Sharing our research on small-farm viability

The viability and challenges of small-scale farming

We’re sharing one of our final grant puzzle pieces this week, developed through our Innovate to Regenerate grant from WWF Australia.

Read on if you’d like to take a nerdy deep dive into the realities of small-farm viability for our past and present Co-op members!

Introducing our Small-Farm Viability Case Study report

Over the years, the Co-op has had lots of academic-type work produced that refers to us. Part of being an earlier experiment in land-sharing, alternative succession models & collaborative farming and being happy to talk about it!

As part of our grant project, we felt it was time to share some of the realities of how small-scale farming actually works (or doesn’t), on our own terms. This report was made by trusted friends of the Co-op, with words, stories and analysis from Co-op members and even the graphic design in-house thanks to Tess Sellar’s graphics skills!

This report is geared towards those engaged in working on food systems, and anyone thinking of starting out a small-farm enterprise. We also think it’s important to share for our wider community because we know whilst many of you might not be farmers yourselves, you really want to support strong local food systems and small-scale farmers & that’s part of why you’re still connected with us.

In particular, the report focuses on sharing how small-scale farming interfaces with our bigger economic systems & structures and how we might ensure that small farmers can have a livelihood farming, keeping our food systems fairer and better for country. 

Friends of HOFC & food system practitioners, Jess Drake and Meg Roberts, explored the viability of each small farm enterprise that’s part of the Co-op, including some past members. They delivered an analysis of financials, and holistically considered values, business intentions, livelihood and skills for each enterprise. The report shares how all of these dynamics interplay to create very different ‘ingredients’ for viability for individuals and enterprises. 

Let each story of HOFC enterprises serve as a lighthouse to any ships starting their journey — whether it’s land sharing, a small-farm business or a collaborative endeavour…”

Small-Farm Viability Report

The report makes some conclusions about what ingredients might be necessary to make more viable enterprises in a co-operative farming setting, which have influenced our approach to our prospectus & upcoming recruitment webinars (this Thursday 6th June 7-8 pm & for those more seriously interested in joining the Co-op, next Tuesday 11th June 7-8pm). We’ll be talking about parts of this report at our webinar on Thursday as well. 

We share this report with gratitude for each person who contributed their experience and story to the research. In particular, thanks to Tess Sellar who contributed her graphic design skills to the reports.


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