Duck or Rabbit
Seeing the rabbit

The other day Marg Alexandra from Hazeldean Forest Farm delivered a ute-load of early season Summer Reds to the Fair Food warehouse.

We talked a bit about family, timber, the apple season (it’s looking good) but mostly about farm succession.

For the past couple of years Marg and husband Jason have been patiently looking for someone to takeover the 96 acre tree farm and food forest they established on bare cow pastures near Warragul over 40 years ago.

Jason and Marg are regenerative agriculture pioneers – their legacy is manifested in mature stands of Spotted Gum, Oaks, Chestnuts, Walnuts and fodder trees that act as shelter for a commercial organic orchard home to 30 varieties of heritage apples, persimmons, peaches, nashis & plums.

The trees and a four-acre dam provide habitat for cows and chickens, bats, birds and numerous native species who work as grazers, nutrient recyclers, pollinators and natural pest controllers.

These layers of productivity also provide niches for young entrepreneurs and new enterprises – apple cider & vinegar, veggies, eggs, honey, mushrooms and timber products.

But despite Hazeldean’s obvious environmental, educational and agricultural value Marg fears the farm’s proximity to Melbourne could easily see the trees ripped out to make room for a sprawling weekender, ornamental lawns and a few horses in the paddocks.

My immediate response to Marg’s story is to wish I had a couple of million dollars so I could buy it and keep it safe.

But then it strikes me that if respectful custodianship is to continue for generations to come then this land actually needs to be owned, no, it needs to be held, by a community.

But how do you do this and does it even work?

Over the weekend I call Robert Pekin, who together with co-founder, Emma Kate-Rose, their Food Connect Shed team and 512 community “careholders”, raised $2 million in 2018 to buy a Brisbane warehouse – now home to 30 ethical food businesses.

Rob answers, he’s in the middle of a working bee at the Food Connect Shed on a very sticky 35C Brisbane day.  He slips out of the heat into a cool fermenting room owned by the resident micro-brewery.

I ask him if he thinks a “community-held” Hazeldean is a good idea?

Rob completely bypasses, my Should we do it? question and ploughs matter-of-factly into How we could do it.

The more Rob talks about practicalities, the more I feel like someone is showing me the rabbit in one of those dual images where I’ve only ever seen a duck….

Nicky packing orders in the Fair Food warehouse
Six day delivery sorted 

If you’ve been in the webshop over the last few days you may have noticed we’ve just started delivering to *all* our postcodes, 6 days a week. ⁠

⁠This means we’ll be in lots of new areas Monday – Saturday, which will give everyone more options to find a delivery on the date that suits best.⁠

There’s over 100 suburbs that we’re now delivering to 6 days a week, such as:⁠

Werribee

Point Cook⁠

Caroline Springs⁠

Ringwood⁠

Glen Waverley⁠

Warrandyte⁠

Chelsea⁠

Seaford

Dandenong, and loads more… ⁠

Here’s the link to our delivery map if you want to double check if your postcode is in our delivery area. ⁠

⁠Have a great week

Chris

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