The Community Farm on Gateway Island is once again bursting with life this spring. The season of new growth, an upgraded water supply and a thriving community of gardeners all contribute to the seasonal busy-ness.
From humble beginnings as a community development project with newly arrived Bhutanese refugee families in 2013, the farm has grown and transformed into 270 organic garden plots shared by members of the Congolese, Bhutanese and other CALD community of Albury Wodonga.
The farm was formally established in 2015 by the Bhutanese Association in Albury with support from the National Environment Centre, Riverina TAFE, Parklands and E-Works Employment Solutions. It has since received considerable support from local business, service clubs and philanthropic organisations including AT Jones, the Rotary Club of North Albury, the Scanlon Foundation, the Besen Foundation, Border Trust and the RACV Foundation.
The Community Farm has grown exponentially with the enthusiastic participation of the local refugee community. The farm provides a safe place for people to learn about their new country, exchange skills and knowledge, improve language and employment skills, socialise, and share their culture, all the while producing organic vegetables.
With the farm at capacity and a long waiting list for garden plots, the new Committee of Management is seeking to expand the farm by utilising a further 2 hectares of the adjoining paddocks. The Committee is currently negotiating the expansion with land owner Wodonga Council and look forward to the new opportunities this will bring to the CALD communities and the broader community of Albury-Wodonga.