Mon. Jan 17th, 2022

A bitter dispute over garden plots at Collingwood Children’s Farm has reached the court.

Children’s Farm member Peter Cooper brought the case on behalf of himself and other members, claiming they were blocked from the farm’s annual general meeting, which was originally scheduled for this week and was to decide the future of the community gardens.

Collingwood Children's Farm municipal gardeners Anna Poulentzas, Vaslios Mihopoulos and Anna Krouskos.

Collingwood Children’s Farm municipal gardeners Anna Poulentzas, Vaslios Mihopoulos and Anna Krouskos.Credit:Jason Syd

Tensions have been high since communal garden owners were locked out in June due to safety concerns, including hoses, uneven ground and the risk of being impaled by star palettes.

The communal gardens, which have been used by locals for 42 years, have been closed since the lockout and are planned to be cleared by heavy machinery and rebuilt with new vegetable plots.

The orphanage’s members requested an urgent injunction before the Melbourne Magistrates Court on Tuesday on the grounds that the estate’s management failed to give adequate notice of the annual general meeting and canceled the membership of persons raising concerns.

In consent orders agreed in court, a mediation between the groups was scheduled for February next year, and the farm’s annual general meeting was postponed from this week to May next year.

Tim Handfield has had a garden plot on the farm for six years. He said the unique character of the farm should be protected.

“There is no place like it in the middle of a city [that is] a fantastic farm environment, and we have managed to escape all the development that is happening around, ”he said. “We do not really understand the depth of the management committee’s hostility towards people who are municipal gardeners.”

Sir. Handfield said it would have only required a few bees to solve the safety issues near the common garden plots, but he had a suspicion the nursery management wanted to get rid of municipal gardeners.

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