Barns Lane Farm partnership to feed the hungry.
The Sunshine Coast is synonymous with great food and healthy lifestyles and blessed to have access to some of the best producers Australia has to offer. Yet, despite our region’s abundance, the reality for many families and individuals isn’t quite as cheerful.
2016 Census data from the Australian Bureau of Statistics, estimates nearly 900 people on the Sunshine Coast experience homelessness on any given night, with this number expected to be significantly more in 2022 due to housing shortages and an increase in living costs. That figure also doesn’t take into account the number of people who simply can’t afford to have three meals a day. In fact, according to the Foodbank Hunger Report 2021, 1 in 6 Australian adults haven’t had enough to eat in the last year, and even more shockingly, 1.2 million children have gone hungry.
Recognising the rising needs of the Sunny Coast Community, Barns Lane Farm has partnered up with a range of charities and non-for-profits, including The Mini Farm Project, which aims to resolve these food shortage issues.
“We are excited about our partnership with BLF as it will provide us an opportunity to become more visible in the community and showcase our farm as a solution to Food Insecurity,” said Nick Steiner, Founder & CEO of The Mini Farm Project.
“The goal of our site at Barns Lane Farm is to grow up to 30,000 meals a year for charity. The food we grow is then given to OzHarvest (which delivers 6,800 meals a week across the Coast), Meals on Wheels and local charities. This is Resolving Food Insecurity on a community scale and with the network on a regional scale,” he said.
Barns Lane Farm is donating the use of the plot of land through its not-for-profit arm, established to enable partnerships with various not-for-profit and community groups that share the vision and ideals of Barns Lane Farm.
“Our community mission revolves around the pillars of education, food security, food availability, healthy lifestyles, and local and sustainably produced food,” said Co-Founder and Developer, Jason Grant.
“We were attracted to The Mini Farm Project because of the community mission that drives them, their passion for sustainable agriculture and the professionalism with which they run their organisation. To create a sustainable organisation that gives back to the community but also is self-sustaining, really stood out to us,” Jason added.
Furthermore, The Mini Farm Project at Coolum Beach will help locals by creating more awareness of food shortage and availability issues. Their operations at Barns Lane Farm will also allow them onsite demonstrations of their various farming methods and the rationale behind these. As well as fresh produce being donated to charities, food grown by the Mini Farm Project will also be sold on-site, which will help fund their operational costs.
“We think this is an important piece of our business because it shows our commitment to the community, and really adds to the overall experience of Barns Lane Farm,” Added Jonathan Leishman, Co-founder of the development.
“The Mini Farm Project also brings in aspects of a real working farm on-site. Visitors will be able to have a hands-on, educational experience that has a direct impact on changing people’s lives,” Jonathan added.
For Nick Steiner and his team, the partnership comes with exciting potential to share more about what their unique offering is and how it is achieving its mission of feeding Queensland.
“There is nothing like Barns Lane Farm anywhere in the world and also no one is doing what The Mini Farm Project is doing on this scale, so it is a perfect arrangement,” said Nick.
“The exciting thing about what we do is that each farm in our network is different and tailored to the community that it is within. We can grow food anywhere by utilising a variety of growing methods like grow bag farms, hydroponic farms, aquaponic farms, in-ground market garden farms and orchards with chickens!” Said Nick.
For those wanting to support the Mini Farm project, Nick urges you to check out their website which has a range of donation opportunities, which help fund and build new farms across Queensland.
“The Community and businesses can also help us Grow Food for Those in Need by sponsoring a charity garden bed at one of our farms, make a donation, or shout us a coffee once a month for our Largest Climate Initiative Campaign,” said Nick.