Country Valley Dairy in Picton needs your help

Country Valley Dairy in Picton needs your help

Country Valley in Picton is suffering through a bad drought. This dairy farm with its own dairy makes and distributes Country Valley milk, yoghurt and cream – and is the last remaining dairy farm in the Sydney basin.  The drought is forcing John to buy hay throughout winter, which will cost him $1350 per cow.  He needs help: sponsor a cow, and bring your family on a farm visit to Picton, just 2 hours south of Sydney. Read his story below and contact him via Facebook (@CountryValleyMilk) or phone 02 4677 2223 to make a donation, big or small…read on below photo.

Country Valley farmer needs your help

John Fairley is a 5th generation dairy farmer in Picton.  The farm was established nearly 150 years ago and is now one of the last remaining dairies in the Sydney basin.  “With the urban sprawl getting ever closer, the harder it becomes to keep places like Picton rural. However, farming is more than a job, it is a way of life and it effects the lives of more than just the families who farm. To us it is not just about dollars and cents but about our heritage and the way we want to see our valley stay as farm land”, says John.

After deregulation of the milk industry in 2000, farmers like John were paid 26c per litre by the milk processors.  Which much of NSW in drought, John decided to become ‘Master of his own Fate’: he built his own dairy and started selling milk and yoghurt under the Country Valley brand into the Sydney and Canberra markets. It didn’t take long before he started buying milk from nearby farmers, paying them 20% more than what they got from the processors.

Country Valley went on to win prizes at the Royal Easter Show, and Pepe Saya uses Country Valley cream and milk to make his premium cultured butter.

For a few years, Harvest Hub sold Country Valley products.  Our members loved the creamy taste of the fresh milk and the thick yoghurt (without gum) – until the NSW Food Authority tightened the compliance requirements for storing and transporting dairy products which made it prohibitively expensive for small distributors like us.

However, times are lean on the farm right now.  Picton, and the wider Wollondilly shire, are in drought. Says John: “The time has come to swallow my pride and ask for help. The realisation that we will be fully feeding cows, all winter, has arrived. Even if it rains next week and we get crops in, it will get cold and we will still have no feed. My 83-yr. old Dad said he has never seen it worse than this.

“One of our options we put on the table to get through the drought was to shut the dairy down. I just can’t do it.

“We have developed the herd over time, milking daughter after daughter. We all grew up helping our Dad’s and Grandfathers on weekends and school holidays. The dairy is a part of who we are. ‘It takes a tribe to raise a child’ resonates with me.

“I want my grandkids to help my son and maybe my daughter in the future.

“I am asking our supporters of Country Valley to adopt a cow or a calf, to help my family get through to Spring. Any amount, with enough people, will help. You will receive a photo of your cow which you can name if you like. Then we are offering a visit to the farm on a roster basis over time. You can introduce yourself, to the cow that is, and me as well of course. You can milk a cow which might not necessarily be yours, depending on the timing. We finish the day by helping to feed the calves and choose a sample bag to take home.

“I have estimated that it will cost $1350 per cow to feed her until the end of September. And I have 130 cows to feed! This is by no means a minimum amount for adoption. I’m just trying to let you know the scale of my problem.

“Anyone kind enough to help out please email me at johnfairley@countryvalley.com.au with your details and we can register you in the Cow Diary. Or call 02 4677 2223 and ask for Sally or Tom in business hours. Any help will be greatly appreciated”.

Market at Macquarie University- Social Enterprise

Sports & Leisure Centre Saturday Market Macquarie University

Saturday Market encouraging new leadership.

For 3 years a bustling farmers market was run outside the Macquarie Sports and Leisure Centre, 2013 to 2016.

A true Social Enterprise – balancing profit with Social Outcomes.

The market managed to donate almost 50 tonnes of fresh produce to the residents of Ivanhoe housing estate since July 2015 – a massive feat!

The market also provided a great opportunity for Macquarie University students in the Global Leadership Program to get some hands-on experience running a produce market.

And lastly, it provided local growers – from the Hawkesbury and Horsley Park to Wallacia and Leppington – with a chance to showcase their wares.

All good things must come to an end – eventually.   A new project was created for students giving them the opportunity to run their own Fruit & Veg coop.

There are Food Hubs for staff at Macquarie Uni:

  • Sustainability Cottage at Hadenfeld Ave (Tuesdays)
  • Biology department at Eastern Road (Wednesday)
  • Cochlear Hub at University Ave (Wednesday)

for ordering at these Hubs – Simply customise your order online, and pick up from the Hub.  To check it out, visit www.harvesthub.com.au.

 

 

Me Farms a local farm

Me Farms plot

Me Farms plot

Me Farms a local farm

Harvest Hub are reaching out for truly local into the suburbs. In Fairfield and Bankstown there are farms which produce amazingly flavoursome produce. Harvest Hub guarantees that 50 cents in the dollar spent goes back to their farmers.

Multicultural Enterprises Australia (MEA)

Me Farm Seedlings

Me Farm Seedlings

Multicultural Enterprises Australia (MEA) established out of the Cabramatta Community Centre in 2011 began MEFarms. Supported by Community Builders state funding for 3 years we have incorporated KPI’s of this funding with objectives so the farm could be self sufficient.

MEA is a social enterprise championed by Suji Upasena. Together Suji and a working party consisting of several local Fairfield, Cabramatta and Liverpool agencies initiated a farm concept to support migrants, refugees, and local residents in pursuit of horticultural training and work experience to operate in a fresh produce farm environment.

MEFarms supporting migrants & local residents horticultural training and work experience to operate in a fresh produce farm environment. Fairfield,Bankstown.

Winter and what happens at the farm.

Me Farms tell us, “Sydney has just passed the longest day of the year and with only two months before spring is well underway with seeding in our nursery. Our mild winter days are up to 20 degrees and our nights only down to 5 degrees. This has seen some remarkable growth in our young seedlings. Right now were sowing leeks, swiss chard, carrots, beetroot, radish, sunflower, Brassicas and garlic.”