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Chair Report 2018 Given At AGM On 25th November 2018

Here in full is the report given to the Annual General Meeting of Millen Farm members at Millen Farm by our Chair, Jenni Guse.

Our New Board

Graham Arnold (Business development). Nayarett Ojeda (Accountant – treasurer).  Melinda Laundon (Company secretary).  Linda Eager (Education consultant)Jenni Guse (Chair)Jerry Marston (Sustainable enterprises)

Chair Report 2018

The name ‘Millen’ comes from the language of the Toorbul people and means the place for gathering and feasting.

Today, we acknowledge the original custodians of this land, the Toorbul people and pay our respects to their elders past and present.

The purpose of this report is to update the Millen Farm community about our current activities and to provide insights into activities that are being considered for the future.

This has been a break-through year in which we have evolved from the initial start-up phase to a solid and substantial establishment of the farm. It’s been a watershed year when we’ve moved from asking: ‘Can we do this?’ to saying: ‘Yes we can!’. This growth has been achieved through the hard work and determination of our farmer, Arran Heideman and our committed team of volunteers, along with support from our partners and sponsors.

  1. Farming Statistics
  • Average net farm income: $ 2900 per month in peak growing period – a significant improvement!
  • Planting plan document and established
  • Mentorship from Ian Burow – 5th generation organic farmer
  • Labour support from Marist 180 trainees (Skilling Queensland project)
  • The farmer is self-funding through the following endeavours:
    1. Sale of produce
    2. Employed as a Work Experience Supervisor with Marist 180
    3. Agri-tourism
    4. Income from managing market stalls
    5. Note: Our goal is for the farmer’s income to come primarily from farm activities rather than a reliance on Marist 180 income.
  1. Farmers’ Market
  • Currently 5 farmers’ stalls every Wednesday (2pm – 5pm)
  • Currently 1 ‘tasting stall’ offering recipes of seasonal produce (self-funding)
  • Proposed 6 farmers’ stalls for Wednesday afternoon
  • Saturday morning stall at Lifestyle Centre,  9am – 1pm (in partnership with Gladewood Farm). There are currently around 40 customers per week.
  • There are an increasing number of customers attending the Wednesday market. We estimate at least 200 customers per week, depending on the weather.
  1. Education and Training at Millen Farm
  • Marist 180 trainees in Conservation and Land Management beginning September 19. Skilling Queensland funding for 12 months (Self-funding)
  • MOU with Westwood Environmental and Vector Institute Australia for Cert 11 and 111 in Horticulture and Rural Operations. The initial program is for one intake of students and, following a positive review of the program, continuing certificate training programs will be considered. Initial program beginning before the end of the year. (Self-funding with a small income stream to Millen Farm per student.)
  • Community education 2018: 17 workshops providing a range of education. Approximately 250 participants have attended this year, many coming from the local area, but some have traveled from the Gold Coast and Sunshine Coast hinterlands as well as Brisbane suburbs. Some workshops are free, others run at a profit which contributes to insurance costs.
  • Future opportunities for education:
  1. Agri-tourism (to supplement the income of the farmer)
  2. Free community-based learning. We would like to develop a community space around our new shed where groups can learn about sustainable food production. Ideally, the growing space should be linked to a garden kitchen to demonstrate how to use the produce in food production.
  3. Linking the farm to school programs

Issues around expanding education programs

  • While the farm provides a hands-on learning space, we do not have a suitable teaching space for discussion or theory instruction.
  • Toilets
  • Safety: parking, access to the farm, paths, shade
  • Need for additional volunteers to continue the community education program
  1. Financial situation
  • Our preferred financial model is an Entrepreneurial Model. We acknowledge the uncertainty of depending on government funding. Therefore, we have adopted a model of entrepreneurial activities supported by volunteers. However, any infrastructure projects are dependent on grants.
  • Our main expense is insurance. This will increase with the construction of the shed to an estimated $4 900. We currently have enough funds to cover insurance from February 2019 for 12 months.
  • We have received donations and income from:
  1. The slow food movement
  2. The silent auction at the Samford Harvest Dinner (Alfreshco)
  3. The Millen Farm community education program
  • We have a Queensland Government Community Benefit Grant of $29,700 to build a shed. The shed will be used to house our equipment and provide a small shaded area.
  • We have a grant of $1 525 from Bendigo Bank for a cold room. This spending is on hold until we have stability in terms of our access to buildings on the site.
  1. Governance
    1. Board of directors: Currently 6 directors. (Meets bi-monthly.) The board is responsible for:
      1. Financial viability
      2. Risk assessment and management
      3. Legal responsibilities
    2. Operations team (Meets monthly): Covering the following areas
      1. Farm production and infrastructure
      2. Produce Distribution
      3. Communications and marketing
      4. Business development
      5. Volunteers
      6. Fund raising
      7. Community engagement
      8. Education
    1. Education team (Meets monthly.) Activities include:
      1. Assessing educational needs in the community
      2. Planning free and low-cost education for adults
      3. Assisting presenters to ensure a quality educational experience
  1. Partners and Sponsors
  • Moreton Bay Regional Council (Founding sponsor)
  • Queensland State Government (Founding sponsor)
  • Bendigo Bank (Founding sponsor)
  • Mooey’s Pet and Landscaping (Founding sponsor)
  • Samford Commons (Founding partner)
  • Marist 180 (Training)
  • Westwood Environmental & Vector Institute Australia (Training)
  • Strictly Marketing (Pro Bono social media, graphic design)
  • Trish Anderson photography (Pro Bono photography)
  • Pause restaurant (Customer)
  • The long yard larder (Customer)
  • Alfreshco (Samford Harvest Dinners)
  • Slow Food Movement (Snail of approval for the farm and the education program in recognition of Good, Clean, Fair food.)
  • Gladewood Micro-Farm (Distribution)

We have much to be thankful for. Behind every achievement there’s a person, a farmer, or a team of volunteers. So, to everyone who has contributed to Millen Farm, I say now is the time to reflect on what’s been achieved over the year and allow ourselves to feel a sense of satisfaction at a job well done.

Finally, I’d like to sincerely thank volunteers who are moving on to other areas of interest in the future. I’d especially like to thank Ian Beaton and Lotty Cole for their incredible energy and contributions to Millen Farm. The whole community is benefiting from your efforts. Thank you.