The mission of Baroona Farm, an urban farm ministry located in the grounds of St Francis College in Milton, is to “grow food and community with and for the nutritionally vulnerable”.
In 2019 when the project first started gathering some momentum this mission was realised through conversations and an eventual partnership with the Romero Centre (Mercy Community Partners) who support refugees and people seeking asylum in Brisbane.
Baroona Farm has made another significant connection and partnership, now with Multicultural Australia who, after being shown the mission and set-up of the farm project, has seen the potential connections and benefits for clients that they work with. At a recent working bee, we met with Multicultural Australia Employment program coordinator Sammy Narua, who helps clients find work.
At this same working bee, Sri Lankan-born refugee and Multicultural Australia client Sisira Fernando joined the team at Baroona Farm and immediately felt connected with the place, especially after seeing foods from Sri Lanka growing there. He was delighted, in particular, to see okra, winged beans and gotu cola (a herb) growing in the small farm. However, most of all Sisira felt welcomed at the working bee where he got to meet others from Brisbane and feel a part of the farm community.
It is these powerful connections that Baroona Farm seeks to foster in growing both community and culturally-appropriate food. In fact, the name ‘Baroona’ is said to stem from a local First Nation word meaning ‘a place far away’ – we have also been told that the hill where St Francis College is located was also an ancient meeting ground for sharing and trading food, a tradition that we are proud to acknowledge and continue on with.
In 2011-12, four per cent of Australians experienced food insecurity. An even higher prevalence of food insecurity has been reported among particularly marginalised communities, such as people seeking asylum (71 per cent), Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples (22 per cent), disadvantaged urban households (25 per cent), and people who are unemployed (23 per cent) (Australian Family Physician).
Following the call to discipleship that Jesus has given to us to feed the hungry (Matthew 25.35), Baroona Farm is committed to seeing this ministry become a further reality, making a difference in the lives of more people living in and around our city.
In the next 12 months, Baroona Farm plans to further expand operations, from 38 garden beds (1m x 1.2m each bed) to 78 beds, drastically increasing the food growing potential of the farm. In order to do this Baroona Farm is selling 2022 calendars to go towards raising the $5,000 that is needed to reach this goal. If individuals or parishes would like to purchase a calendar ($20 each) or make a general donation, please contact The Rev’d Samuel Dow via firstname.lastname@example.org.Jump to next article