Feedback Organic Recovery
David Sivyer came from a farming background and has recently returned to it (making him a fifth generation farmer). He produces a variety of fresh organic vegetables, including interesting varieties of heirlooms. David works across three farms at Maryville, Cardiff and Wallsend. David’s return to farming was spurred on by his other business, Feedback Organic Recovery, in which he takes food scraps from local restaurants and turns them into compost. It was a natural extension to use the compost he was generating to grow his own produce. Farming feeds David’s interest in improving sustainable lifestyles and creating a sustainable food system. David’s family farming history includes dairy cows and beef cattle and his sister is farming chickens for egg production.
Fosterton Biodynamic Farm (Dungog)
Simon and Loo live at Fosterton on a diverse farm which has Australian Demeter Biodynamic Certification. They run beef cattle, have an on-farm bakery selling a range of products including sourdough bread, sweet and savoury pastries. They also have a stone mill which is used each week to mill the flour for the bakery and to sell to order. The wheat is sourced from Australian farmers who are Demeter Certified Biodynamic primarily and also Organic Certified farmers. Their house orchard, vegetable garden, chickens and bees provide a range of seasonal produce which is used in the bakery items. Produce from the bakery and the farm is sold direct through the local farmers markets. Open days, field days and baking courses are offered through the year to provide an opportunity to pass on skills. Their aim is to produce high quality food that nourishes people (www.fostertonfarm.com.au).
Four Acre Farm (Marshdale)
Tom and Dominique grow garlic, flowers and annual vegetables at Four Acre Farm. They sell their produce at local markets. They have started to expand into a full-blown market garden and are planning on planting a food forest along with reinvigorating the land. Clean food is an important motivation for them. They are concerned about the environment and the impact we have upon it. No chemicals are used in growing and they aim to produce food they are proud of and which tastes good.
Just Been Laid (Allyn River)
After an international career in food security and agribusinesses, Sarah Sivyer left the corporate world to return to her farming roots as a 5th generation farmer. Sarah wanted to start something that would compliment the existing family beef business and, at the same time, wanted to really appeal to people who could remember what (real) eggs used to taste like. This led to the Just Been Laid brand under which Sarah produces eggs in mobile caravans on fresh pasture.
Sarah now brings to market eggs from chickens that are living a lifestyle that makes them happy, ensures their wellbeing and allows them to live in a natural environment while still being part of the food production system.
Little Hill Farm (Mount Vincent)
Kelly and Simon produce pasture-raised chickens at Little Hill Farm. They raise both meat birds and egg-production birds through sustainable, biodynamic practises. As part of their sustainability practises they have introduced Sommerlad Heritage Chickens – an Australian breed that fares better outdoors, are slower growing, have better foraging characteristics and, as a result, have more flavour.
Kelly and Simon started their farm out of a deep concern about what our children and a firm belief there are better ways to treat animals destined for human consumption than what we see in today’s industrialised farming practises. The farm is 83 acres of green rolling hills, large patches of regenerated fertile land where the chickens have been rotated, organic commercial garden plots, large mounds of composted soil (made on the property), quiet, non-industrialised pens for the chickens, and a fully self-sufficient farm (and farmhouse) that is off the grid.
Macquariedale Organic Wines
Sitting proud amongst the vineyards of the Lower Hunter is Macquariedale Organic Wines. Now a fully certified organic/biodynamic vineyard, owners Ross and Derice McDonald produce a range of white, red and sparkling wines from grapes grown biodynamically in their own vineyard. Their wines are bottled on the premises and every aspect of their grape growing and wine production process is aimed at ensuring a sustainable outcome for the land. Their efforts have resulted in a range of preservative-free wines that are flavoursome, natural and very clean on the palate. Their farming methods mean the wine is made in the vineyard, not in the winery. “We grow it, we make it, we bottle it, we drink it … and if there’s any left … we sell it” says Ross with a wry smile. Macquariedale also boasts a small olive grove which has started to bear beautiful fruit and adds both olives and olive oil to their product range. There are no enzymes used in their olive oil so the final product is completely natural. The olives and olive oil are sold under their “The Earth Matters” label. Also included in their range is raw honey harvested on the property.
Purple Pear Farm (Anambah)
Kate and Mark produce seasonal vegetables, fruit and eggs at Purple Pear Farm, their property at Anambah. They farm using Biodynamic and Permaculture principles and practices and provide CSA boxes to their customers. Much time is also spent educating the community through farm events for groups of all ages, courses and offering internships for interested young farmers. Farming is considered to be their lifestyle, not their business.
Shepherds Ground Initiative (Butterwick)
Marco and Lucie are members of the Shepherds Ground Initiative. Currently their market garden is in the early stages of production. A mixed variety of seasonal vegetables are grown and sold to directly to customers, to cafes and at the local produce stall in the Maitland Levee. They are increasing the scale of vegetable production and plan to expand to growing garlic and flowers. Ultimately the vision is to create a mixed biodynamic farm system together with other residents, where they are custodians of the land, not just using it for gain.
Telarah Public School
The Stephanie Alexander Kitchen Garden at Telarah Primary School produces a flourish of seasonal herbs and vegetables that are used largely at the school for their cooking program. Around 130 children working directly or indirectly with the garden. While the majority of produce is used by students in their cooking program, excess produce is harvested and sold fortnightly at Maitland’s Produce Market. Each fortnight, at least one student (and a staff member) attends the market to sell the produce. This encourages young students from the primary school to interact with locals, it engenders confidence in them and allows them to see and experience the financial aspect of agriculture (albeit on a small scale). Funds are then ploughed back into the garden, being used to purchase seedlings and seeds from garden stores. Organic principles are applied in the garden in accordance with the SAKPG guidelines. The school uses organic fertilisers, controls pests and diseases manually (after all, there are 130 students to help) and some control is done with the use of nets.
If you are a farmer working to supply produce that is organically, biodynamically or sustainably grown, please contact us (using the form on the Contact Us page). Drop us a short message and we will get back to you.