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We love this lady. Getting a box of her beautiful, fresh, spray-free produce was what started this whole business!
It’s been 3.5 years now since I called Farmer Kel and said “Your produce is so good, I think we need to go into business together”. Now, we’re feeding 300 local families every week, providing part-time jobs for 10 people and supporting about 20 small, organic and spray-free farms. Kel’s own farm (pictured here) has also doubled in size to meet the demand! It’s been amazing to watch the growth.
I recently asked her a few questions so I could share the answers with you.
WHERE IS YOUR FARM?
At Sandy Creek near Woodford.
WHAT DO YOU CURRENTLY GROW?
Garlic, ginger, turmeric, galangal, chillies, wide variety of herbs, lettuce, silverbeet, kale and other leafy greens, capsicum, dragonfruit, cucumbers. This list has expanded greatly since we partnered with Spray-Free Farmacy in 2015.
HOW DID YOU GET INTO FARMING?
We used to just sell potatoes and carrots from Tasmania at local markets. I was known as "The Potato Lady". Then my husband Ric and I met an organic farmer from Woodford who was retiring. He offered to teach us his methods so we bought a farm and he did! He helped us established a tiered system where we grow lots of leafy greens and herbs over 3 levels. It's incredibly efficient in terms of water usage, soil and space.
WHAT DO YOU ENJOY ABOUT FARMING?
Being my own boss, growing fresh food for our customers and being out in the open air.
WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO FARM WITHOUT SYNTHETIC PESTICIDES, HERBICIDES AND FUNGICIDES?
Because we knew it was better for health, the environment and our customers. The organic farmer who helped us set up our farm showed us how easy it was to farm without chemicals. It's the way of the future.
WHAT CHALLENGES DO YOU FACE AS A RESULT OF THIS DECISION AND WHAT NATURAL METHODS DO YOU USE TO OVERCOME THEM?
We have very few problems because we don’t have people growing around us so they're aren't a huge number of pests in the area. My brother Luke lives on the farm and monitors everything closely. He gets rid of bugs and pests before they become a big problem. He just sprays them with water or gets out there with a racquet!
In the beginning we had big problems with wild deer and wallabies. During times of drought they looked at our place as a lush salad bowl. We had to build a three metre high fence right around the farm. Now it's not a problem.
We also inter-plant different species together so bugs aren't attracted to the one area, we use campanion planting and rotate crops so as not to deplete the soil of any particular nutrient. We plant marigolds at the end of each row of crops as their scent helps deter insects.
WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE MEAL?
Fresh salad made with the beautiful produce from our farm.
We've added a Meet the Farmers section to our website so you can get to know more of our farmers. We'll be adding more stories over the coming months.