more fitting having heard about Barwon Health’s campaign to raise awareness of the fact that we should be eating more vegetables. 2 serves of fruit and 5 serves of vegetables per day is the recommended amount.

I enjoyed finding out more about The Farm Next Door while sharing a roasted dandelion root tea and chowing down on a dried carob. Lachie tells me he sees the caffeine free tea becoming a coffee replacement.

The house and farm are on an 850 square metre block. There are sixteen vegie beds of 23m long. Pop out and check it out! Remember, The Farm shop on Saturday mornings will be open again from Sat 31st Aug.

Come and meet Lachie, Joel and their community at the Humans in Geelong Expo Sun 6 Oct 10-3pm Deakin Waterfront campus. Keep an eye on our website for updates to the Expo program.

Story and photos: Jacqui Bennett