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The Toogoolawah Condensed Milk Factory Packing Shed has been converted into an Art Gallery and Workshop for the Somerset Regional Council. The condensed milk factory, which gave Toogoolawah its reason for being, was built just south of the town on the bank of Cressbrook Creek in c.1898.
In 1907, the newly established condensed milk factory was purchased by the Nestle and Anglo-Swiss Condensed Milk Company of Australasia Limited. By late 1929, the Great Depression had arrived and factories everywhere faced closure, Toogoolawah was no exception. Another function of the factory in its final stages was for the production of unsweetened concentrated milk for Peters Ice Cream Company. People could get work in the orange groves, in the packing sheds, or hauling the fruit around.
The exodus from dried up farms due to the Dust Bowl was the largest migration in American history within a short period of time. The two photographs below are part of a family that came for work in potatoes in Tulelake, Siskiyou County, California. One month prior, this family was living in South Dakota, but were forced to leave to find work. The Klamath Project was developed by the United States Bureau of Reclamation to supply farmers with irrigation water and farmland in the Klamath Basin. Amazon has added over 1,000,000 songs that you can listen to for Free  with a Prime Membership along with the other benefits of Free shipping and 40,000 movies and TV shows.
A cool vintage film of a day at the beach in San Francisco in 1903 and everyone is in suits and hats!
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We’re very excited to welcome our seasonal workers back this spring with exciting news… Koinonia Organic Farm at Gramercy Mansion in Stevenson, Maryland is expanding! As we spring forward with our growing organic farm operations, we thought we’d reflect and share some of the history (the roots, so to speak!) of Koinonia Farm.
Koinonia Farm is the oldest continually-operated organic farm in the state of Maryland, receiving its first organic certification from Pennsylvania as Maryland did not yet have an organic certification program in place. Look for the Koinonia Farm label at local Giant, Whole Foods and Mom’s Organic Markets. Enter your email address to subscribe to our blog and receive notifications of new posts by email.
The 1920s saw a great deal of change at the factory, including the construction of the Packing Shed in about 1920. The manufacture of unsweetened milk ceased at the factory from late 1930, the factory closed and the removal of equipment commenced. During freezing weather the orange growers protected their fruit from freezing by keeping the pots lit.
Farmers affected by the Dust Bowl traveled from the Plains states to California to find work.
They left their home in Turkey, Texas, November, 1938 to pick cotton in Arizona till March. In 1951, the 45-acre estate that is now Gramercy Mansion became a spiritual community center for Koinonia Foundation. With the arrival of the railway linking the town to Ipswich in 1904, the town expanded and was renamed Toogoolawah.
About 1927 a new engine room was built and the factory converted from steam to electric, with the power being generated on the premises. However the earlier agreement to supply power to the town continued until about 1936 when the contract was taken from Nestle and given to the Ipswich Electric Supply Company.


After electricity generation ceased, the building remained on caretaker basis until the 15th September 1951, when it was largely destroyed by fire. Students and other people worked all night during freezing weather to make sure the pots didn't run out of fuel.
When she retired, Donna found time to focus on her lifetime passion for historical writing.
To keep up with that demand, Anne has purchased a 28-acre farm with six greenhouses just a few miles from Gramercy Mansion in Baltimore County. We build and enhance the soil used at Koinonia naturally, protecting the environment and our resident wildlife by avoiding the use of toxic substances. By 1928, Nestle had entered into a ten year agreement to supply electricity to the Esk Shire Council for reticulation throughout the town of Toogoolawah. Today, the packing shed, along with railway siding infrastructure and other remnant building foundations and moveable elements scattered across the site are all that remains of the former Nestle & Anglo-Swiss Condensed Milk Factory. Pretty soon almost all the open ground in the valley was planted in oranges and other citrus. Clean up is now underway with anticipation to begin growing our current variety of organic culinary herbs at the new farm in the coming months. This number is more than the number of migrants to that area during the 1849 Gold Rush. The photographs below were taken by photographer Dorothy Lange in 1939 of migrants  before opening of Klamath Basin potato harvest. Raina Gover, sales executive for Koinonia Farm and Anne’s right-hand lady, is busy at work organizing the new operation.
Programs focused on retreat study and training to take literacy, agriculture, health and other practical skills into the undeveloped world.



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