Meet the Farmers

Where does all this good food actually come from?

Very few people know where their food comes from these days (or even what's in their food). Since the introduction of major supermarket chains and industrial food production, our connection to the farmer and the land has largely been lost. Many of us have grown up believing that food comes in a packet from the supermarket with very little understanding of where it's come from, who grew it, how it was grown or the impact it's production and transportation has had on the planet.

But people are waking up! What can be more important than establishing a connection to what you put in your mouth 3 times a day? We are what we eat and what we eat, eats. How it's grown and what's been done to it matters - to our health, the health of our farmers and the health of our planet.

We choose farmers who grow food naturally, without synthetic pesticides, herbicides and fungicides. They use natural pest control methods and simple techniques to grow food that's better for us all.

We currently have a network of approximately 20 farmers we source from each week. Most are located in the Woodford/Wamuran and Lockyer Valley areas. Some are as far north as Bundaberg and when needed, we also source a small number of items from Victoria and Tasmania to ensure we have a year round supply of the staple items we know our customers love.

As we continue to grow we are adding new farmers all the time. We are so excited to be able to support these wonderful people who are growing food in a way that's better for us all. You can read more about some of them below.

FARMER KEL FROM SANDY CREEK GOURMET PRODUCE (Near Woodford)

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Kelly Strow from Sandy Creek Gourmet Produce is our number one farmer. Kel grows much of our produce organically on her farm near Woodford and collects everything else for us from the other farmers. 

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.

FARMER ASHLEY FROM MT COTTON ORGANIC FARM

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It doesn't get much more local than Mt Cotton! Located on Brisbane's bayside, this family farm has been around for many years and is popular with locals.

WHAT DO YOU CURRENTLY GROW?
Avocados, custard apples, some citrus including oranges, limes, mandarins.
Small crops including beans, cucumber, lettuce, kale, broccoli, celery, sweet corn, shallots, baby spinach, beetroot, pumpkins, strawberries 

HOW DID YOU GET INTO FARMING?
I grew up here on the family farm at Mount Cotton and when I finished school I started helping on the farm and continue to farm alongside my parents today.
 
WHAT DO YOU ENJOY ABOUT FARMING?
Watching something grow from seed to harvest and then being able to pick and enjoy the flavours.
 
WHY DID YOU DECIDE TO FARM WITHOUT SYNTHETIC PESTICIDES/ FUNGICIDES?
Due to family health issues and not wanting to expose myself or my family to chemicals.

WHAT CHALLENGES DO YOU FACE AS A RESULT OF THIS DECISION AND WHAT NATURAL METHODS DO YOU USE TO OVERCOME THEM?
Pests, disease and weed are always an issue that is labour intensive to control. 
Improving soil health has helped to have healthy plants and working with beneficial insects and animals/birds helps control pests. Weeding..... still chipping away at it.

WHAT’S YOUR FAVOURITE MEAL?
Roast lamb and veggies & a cherry cheesecake for a special occasion.