Fight to keep farm

Ongoing hardship could spell the end of 12 years supplying top notch organic produce for Angelica Organic Farm.
Glenlyon farmers Tim and Deri-Anne Wyatt said the past 18 months or so had hit them with setback after setback and the prospect of recovery looked grim without outside support.
“We’ve lost crops valued in the tens of thousands of dollars – an amount a small farm business like ours just can’t cover at the tail end of a season,” Mr Wyatt said.
Complications in land leasing led to delayed crop planting, and multiple equipment breakdowns along with loss of 50 per cent of the garlic crop, plus consecutive heavy frosts, have all contributed to their dire situation.
They have estimated about $50,000 of debt they will need to find even if they are forced to walk away from the farm.
To make it through to December they predict the farm will need about $85,000.
“We are now facing the reality that we may have to close Angelica Organic Farm by the end of August,” Mr Wyatt said.
The reality is heartbreaking for the first-generation farmers but in one last bid to keep the farm operational, at the advice of a friend, they have created a ‘GoGetFunding’ crowd-sourcing campaign that aims to get them back in the black.
“We want to fight to keep farming,” Mr Wyatt said. “We’ve worked too hard and sacrificed too much. We still have so much more to contribute.”
The farm supports environmentally sound and regenerative farming, and has received awards for its produce.
It has been supplying several local and Melbourne restaurants for years, which now feel so strongly about the couple’s practice they have joined forces to put on a five-course lunch fundraiser at Little Bourke Street’s Annam.
Melbourne chef Adam Racina, who initiated the luncheon, said the couple had managed through some tough years and he was eager to see them get back on their feet.
“They put a lot of love and care into what they do and they are unique in their regenerative approach. They have stayed true to this practice and have not cut any corners,” Mr Racina said.
“They are a small-scale farm and have taken a lot of risks to deliver their product. There are a lot of struggling farmers out there and at the end of the day they (the Wyatts) need our help and we want them to keep doing what they are doing.”
The Wyatts have received financial advice and have carefully considered their next steps, including remodelling the farm and their business plan if they were to continue.
This includes expanding its community supported agriculture program which currently feeds 65 households for a 28 week season, and provides greater ability to plan.
Any funds donated to the campaign will go towards paying farm hands, clearing debts on critical equipment, paying bills and new seedlings to start over. The campaign has so far had 248 backers donating a total of $27,246.
Anyone wishing to support the farm through donations during August can visit www.gogetfunding.com/angelica-organic-farm-needs-your-help

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