Dapto’s fresh-food community
Once home to the largest flower nursery in the Southern Hemisphere, Mountain Range Farm is now open to over 120 members of the Illawarra community who grow fresh fruit and vegetables on the five hectare property. The site’s unique history paved the way for its transformation into a large-scale multi-enterprise farm purchased by Lance Carr almost four decades ago.
“The industrial scale of the farm – with rows of concrete beds and the underground watering system – you couldn’t build something like that today, it would be too expensive,” Lance explains. “Now it has the facilities and space to support multiple small businesses and local growers, who sell their produce at farmers’ markets or directly to restaurants and homes.
“When we first started, it was hard to get growers. But over time, people have become more aware of the benefits of fresh, organic food, and demand is growing. There’s a general recognition now of the importance of buying fresh, rather than relying on supermarkets and bigger chains.”
As well as the benefits of growing and sourcing locally, Lance also values the role Mountain Range Farms is playing for the local population. “It’s not just the growing that’s important – it’s that coming here and getting your hands dirty makes people feel good.”