Farmers honour friend with heartfelt charity tribute
SCOTT Mackinnon was a man who felt at home helping communities of regenerative agriculture - and no one knew that better than Goomburra farmers Randal and Juanita Breen.
The pair, who run Echo Valley Farms, first met Scott through Food Connect, a Brisbane food distribution company.
Now they have developed a special way to make sure more people know a bit about their late friend.
When the couple moved to the Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) model two years ago, in which they ask customers to subscribe to a monthly food box and become a tangible part of the paddock to plate experience, Scott was one of their first active members.
"People like Scott make farms like ours successful," Mr Breen said.
"He contributed so much to the viability of our farm. He helped impart the message of what we did."
An avid reader and student of permaculture, Scott even helped create a plan to help the farm through drought.
"Scott was a gentle spoken kind a of guy, very thoughtful in the way he went about life," Mr Breen said.
"He was an explorer of all things, pretty quiet and kept to himself a lot."
The latter, Mr Breen said, was also impossible to acknowledge without reference to his lifelong battle with mental health.
One which, in April, Scott tragically lost.
Upon news of his passing, heartbroken tributes poured in from the Echo Valley community to the member who never missed a gathering.
"One mum told us that during one of our tree planting days, Scott took time out with her kids to teach them all about how to plant the tree correctly," Mr Breen said.
"That's just the kind of man he was.
"We wanted to remember Scott with something he did on a daily basis - which is reach out and help those in need," Mr Breen said.
The creation of 'Scott's Box' takes Scott's CSA membership and gives it to those in need.
With two boxes already sent out, one to a man who was jobless due to coronavirus, the Breens made also an extra special first delivery to Scott's family.
"What's really special from this whole process is that a relationship has built between us and Scot's family," Mr Breen said.
"We didn't know them before but through reaching out - they've since offered up a whole heap of books of Scott's around regenerative agriculture that they want us to keep as a library for members."
The farming family hoped 'Scott's Box' would be a chance for the community Scott loved dearly to put mental health into the spotlight.
"We need to talk about it and sharing it in a community, with that support, can address those issues," Mr Breen said.
"There's no magic bullet to curing depression, but the community is a critical element to battling it.
"It's an opportunity to take the message Scott left behind and carry it forward."
To nominate someone in need of 'Scott's Box' or to help the farm, head to www.echovalley.com.au.
If you or someone you love is in need of help, contact Lifeline on 13 11 14.