One of the simple joys of visiting the country is throwing a few coins into a roadside honesty box in exchange for produce.

Now a cul-de-sac in Lancefield is home to a new farm stall created with sustainability in mind.

Lancefield Edible Garden is the brainchild of Silk Lin and Ted Chang, a couple who traded academia (Ted has a PhD in Ecology and Silk has a Master of Microbiology) for regenerative farming.

Originally from Taiwan, they’ve settled in Lancefield where they run Closed Loop Farm, a business that supplies edible flowers and microgreens to top Melbourne eateries like Transformer, Top Paddock, Pure South and Kettle Black.

They’ve also established a multipurpose market garden designed for neighbours and locals to buy low-cost, organic veggies sourced straight from the paddock. Visitors can also stop by their cute farm stall out the front of their house to stock up on seeds, herbs, tea, seasonal produce, and dried flowers, all in sustainable packaging.

Like many of us, they’re driven to reduce waste, especially single-use plastics.

“When I first started growing herbs, I noticed that the hospitality and agriculture industries throw out a whole heap of plastic each day. I thought that there had to be a better way – there is and it’s not even that hard,” says Ted.

Collecting and reusing the plastic trays and soil is just one way that Closed Loop Farm reduces waste. When the couple sell seedlings at farmers’ markets, they use compostable, coconut fibre containers. They also ensure that surplus produce isn’t wasted.

“We donate vegetables we can’t use to Edgar’s Mission [a local not-for-profit farm sanctuary] – the goats love the silverbeet! We also give Lancefield Neighbourhood House vegetables for volunteers to make into meals for the community,” Silk says.

Ted first started growing veggies in a small plot at Montsalvat artists’ community in Eltham in 2016. In search of more space, the couple moved to a half-acre property in Lancefield two years ago. Now they’ve grown a thriving garden of spinach, kale, fennel, shallots, lettuce, herbs, and more, including garlic grown from bulbs supplied by the local postman.

Unsurprisingly, Silk and Ted love visiting plant nurseries throughout the region and exploring forests looking for mushrooms with their son, Wei. Silk notes that Lancefield locals are generous with sharing their knowledge and resources.

“The community is incredible. They’ve inspired us to do more in our own backyard. Now we’re using our backyard to connect with others,” says Silk.

Closed Loop Farm 09945 uai
Closed Loop Farm

About the author

Jo Stewart 2
Jo Stewart
Website | More Articles

Jo Stewart is a freelance writer and book author who lives in a 100-year-old workers’ cottage in Kyneton. Her work has been published in Monocle, International Traveller, The Age and The Saturday Paper. She is also the author of That’s So 90s, an illustrated book dedicated to the pop cultural wonders of the 1990s. When not writing feature articles about food, music, travel, culture and sustainability, Jo likes listening to live music, spending time in nature, drinking good wine and beer, and hunting for vintage treasures in op shops.