Autumn 2022 Newsletter

W E L C O M E   F R I E N D S   O F   T H E  F A R M

Join us as we take a moment to reflect on the many happenings here over a jam-packed season among golden leaves and cool air. As always, your membership and donations support us to make Collingwood Children’s Farm a place where community comes together to enjoy and learn about animals, agriculture and each other. We’ve been hard at work, delivering our programs and events for children and adults alike, with lots to tell you about!

GE T   I N V O L V E D  

You would have seen some new faces at the Farm in autumn, outdoors and in the office.
Our volunteer roster has expanded to include community members with an interest in how the inner workings of our Reception area runs. Guided by our staff, volunteers continue to gain skills in assisting the many different people who visit CCF, find answers to your questions and support our daily operations. Say hello on your next visit, and if you’d like to volunteer on Reception too, send us an email.
We’re looking to expand our volunteer program and bring on people with specific skill sets.
Do you have a green thumb and want to help the gardening team? Or maybe you love events and could help out with some of our summer events coming up or the Farmers Market Stall held every Saturday? Are you a whizz at all things carpentry and could help out in the Big Green Shed? 
Send our Community Engagement Manager an email to: [email protected] and we’ll follow up with you!

N E W S   A T   T H E   F A R M

On Tuesday 21 June, we held our 2021–2022 Annual General Meeting (AGM) online. This meeting was an opportunity for Farm members to vote in four voluntary General Committee of Management (CoM) candidates who are a key component of CCF’s governance. Lachlan Cook and Isabel Schoen return to their positions on the CoM and CCF welcomes Margot Foster and Ben Neil. The next AGM will be held in November.

We’ve had an influx of new animals for you to meet on the Farm, in excess of one hundred new hens on ground, and we’re looking forward to the increased volume of eggs for everyone to enjoy—with more from Mia on animals new to the site below. 

Our Piglet Naming competition came to a close and we’re proud to announce that our two Large Black Sows have been named Eadie and Alice. As charming as they sound, these piglets aren’t pets and may not answer to their names, but they’re an important part of our living, breathing (and often eating) environment.

A B B E Y   C O L L A B Y   E V E N T

Abbey Collaby is an annual beer collaboration between Mountain Goat, Matilda Bay and Moondog breweries, who collectively work on a one-off special beer for Good Beer Week and donate the proceeds to the Farm. This is the eleventh year that they have run Abbey Collaby, and the first time we held the launch at the Farm, instead of at one of their breweries. The brewery staff set up their mobile bars, Bluebonnet BBQ ran a Southern American BBQ stall and three artists performed in the Barn—Jess Ribeiro, Steel Wheels and Adriana closing the night with a DJ set. A super fun night was had by Farm and brewery staff alike and over $7000 was raised for the Farm.

Jess Ribeiro performing in the Barn at Abbey Collaby

B O O K I N G   E V E N T S A T   T H E   F A R M

Do you have a wedding, a birthday party or an end-of-year work function coming up this summer?
Go to our website for more information about booking after-hours events in the Barn.
To book for kids parties go HERE.
And of course the Farm Cafe’s team are the consummate experts at delivering beautiful weddings on the Farm. 
Rich, Events Manager

Tables set up for guests in the Barn

A U T U M N   I N   T H E   G A R D E N S

Left: One of our beautiful dahlias
Right: Our CCF Hort. team planting along the retaining wall

Autumn into winter is a big transition time in the gardens. The Dahlia tubers were lifted, sorted and stored for the winter with Poppies and Ranunculus taking their place. All the summer crops finished up and now is the time to get new projects underway for the next growing season. 

We have prepared a 200sqm stretch on the retaining wall down the laneway and planted it with small Eucalyptus, Geraldton Wax and Kangaroo Paws. In addition to this, we are preparing areas in the Apple Orchard for late-spring flower crop planting, so that we can plant perennial flowers such as Echinacea, Yarrow and Billy Buttons under the apples. We used tarps to help break down the existing Kikuyu Grass, and upon last inspection discovered the worm activity under the tarps to be high!

All of our summer vegetable crops have finished and yummy winter treats, like delicious little sugarloaf cabbages, sprouting broccoli and baby leeks have been the stars of the Farmers Market Stall. 

This autumn, we harvested our first crop of ginger—about forty-six kilograms. We were excited to show and share our ginger growing trial with visitors to the Farm and regulars at our Farmers Market Stall. It was fragrant, fine-textured and spicy. A fantastic novel crop to add to our growing program and a treat for some locals to have the opportunity to buy (ginger is mostly commercially grown in Queensland or imported) at our stall just 200 meters from where it’s grown!

Another new crop for this year was sweet potato. We grew these in the long hedgerows in the Market Garden, planting slips (cuttings) in January, which is quite late for sweet potato planting. We still managed to get a lovely lush ground cover and a haul of twenty-nine kilograms of yummy purple on the outside, white on the inside sweet potatoes that the Young Farmers helped dig up last week, a treasure hunt discovering bright purple gems under the soil!

Thanks to Dr Chris Williams, Lecturer at Burnley Horticultural College and member of the Farm’s CoM for providing the plant stock and helping us with this project. 

Autumn to early winter is a wonderful time for fruit with figs, quinces, apples, nashi pears tangelos, limes, medlars and feijoas producing on the Farm. Quince jam is now available at our Stall. We hope that everyone who purchased their own quinces had success and are now enjoying their own homemade poached quinces, jams or pastes.

We have reduced our Farm Gate Stall days to Sunday and Monday while the growing season slows down, but we have a Farmers Market Stall at the Abbotsford Farmers Market every Saturday from 8 am–1 pm.

Native and Indigenous Plants
In the native and indgenous plant gardens, we have been busy dead wooding (for the Winter Solstice bonfire), clearing, weeding, mulching and replanting. Murnong and Chocolate Lilies have started to pop their heads up from below the soil, and we have sown more Murnong from seed that we had collected with the Narrap Rangers last December. Winter gives us the time to replant along the river bank and restore more of the river corridor.

Rachel, Head Gardener

Left: A delighted Rachel with some harvested ginger
Right: Freshly harvested ginger
Left: Sweet potatoes in a hedgerow with the green leaves making a thick ground cover
Right: Michael and Taylor with harvested apples
Left: Fig harvest
Right: Lime harvest

E D U C A T I O N   A N D   E N G A G E M E N T

The Education and Horticulture team visited Saint Paul’s Primary School Coburg recently to run activities and talk about sustainability, food systems and food origins—with lots of plant stock on hand so that the students could feel different food-producing plants. We drew maps of the world and plotted where different food crops come from.  We talked about trees and their importance.

We also learnt about micro organisms and had composting demonstrations; making sure we left a few compost bins for the classes to continue to use at school. 

Rachel, Head Gardener

Left: Melina, Dani and Chris from CCF with Volunteer Dwij presenting to students in the hall
Right: Students collecting Paper Daisies seeds


CCF is a working farm that strives to showcase regenerative farming practices and allows people to engage with and learn about where their food comes from. This is something that CCF has been doing for many years, with all our sheep and goats being bred onsite.
However, you may have noticed a few changes over the last couple of months, with the New Hampshire x Rhode Island Red Hens arriving and our new Friesian x Blue Speckled Calves.

The chickens are providing much needed waste reduction support with many of the vegetable scraps from the Market Garden being consumed by them and converted into delicious eggs. The eggs are for sale up at Reception and we are hoping to have them available at the Farmers Market soon. By producing and selling eggs here at CCF we are also able to raise awareness around food miles and waste reduction in the food system. Our longer term goal is to get the chickens out on the pasture at CCF, which will be an important step in regenerating our pastures and supporting the environment (as well as providing amazing foraging opportunities for our hens!).

The calves also play a key role in our regenerative farming model, as well as providing great education and engagement opportunities. By raising young calves we are able to increase our education and engagement about farming and regenerative agriculture, with minimal increased pressure on the pastures as the calves are being bottle-fed for the majority of the time they are here. Any increased pressure from grazing will be offset by the increased benefit gained through the manure the calves will produce, which will help improve the health of the pastures. 

Once the calves are old enough to properly eat grass, they will then be moved on to other farms that fit with our ethos: high animal welfare standards and regenerative agriculture practices.

CCF strives to be part of the food system, not just showcase it, and the calves and chickens both play a key role in this.


As many of you are probably aware, from the recent news coverage, there is a current outbreak of Foot and Mouth Disease in Indonesia. While the risk of Foot and Mouth Disease arriving in Australia is still low, we have put a few measures in place to help keep the risk low and protect our animals.

These following changes are now in place:

  • please do not visit CCF if you have travelled to Indonesia in the last seven days
  • please do not visit CCF if you own or have visited a property with livestock (excluding horses)
  • please be extra vigilant around hand-washing before and after eating, and avoid having food near our pigs, goats, sheep and cows
  • please be on the lookout for changes to animal access for our at-risk animals (sheep, goats, pigs and cows).

For more information about Foot and Mouth Disease and how we are addressing the problem please contact us via our website.

The measures are not mandates, however we greatly appreciate your help in following them to help protect our amazing animals.

Mia, Head of Animal Husbandry

Now that we’re well into winter, we’ve been very busy recently with lots of visitors and programs over the school holidays. We kicked off the holiday period with our very popular, hands-on Farmer for a Day program. Our Education Team facilitated kids between the ages of eight to fourteen years old who spent a day here at the Farm, immersing themselves in activities that taught them about animals and agriculture. Lucky participants tried their hand at woodworking, caring for the land (including cleaning up!), making their own pot out of recycled material and planting a seed they took back home to remember the day. We’re rugged up and ready to see you at the Farm soon. Keep an eye on our website and socials for more information!