Flooding Aftermath, Farmer Burnout Force Closure of Neighbourhood Farm

Neighbourhood Farm
Photo credit: Neighbourhood Farm/Facebook

Neighbourhood Farm, a treasured community farm and shop on Cliveden Avenue in Sherwood, has regretfully announced its closure after grappling with the aftermath of severe flooding, a difficult spring, and ‘farmer burnout.’

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Once a sprawling urban oasis brimming with lush produce and buzzing community energy, the farm sustained massive damage during the devastating floods that swept through in 2022. 

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Since the swirling flood waters subsided, founder Matt Bakker and an army of dedicated volunteers have worked tirelessly to bring life back to the battered farmland. However, daunting financial struggles coupled with a painfully parched spring season have made it an uphill battle for the farm to sustain itself.

Photo credit: Neighbourhood Farm/Facebook

“This may be the last year we operate as the farm has taken a toll (floods & drought etc) and it has become difficult to continue under the current circumstances. We are taking the next few months to rest and consider if there is a feasible future for the farm,” said Mr Bakker in a Facebook post.

2022 flood (Photo credit: Neighbourhood Farm/Facebook)

“Farming is difficult, it takes a lot of time, knowledge, resources and experience to run one successfully and although we have had many successes at the farm over the last 8 years, the reality of running this business has caught up to us and despite such wonderful loyal customers we barely break even.”

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Its doors will officially close on November 24 after a final shop day for the community. One last hurrah event dubbed “Past, Present and Future of Neighbourhood Farm” will take place on December 2.

Founder Matt Bakker (Photo credit: Neighbourhood Farm/Facebook)

Mr Bakker invites the community to a celebration of the farm’s past and an exploration of its future at an upcoming event. The occasion will feature a shared lunch and discussions focused on:

  • The Past – Capturing what the farm has meant to the community over the last 8 years.
  • The Present – Examining the current situation and needs to continue operations.
  • The Future – Discovering together potential paths forward for Neighbourhood Farm.

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The event marks an opportunity to collectively honour the legacy, connect in the present moment, and envision how the community can come together to sustain the farm into the future.

Whilst the future remains uncertain, Neighbourhood Farm has not entirely ruled out reopening the farm someday down the line if circumstances allow. For now, their bittersweet final bash will celebrate the indelible impact the farm has had on the community over the years.

Published 20-November-2023