Mini farm makes a big impact
What do you get when you combine a mini farm, community-minded businesses, a school with a social conscience and a focus on agriculture, and some curious and clever students?
The Mini Farm at Loganlea State High School, launched in May, is an example of the good that can come of collaboration and community. The farm is set on school grounds and its food is harvested for local charities to feed Logan families in need.
Nick Steiner, founder of The Mini Farm Project, has been working with the school since 2019.
Since then, they’ve had more than half of the 80 farm plots sponsored by local organisations or businesses, allowing the farm to keep producing food.
‘Helping provide fresh food to people in need is the reason this farm exists, and it’s been great to be able to start harvesting and providing food for our charity partners,’ Nick says.
‘We worked closely with Griffith University to co-design the space based on research, as well as Logan City Council’s CityStudio project in the initial stages.
‘It has been great to see the interest from Logan organisations and individuals who have sponsored plots so far, and we would love to see more jump on board.’
Dr Kimberley Reis from Griffith University’s School of Engineering and Built Environment, who guided first-year Environmental Planning student research into the project from the start, says she is excited to see how far things have progressed.
‘It is a wonderful feeling to see how it is going; it shows a new generation of savvy planning professionals coming out of university who can reimagine the urban environment in a very different way that supports community resilience,’ she says.
‘This year’s Environmental Planning students will go back to Loganlea and come up with a proposal to replicate the mini farm model on the Logan campus of Griffith University, so we can continue to work behind the scenes to see how we can grow this model.’
A team of farmers, and plenty of students, oversee the farm.
School principal Brenton Farleigh says the collaboration is a win-win.
‘Having The Mini Farm Project onsite and working with students is a great opportunity to see how horticulture works; it helps with employment opportunities, and knowing how to grow your own food is a life skill you can enjoy,’ he says.
‘Also, having a charity at the school, being able to contribute to the work they do, and knowing they are helping to provide food to the community builds strong character in students.’
Ruby Belcher, in Year 10, likes getting her hands dirty for a good cause.
‘It’s motivating to know the food being produced is going to charity and to other people who need it,’ she says.
Year 12 student Mackenzie Bates agrees.
‘I like being outside and working with my hands and with this, you are also helping people, which makes it even better,’ she says.
‘We help whenever the Mini Farm team asks us to pitch in, laying soil, planting, fixing beds – whatever they need. We learn a lot as we are doing it and we all pitch in as one big team.’
Find out more: mfp.org.au
This project was completed as part of CityStudio Logan which was operational from July 1st, 2018 to June 30th, 2023. For more information on CityStudio, please visit www.citystudioglobal.com