Our plan is to build a farm around rare and heritage breed animals and plants, being fully sustainable, ethical and having as many closed farming systems as possible. By achieving this we hope to live as green possible. This is all a tall ask when we are currently only working it weekends. We are planning to manage the property as a combination of small holdings or cells, each with its own unique function but feeding into a system. By the end, we should have about 220 acres of farm and 800 acres of conserved native grassland.
We are really big fans of the European style of community farming and the British Small Holder tradition. It would be really nice to see that type of thing happen here. At the moment we only have two neighbours, both traditional mixed farmers with about 10,000 acres each – we never see them. But smaller farms are starting to spread south from the ACT border. We also have a real interest in the Community Subscription Farming approach.
We love the idea of having enough room to be able to grow our own food and animals. In the next month or so we are having about two acres ploughed for a market garden style veggie patch, my wife grew some of the most amazing veggies in the small patch we hand dug last year. My wife is the real driver behind a lot of what we are doing. She is right into the Biodynamic and Organic farming approach - I just lift heavy things and dig big holes.
On the animal side of things - we have gone from three to seven to forty pigs in a year. We keep them free range, just out in a paddock. The pigs farrow in a stable on straw, there are no crates or stalls. Piglets must be one of the funniest baby animals to have around the farm – all personality, no fear and heaps of child-like character. Keeping them free range reduces the risk of odours and noise problems.
Apart from the pigs we also have goats, cattle and horses. I’ve milked one of the goats once and the cow has been milked a couple of times. I need to build a proper set of bails before we can do it regularly. We also have chooks, duck and turkeys to round out the menagerie.