Funding for farm’s future

October 10, 2023 BY

Bendigo Community Bank Bellarine and Farm My School representatives at Bellarine Secondary College.

AN INNOVATIVE regenerative farming project will continue at a Bellarine school after it received a substantial community funding boost.

Bendigo Community Bank Bellarine this week committed $150,000 to support the Farm My School project at Bellarine Secondary College (BSC).

The commitment will support three years’ of staff employment and equipment purchases to continue growing the project.

Farm My School launched late last year, transforming an unused soccer pitch into a permaculture market garden.

Sustainability is at the heart of the initiative, which was opened with a “no-dig festival”, and now provides produce to school families with affordable organic veggie boxes and the school canteen.

Students are at the heart of tending to the farm, with the project also aiming to educate, engage and empower the school community to reimagine their food systems.

Bendigo Community Bank Bellarine director Chris Niven said the project was a worthy recipient of the local branch’s latest round of grassroots funding.

“Supporting projects that help build our community’s future is essential to us.

“We have chosen Farm My School as a significant recipient of our Community Bank Grants Program to aid in the successful rollout of this amazing project here on the Bellarine.”

Farm My School founder James McLennan said the funding would allow the initiative to continue deepening its roots on the Bellarine.

“This grant has been significant in allowing us to further establish the project by allowing us to continue to employ key staff in our start-up phase such as our farmer Nina and purchase additional equipment to run a functional and productive farm.”

BSC and Bellarine Community Health said they were also proud to continue their partnership with the project.

“This project is about education and engagement and being able to embed sustainable regenerative farming practices into our curriculum is giving our students great insights into food production,” BSC principal Wayne Johannesen said.

“We’re grateful to Bendigo Community Bank Bellarine and proud to be partnering with FMS and BSC to make this pilot project happen in our community,” Barwon Community Health chief executive officer Garry Ellis said.

“This project strongly aligns with our priority to keep our Bellarine community healthy and well.”