So, I am receiving requests from people who want to know how I got started in farming. For those of you that know me, you know that I am mostly an introverted person, preferring a small tribe of close beloveds – though, I’m not shy …I often describe myself as an extroverted introvert Becoming more visible, and sharing my ideas, stories and life, beyond my comfortability zone, is an edge of growth for me…so, thankyou to all that are reading my articles, you are supporting me on my journey, and I am very grateful for the opportunity.
I have been inspired by the work of Monica Gagliano this year, who is also an Australian Scientist working with plants, plant medicine and consciousness, to effect change, I was very excited to find another scientist on a path similar to mine.. reading her work, has given me the courage to share more of my own work.
If you have not read her book “Thus Spoke The Plants”, I HIGHLY recommend it.
I came to farming from being a healer, and facilitator in a number of different modalities, and before that a scientist. So, my work draws from my inter-disciplinary perspectives, from all the fields I’ve worked in.
I loved sharing my work in the areas of personal development, health, consciousness and belief clearing…however, in 2007, my marriage dissolved, and I found myself in the world with my children aged 5 and 2. It was clear that I did not have the energy for healing in these circumstances, and that I needed to take some time out from facilitation for my own personal healing.
I was guided to the shamanic path of plant and amphibian medicines, and began my initiation. At the same time, I was also incredibly fortunate to study Plant and Animal Communication with Anna Breytenbach, which opened many doors for me. If you have not heard of her work, I would encourage all of you to watch this documentary over the long weekend, which is now free on Youtube- The Animal Communicator.
As, I healed from my own personal stories and limiting-beliefs, and practised deep listening and plant communication, I became acutely aware of the state of the land, our Mother Earth, and the guidance from the plants. My desire to be of service, in re-creating balance and harmony on the land arose. When the Fukoshima disaster happened, it broke my heart…I fell into a deep state of eco-despair and anxiety for the future of my children, my friends and community. I sat with the plants, and asked them what I could do, how I could live, love and be at peace and find happiness, and effect change within all of this. The plants responded clearly that the way that I could really help was by growing food for my family and community, and sharing my message – farming is my ‘activism’, and way of being the change I wish to see. I am a solution-oriented person. It is my desire to create what I want to see, rather than directing my energy in tearing down what I do not want to see – hence one of my past articles on what I see as an issue with the Climate Change rallies.
(Major inspirations and teachers for me on this path: Ghandi, Paramahansa Yogananda, Vedana Shiva to name a few…).
I have always been a gardener, and had my first garden at a very young age, I built one, wherever I lived. So, I began to focus on growing as much of our fresh produce as I could in the gardens of my rental homes. I was very conscious of wanting to provide the best organic food for my children, yet it was out of my current budget to buy everything 100% organic, so this became a practical solution to this dilemma too. I was blessed at the time, to be living next door to two of my best friends, who also let me grow some veggies in their gardens, when I ran out of room in mine At this time I had been working in the world of hemp for a few years already, and then I transitioned into hemp farming. It was an enormous learning curve to go from a gardener, and permaculture enthusiast to a commercial grower. In fact it was so big, that it inspired me to write and teach my course – The Business Of Permaculture.
I worked promoting the benefits of introducing hemp into crop rotations for grain farmers, and trying to increase and educate about organic production in Australia. As I covered in a previous article about hemp, one of the challenges with growing hemp in Australia is that it is not native here, so commercial seed production is a key piece. This is how I came to the land that I have been farming on for the past 3 years. I approached my current landlords, to see if I could use 1/4 acre to trial some hemp seed varieties for the sub-tropics. They very generously allowed me to do just this. When the crop was harvested and finished, the landlord turned to me and asked if I would like to grow some veggies there…I ecstatically accepted the invitation, and Lifeforce Farm was born.
My passion, and enthusiasm in creating a local organic farm to demonstrate bio-intensive agriculture, in addressing some of the larger global issues, is what is most dear to my heart. At the beginning of this farming journey, I assumed that local business, local farmers markets and local consumers would love to support my farm as a priority…providing local, high quality organic, and affordable foods and flowers, offering a real solution to many of the myriad of environmental issues before us, as a population. If you have been following my blog for the past 3 years, you will know that this was not the situation I found. So, I began sharing my experiences as a farmer in the local food economy, and the issues effecting small scale organic growers, with my readers.
Through this past year, it has become clear to me that I need to change the way my business and farm operates, to create more sustainability and support for myself, and my children. So, I am now preparing to pivot again, and open to a new direction.
This also requires that I move farms, as my current site is not suitable for what I am dreaming up. (More about my new direction in an upcoming article..)
I have not yet decided on a new site for the farm…though a decision is imminent, as I need to move before December.. As you can imagine, moving farms is an enormous undertaking for me, so I need to be confident in my choice, and there are many moving variables to consider, and conversations to have.
So, for any of my wonderful farm-ily that have availability…I am gratefully receiving your support now, in assisting me to pack down the farm….in preparation to open to my next farming chapter. I’ll be having Farm Friday’s again from this week from 3pm, and throughout October and November – please message me if you would like to volunteer, thankyou!