CMA small landowners program a success

Small Blocks Big Dreams workshop. (Supplied)

More than 150 small landowners across the Corangamite region will receive grants of up to $2000 to fund sustainable works on their properties following the conclusion of a educational and connective project.

The Small Blocks Big Dreams project, funded by the state government and delivered by Corangamite Catchment Management Authority (CMA) in partnership with local Landcare networks, provided six rounds of workshops and property tours from 2022 to 2024.

Tailored to lifestyle and bush block owners, small producers and horse and other livestock owners, the program focused on helping landowners better understand how to care for their properties and the environment.

Corangamite CMA Sustainable Agriculture facilitator Karen O’Keefe said the project was the first the organisation had developed for small landholders.

“With so many tree-changers moving to the area we wanted to empower small property owners to care for the biodiversity and health of their land and water, to teach them to farm more sustainably, think strategically, and develop tailored action plans for their properties,” she said.

“Even though a property might be small, it can still have a big impact – every little bit counts when it comes to caring for the biodiversity of our catchment.

“Small Blocks Big Dreams also aimed to create a community of catchment stewards, like-minded people who can mentor others and have access to a network of information and guidance from other landholders and Landcare facilitators in their local areas.”

Southern Otway Landcare Network’s Andrea de Kaue, one of the project’s facilitators, said Small Blocks Big Dreams had been excellent in bringing experts and the community together.

“I think the most important thing that the program has brought to people is actually bringing them together in a room or in a space to learn,” Ms de Kaue said.

“Sometimes you don’t know the questions to ask, and you don’t know the help you need.”

Ms O’Keefe said Corangamite CMA hoped to continue the program in the future.

“The feedback has been fantastic over the four years; people loved getting together, meeting local people with similar properties who are facing similar challenges on their land,” she said.

“There are heaps of small property owners out there that are still keen to learn about how to manage their land.”