Saturday, May 25, 2024

Nillumbik’s new plan for old farmers

Nillumbik Shire Council has begun work on an innovative project to develop community-led land management solutions to assist older people to remain on their rural properties.

Called ‘Smart Farms: Sustaining Land – Sustaining People’, the aim of the project is to identify and collaborate on innovative ideas that can assist ageing local landowners.

Mayor, Frances Eyre said the project was a first step in supporting residents to live and stay healthy in the community.

“As people age, the rural land management activities they have carried out for many years can become overwhelming,” Mayor Eyre said.

“We know many residents have needed to leave their homes and even the Shire to downsize as their property becomes too much to manage – which is a shame.

“We hope initiatives like this will not only give older residents support to stay in their homes and on their land, but will help reduce isolation and create connections in our community.”

The Mayor said it was hoped the solutions developed by Council could also benefit other similar local government areas.

Prue Rothwell, project co-ordinator of Open Food Network Australia, said the project provides an opportunity for Council to work with the community, local landowners and relevant groups and organisations to build community-led solutions.

“We’re aiming to support ageing landowners to maintain and stay on their properties, while improving land management, minimising unproductive land and bolstering Nillumbik’s food economy,” she said.

Community members are being invited to a free event at Wadambuk in St Andrews on Saturday 23 July from 11.30am-1pm, where Council will host guest speakers and seek expressions of interest from attendees about joining upcoming ‘co-design’ workshops to be held later in the year.

Council, Open Food Network and Fair Share Fare will work in conjunction with community members at these workshops to identify solutions to this complex problem. Open Food Network helps communities with the tools and resources for creating food systems that are fair, local, and transparent, while Fair Share Fare specialises in researching and collaborating on community projects with a focus on food, Council said in a statement.

This project is funded by the Federal Government’s Smart Farms Small Grants program.

For more information or to register, visit

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