Help floods in to rebuild farm

A SUPPORTIVE community and the generosity of strangers has seen Scrubby Hill Farm at Geeveston back to regular operations after being submerged in winter floodwaters.

In early August, the two-hectare community farm felt the force of about 50mm of rain across a three-day period, the waters of the swollen Kermandie River and Rileys Creek rising to completely enveloping the farm.

When the rains eased and the waters drained the damage was exposed, with beds and sprinkler systems washed away, tools missing and debris littering the site.

Mac McGuiness and Oli Wichmann had only recently moved their micro-green farming operation, Huski Greens to the site after taking up the role of community farm coordinators.

Upon assessing the damage, a call was put to the community to lend a hand in re-building and cleaning the site.

They were overwhelmed by the answer of the community.

“We had a huge clean-up effort from so much support from the community, so many people were coming and helping however they could across the first three days here,” said Mac.

“We had 15 turn up on the first day, 10 on the next and then well over 20 at the weekend.

“Everyone’s generosity just blows you away.”

Mr Wichmann said that while the floods were destructive, their plans to make some considerable changes to the site were somewhat helped by the floods.

“We’d only recently moved our entire farm from Sorell to Geeveston, so there was a lot in containers that copped quite a bit from the water,” Oli said.

“It was bad in that sense, but it was good for our remodelling.

“It pushed all the branches and logs up, it even pulled out some existing plant beds we’d planned on changing, which we’ve now rebuilt in the place we want them.”

Mac and Oli said the location of the farm always presented a risk-reward factor.

“It was always a risk we knew about when we came here, but the last flood like this was in 1996,” Oli said.

“We didn’t expect anything like that to come so soon, but it has it’s upsides.”

“This farm is built on river wash, we’ve had soil scientists holding presentations on the farm recently, on how great the soils are here,” Mac added.

The rebuild now continues for on Scrubby Hill Farm, with plans for a more welcoming area for community members that includes a gravel undercover area at the front of the site, planting boxes and spaces for future garden markets.