Permaculture in Action

Thursday, January 30, 2014

Around The Farm

2014 has been declared International Year of Family Farming and so to celebrate I would like to share snippets of our family farm. So once a week for the rest of the year you can join us here for a slow tour of the farm.
The 2014 International Year of Family Farming (IYFF) aims to raise the profile of family farming and smallholder farming by focusing world attention on its significant role in eradicating hunger and poverty, providing food security and nutrition, improving livelihoods, managing natural resources, protecting the environment, and achieving sustainable development, in particular in rural areas
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We are a little out of routine this week, due in part to the public holiday on Monday. That put our food boxes back one day, and what with some lovely visitors popping in at various times, I'm behind with my blog posts. And I have promised to share our well kept secret with you all. It's some thing that we've known about for some months now, but we were asked to keep it to ourselves until it became official. We were officially told just before Christmas, but I have been a little nervous about telling anyone, in case it put a jinx on it. It's all been a little unbelievable and dreamlike and if I shared it, it all might just go up in a puff. But it's time.

As you may or may not know, Mark and I run a small farm on the outskirts of a rural city. It's a family farm in the sense that Mark and I work all aspects of the farm on our own, with very occasional input from others, via internships, volunteers and , in the past WWOOFers. We specialize in sustainable agriculture through Permaculture and Bio Dynamic practices, using open pollinated seeds, collected here on the farm or purchased through specialist seed saving companies. We promote local and seasonal produce through our Community Supported Agriculture and open up the farm to the community as a model of peri urban agriculture.

Our farm is diverse. We carry a variety of livestock including ducks, geese, chickens, pigs, guinea pigs, a pony and house cow. We grow vegetable crops, nut trees, fruit trees, olives and grapes. Together all these aspects make up the farm organism. The interplay between each group is what makes our farm so productive, and allows for very little input from off farm sources. We build our soil using good organic practices with the added influence of BD preparations. Waste from the market garden is fed to livestock and their manures are fed back to the garden and pasture via the compost heap.The ducks and chickens form part of our pest management and we are rewarded with eggs. The chickens and pigs do what they like to do best and cultivate our soil. The guinea pigs mow between our garden beds and we use their manure in the compost. Weeds are used to make liquid fertilisers which are added to fish emulsion made from a local carp eradication programme.

Keeping all these inter related processes running smoothly requires a full time commitment by us, the farmers. Working so closely with the farm organism allows for a very strong relationship. It allows us to engage daily in a most positive way to the building up of this complex whole.

And so, having been aquainted with the workings of our farm over the past few years, through farm tours and various social gatherings, the local Slow Food's convivium has chosen us, as representative of the Family Farm ideal, to represent them at Terra Madre in Turin Italy this October.
We are lucky to have our flights and accommodation paid for the 5 days of the convergence. We are yet to decide on what extra travel and sightseeing we can make time for while we are there. If you have any suggestions they would be gratefully accepted.

I think I'm still slightly in shock. Such an unbelievable opportunity for which we are truly grateful.


  1. congratulations on being chosen as representative to Terra Madre...and...I do so enjoy your posts.

  2. Congratulations! So well deserved, and so exciting. I can't wait to hear all about it.

  3. Brilliant news!

    Congratulations, and... well deserved!

  4. Congratulations. Try and get over to England you won't be disappointed.

  5. Oh what a reward for all your hard work!! Congratulations, I can't think of two people who deserve it more!!

  6. Congrats Kate!!!! I'm sure you will have a fabulous time!
    Austria is not that far from Italy…… just north a bit!!!! You'd love it and if you have a look on the WOOF Austria site, there are many interesting folk there doing it just like you! Looking forward to hearing all about your trip when you return.

  7. That is awesome news, Kate - you guys work so very hard, and to see first hand what you both manage to do, pretty much on your own, leaves us with a sense of awe (and!) I can't think of any one else I know who would be more deserving.