Did you know locals are growing food at Deagon Racecourse in Brisbane's northern suburbs? Keira Brett tells us about this remarkable community farm that is diverting food waste from landfill and building powerful community connections.
On a weekly basis anywhere from 150 to 200kg of food waste is collected from the local area and composted at the Green P Community Farm at Deagon Racecourse in Brisbane’s northern suburbs. What started as an idea on how to get more much needed composting materials for the farm has blossomed into a wonderful way for local businesses to dispose of food waste which would otherwise go to landfill.
How the farm works
Green P Community Farm operates on 3,000 square metres of disused land inside the racecourse and provides access to arable land for refugee and new arrival families where they can grow crops for their own consumption.
The community farm also has a market garden area which is maintained by a small group of volunteers from the local community. All produce raised in the market garden is sold with monies being re-invested into the farm; most weeks the produce is sold directly back to local cafes or to attendees of SANDBAG’s programs (Sandgate and Bracken Ridge Action Group Incorporated, which supports the farm).
A typical waste collection day
Every Thursday myself and Daniel, one of our community placement students, stop off at Satori Wholefoods nice and early before the morning rush. Here buckets of food waste and coffee grounds are collected and loaded up before stopping at Baaia for more spent coffee grounds. Then it’s a short trip to Wired Owl where there can be anywhere from 50-70kg coffee grounds waiting. Then it’s one last stop at Viet Street Eat for more vegetable scraps before we head off to the farm.
Once delivered, farm participants help to unload and mix the collected waste in with grass clippings from social enterprise SEED and manure from a local stable. The end nutrient rich product is then used to help grow bountiful crops.
Learning from each other
The community farm project has grown to accommodate over 100 farm participants with the majority of the farm’s community members being from Karen, Bhutanese and Nepalese cultures.
A large number of these farm participants were raised in communities generally based on subsistence agriculture. They have shown an admirable ability to grow large quantities of fresh chemical-free food from minimal resources , and the volunteers in the farm’s market garden area learn much from their methods.
The farm is also a space visited by groups like SANDBAG’s Conservation and Land Management Group, and Aspley Special School students who come with their supervisors to learn new skills which allow them to complete their certificate courses.
The community farm’s waste diversion project is leading to more interest in the farm from the local community, and stronger relationships being developed with local businesses.
The farm hopes to roll the project out to more businesses in the area and is always open to more volunteers getting involved in all aspects of the garden.