Thanks to the City of Richmond’s Council Community Initiatives process, the Sharing Farm is now the proud owner of something we’ve never had before – a tractor!
Furthermore, this is no rundown, rusty, on-its-last-legs tractor, but a brand-new shiny Kubota LA525.
This fantastic machine is opening up a whole new world of possibilities for the Sharing Farm.
Recently arrived, it has already made its maiden “voyage,” plowing and tilling a three-quarter-acre patch of land, which we are now in the process of seeding for pollinator plants.
This will encourage both our thriving honey bee apiary and our native pollinators.
Previously, we have always had to bring in an external contractor to plow this land, and whether we could afford to do so was reliant on whether we received grant funding or not. Now it’s as simple as heading for the tractor shed and turning the key.
We’ve also made a start on processing our own compost. Before this we were, of course, composting (we are strong believers in compost here). However, without the equipment to turn the pile (we produce a lot of compost and it’s way beyond the scope of shovels and young backs), we weren’t able to use the results on our fields.
Compost needs to be aerated for it to break down properly. Also, without regular turning, the pile cannot get hot enough throughout for all the weed seeds to be killed off. This would mean that by spreading our own compost we would also be spreading a nightmarish amount of work for ourselves by replanting all the weeds that we’d diligently removed the previous years.
Now we should be able to save at least a $1,000 annually by being able to produce our own compost. We’ll also reduce the carbon footprint of the farm, as compost won’t have to be hauled in from offsite.
The tractor originally came about through a conversation between Richmond Coun. Bill McNulty and my predecessor James Gates. McNulty is a big supporter of the Sharing Farm and could see what value a machine like this could have on our operations. He took it forward to council and it was approved earlier this year. We were also lucky enough to receive substantial discounts from both Kubota and the dealer, Avenue Machinery.
We are very grateful that our ability to fulfil our mission of growing food for our neighbours in need will be so greatly improved due to this generous contribution. If you walk through Terra Nova Park, take a look to see if you can spot our shiny orange beauty in action.
Sarah Drewery is the Executive Director of the Sharing Farm. The Sharing Farm is a non-profit farm in Terra Nova Park, which grows food to donate to the food bank and community meal programs in Richmond.