Well it’s been a long time since I have sent out an email!
WHAT HAVE WE BEEN UP TO?
In November of last year, we received our Certified Organic status :))
So, we now have 1.5 acres of certified organic production in Mullumbimby…..yippppeeeeee!
The Spring and Summer season were HOT and DRY….so amazed at the resilience of the plants and the garden, thriving heatwave after heatwave, drought…then a flood, followed 2 weeks later by a cyclone!!! Very intense climatic conditions to deal with in our first year of commercial farming.
By February it was getting challenging to establish seedlings….so we had to slow down production whilst waiting for the wet season. Our gardens are irrigated through drip and mulched with hay or weedmat…to help the plants during the heat, we use poly low tunnels covered with shade cloth for all the greens.
This Autumn we are finishing building the permanent raised beds after our expansion last year…and are busy filling them up with plants 🙂
We have also begun taking our produce to Farmers Markets…unfortunately we are told there are no available spaces in any of the farmers markets in Byron Shire for our produce, so in order to sell direct to customers we need to take our organic produce out of the Shire to sell it :(((
I have been quite shocked by this, as I am from Europe…markets are run very differently there…if you are a local farmer, you are ALWAYS welcome to sell your produce at the local markets….commonly recognised as a way to encourage local small scale organic local agriculture and diversity in a region.
Many farmers markets in Australia seem to run anti-competitive policies, which I know there is a law against, (Darwin Farmers Markets have been taken to court over it, and lost), to ensure that local farmers can sell to local customers….though it seems to be disregarded by many farmers markets throughout Australia…? Yamba Farmers Markets are an example of an ethical market who support local farmers and customers, and and do not allowing re-sellers into the markets.
Whilst farmers market management defend their positions and anti-competitive policies saying they are protecting the approved stall holders, by controlling how many of each kind of seller will be allowed at each. What can happen in these cases, is that no competition at farmers markets = not much choice, higher prices, and lower quality produce, and resellers :(( …they become gourmet foodie markets, where people meet to have breakfast, rather than the place that the tribe shops!
This has been our biggest frustration….being unable to fulfilll the mission of providing organic local produce to the community in which we live….
However, things are changing for us, Mullumbimby IGA, have now begun stocking our produce, so we would like to thank them for supporting us as a local farm…they are now stocking our salad mix, rocket, asian greens…and more :))
Along with having a local outlet we have also been thinking again of offering boxes, so that we can provide more produce to the community in which we live. We stopped offering a home delivery box service in Byron Shire last year, as the way we were running it required too much work for the return for our business, and our gardens were not large enough to sustain production for farmers markets, boxes, and wholesale.
However, we now have a much larger garden, and local customers who would still love to purchase our produce…So, we are feeling in to offering this service again in Byron Shire in a new way, and would love to hear from you, if it would be something you are interested in!
We are thinking we will offer 2 sizes of seasonal local produce boxes for home delivery or collection. Ordering and payment through our website, www.lifeforcefoods.org.au, which offers a credit card subscription, for ease of admin and convenience for you and us 🙂
You will receive an organic box of seasonal produce grown by us, and other local organic farms in Byron Shire, and sent a text and email each week detailing the produce expected in the upcoming weeks box…. the website will also be updated with this information.
We are seeking expressions of interest NOW…please drop your details in the application form below if you are interested…and we will work at getting a fresh, locally grown box of seasonal produce to you ASAP!
This is a REAL way to Be The Change You Want To See in the world, by supporting us small scale organic farmers in your local community