Massey Ferguson paid a visit to The Collingwood Children’s Farm to find out more about their unique working farm situated only four kilometres from Melbourne’s CBD.
early in the morning the farm is already full of energy and small children
bursting with excitement, anticipating their first encounter with farm animals.
The staff and volunteers are already hard at work too, feeding animals and
maintaining the upkeep of the land. The Collingwood Children’s Farm is clearly
a working farm and isn’t just for show.
our way down to the farm Barn we can’t help but notice the Massey Ferguson 4708
glistening in the winter sun outside their workshop, however first of all we
are here to learn more about the Collingwood Children’s Farm and what it means
to the local and wider Victorian community.
We are greeted by Andrew, one of the farmers on site and it is immediately
clear that he is proud of his role at the farm.
of the first things we learn about is the farm’s social engagement charter. “The
Farm is here for people who are disadvantaged, focusing on children and young
adults”, Andrew tells us. The farm is also a centre for the Riding for the
Disabled Association, and is committed to making itself as accessible to all
regardless of circumstance.
Collingwood Children’s Farm will be celebrating its fortieth birthday next year,
though farming has been occurring on the land for over 175 years, including by
the Sisters of Good Shepherd who established the site as a convent farm back in
1863. Despite the Sisters no longer farming the paddocks their connection to
the land is not completely lost. Visitors to the farm tell Andrew and his
fellow farmers stories of seeing the Sisters working away in the paddocks
dressed in their habits up until the mid 1970s.
the convent years the farm had a great sense of self-sufficiency and
productivity, so much so that excess produce was used to barter for what was
needed by the nuns. The farm today tries to echo that same sense of
self-sufficiency, implementing sustainable practices such as recycling and
closed loop farming, all done to make best use of materials and local
education to those attending the farm is a central pillar of its operation, as
Andrew explains the farm also exists to allow people to engage with agriculture.
The location of a working farm only four kilometres from Melbourne’s CBD
provides a unique opportunity for children to connect with agriculture which
otherwise wouldn’t be possible if it weren’t for the farm. “Young children are becoming disconnected
from their food, they go to the supermarket and everything is prepackaged” Andrew
It’s all about forming connections with the
land at Collingwood Children’s Farm. Whether it’s as simple as a cuddle with a lamb
in Spring, or teaching school-aged children about the paddock-to-plate process
and sustainability. By enabling these opportunities the farm helps children and
adults become more aware of the agricultural industry and better able to make
the connection to where their food comes from.
all farms, machinery is a necessity and that’s where Massey Ferguson comes in.
Massey Ferguson has proudly been involved with the Collingwood Children’s Farm
for the past six years, supplying the MF 4708 to the farm. “We’ve got a variety
of purposes for the tractor” Andrew explains, “today it will be out slashing
paddocks and helping lay green manure”.
it’s not all hard work for the MF 4708, the tractor aptly nicknamed ‘Big Red’ regularly
takes children around the farm on tractor rides which is always a popular
event. And for most city children, it might be the only real tractor they ever
get to see up close. Big Red has also been a participant in countless
photographs, with children dwarfed by the large tractor, their parents exclaiming
“…this tractor tyre is bigger than you!” Andrew tells us with a smile.
the farm it’s easy to see why over 150,000 people visit annually, a little bit
of country life so close to a busy metropolis isn’t something you can
experience anywhere else in the nation. Returning visitors are common practice
at the Collingwood Children’s Farm, with children very eager to see if they’ve
grown taller than Big Red.