FORUM: Rosewood Community Centre coordinator Donna Hanlon, People Power Services directors Seblework Tedesse and Mal McKenna and division 10 councillor for Ipswich David Pahlke chat after the community consultation meeting concerning the Okie Dokie Farm, which was held on Saturday at the Rosewood Uniting Church Hall.
FORUM: Rosewood Community Centre coordinator Donna Hanlon, People Power Services directors Seblework Tedesse and Mal McKenna and division 10 councillor for Ipswich David Pahlke chat after the community consultation meeting concerning the Okie Dokie Farm, which was held on Saturday at the Rosewood Uniting Church Hall. Lachlan McIvor

Rosewood farming project not all Okie Dokie

ROSEWOOD residents got a chance over the weekend to voice their concerns and learn more about the proposed farming collective that could be in place on the outskirts of town in six month's time.

A community consultation meeting was held on Saturday about the Okie Dokie Farm, a project run by People Power Services (PPS), which has been looking for a 40ha farm around Rosewood for the past two years.

Locals packed into the Rosewood Uniting Church Hall and made their concerns heard - ranging from a lack of viable farming land and water to sustain the project to issues with facilities and infrastructure for incoming workers.

PPS director Seblework Tedesse said the meeting was highly productive.

"People are still resistant and I think it's expected because whenever a new idea comes often people react this way," Mrs Tedesse said.

"The positive side I see it is they're engaged, they try to dig and know more which is really good, we want them to know exactly what we are up to see. I see it more as positive than negative."

"I think it's a learning platform for us."

With the project aimed at recruiting members of refugee and migrant communities, Rosewood was chosen due to its proximity to Ipswich and Brisbane.

Mrs Tedesse said Okie Dokie would give members of "emerging communities" a chance to utilise skills they weren't utilising in the cities, with many coming from farming backgrounds.

"It's a positive - people think it is taking away (opportunities) but I want people to know they are bringing their own skills," she said.

PPS director Mal McKenna said there was still plenty of work to be done before it got officially underway and he understood the hesitance from some members of the community.

He wanted to assure the community that the project is open to people of all walks of life.

"We're a long way off but we're getting there, I think if all goes well (a location should be confirmed in) six months," Mr McKenna said.

"I think they're going to love us sooner than later, they're going to say thank you for coming and we're going to say thank you to them for having us."


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