Common Ground Project

A community farm and cafe in Geelong run by the team behind Top Paddock and Higher Ground.
Marissa Ciampi
Published on July 24, 2019
Updated on August 04, 2020


UPDATE: AUGUST 4, 2020 — With metro Melbourne in stage four lockdowns and regional Vic in three, Common Ground Project has launched takeaway and delivery options catering to both the surrounding Geelong area and those in the inner city. It's selling biodynamic veggie boxed for $50 a pop, that you can either pick up (from various spots across Geelong and the city) or get delivered via Providoor. For more info, visit the Common Ground website.


A social enterprise cafe with a community farm has launched just outside of Melbourne's southwest sister city of Geelong — and it's run by some pretty major hospo vets.

It's all thanks to the Mulberry Group, the team behind beloved Melbourne cafes Top Paddock, Higher Ground and Kettle Black. With this new venture, the group is looking to promote more sustainable farming and hospitality practices — as well as serve up its usual standout cafe fare.

The kitchen is run by the group's chefs, Simon Pappas and Sandy Melgalvis, and it's open to the public for breakfast and lunch daily. All the food is made with farm-fresh produce — grown bio-dynamically on the property where possible and sourced locally from around Victoria otherwise. Expect 'wellness' bowls with farm greens, house sauerkraut and turmeric cashew cream and topped with roasted sweet potato, cauliflower rice, avocado and a poached egg ($19.5).

Other signatures dishes include poached pear hotcakes with vanilla bean custard ($20), breakfast gnocchi with local wild mushrooms ($22), and pulled pork and hash brown eggs benedict ($23), along with egg and bacon pizzas ($20). For drinks, there are coffees by Square One, beers by Prickly Moses and Blackman's and a few refreshing cocktails. Plus house made sodas with flavours like grapefruit, chilli and rosemary or lemon and bay leaf ($5).

Set on a four-acre farm in Freshwater Creek, the space is more than just a cafe, too, it also provides local chefs with a space to plant, harvest and collect organic produce for use in their venues. Memberships ($230 per week) include daily meditation, a day of harvesting and a group lunch. And each member gets a share of all produce grown, too.

All money raised at the farm and cafe goes to support regenerative farming practices, as well as improved access to mental health support for those in the hospo industry.

Images: Timothy Marriage


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