Collingwood Children's Farm (CCF) in Melbourne, Australia received a new tractor from Massey Ferguson, marking the continuation of a partnership between the two organizations that began in 2013. The farm, which covers ten acres just outside of the Melbourne CBD, is a not-for-profit working farm, providing much-needed greenspace for inner city people, and works to connect children with agriculture and foster a deeper understanding of where their food comes from.
The CCF has a long history of being farmed by First Nations people prior to European settlement, and then by a French order of nuns, the Sisters of Good Shepherd. The large Convent provided shelter for orphans, the infirm and the sick, and at its peak there were as many as a thousand inhabitants within its walls, who were kept fed by the produce grown in the Convent grounds by the Yarra River. In 1979, a community committee, with support from the former Collingwood City Council, leased a small area of the Convent for a Children’s Farm, and additional land was added in the 1980s.
Decades later, the CCF continues to thrive, and is a popular destination for school excursions and local families. The farm is home to a variety of animals, including pigs, cows, chickens, goats, and guinea pigs, as well as a vegetable patch and orchard which all provide the farm with produce which is sold on weekends at the Abbotsford Farmer’s Market. The majority of the farm’s operational costs are provided by entry fees, donations and through the work of its dedicated volunteers.
The CCF runs a weekend initiative for children ages 8 to 16 called the Young Farmers Program. The program allows local kids to come and learn about farming and life at CCF by involving them in gardening, land care, cooking and animal husbandry. Mia Sutherland began her connection to the farm as a member of the Young Farmer’s Program as an eight-year-old, and has stayed on as a volunteer, eventually working her way up to her current position as Head of Animal Husbandry 20 years later. ‘Massey Ferguson originally reached out to the Collingwood Children's Farm to see if we were interested in using one of their tractors,’ Mia says. ‘And ever since then we've been blown away by their generosity. The tractor’s a huge part of the farm.’
The new Massey Ferguson MF4708 tractor is an upgrade from the MF4610 model that CCF previously had. The 82 HP Global Series MF4708 has additional features such as a power-shuttle gearbox for smooth forward and reverse movement, and a 3,000 kg lift capacity front-end loader with a 4-in-1 bucket. Mia tells us, ‘The 4-in-1 bucket that comes with the new tractor is going to help with compost and making our workload more efficient.’
The MF4708 sports intuitive, ergonomic controls for ease of use, making it the perfect workhorse for the farm’s volunteer operators.
The handover of the tractor marks the fourth unit that Massey Ferguson has supplied to CCF. The partnership is set to continue, with Massey Ferguson providing a new tractor to the farm every two to three years. This will ensure that CCF has the necessary equipment to continue its important work in providing educational experiences for kids and supporting the local community.
Learn more about the versatile MF 4700