Twelve Years Ago…
We were living here on the farm, and I [Rachel] got approached by a local farmer to sign up for their organic vege-boxes. I had not long ago had a baby, and with his arrival I began to realize how much we needed to change how we were living if the Earth was going to survive.
At that point we didn’t even have recycling in Waipawa, so I would make sure that every time I went to Hastings I brought all our recycling with me. I was pretty determined to make as many changes – big and small – as I could, to be part of the solution to climate change.
So, when I got offered this vege box, delivered to my door, as a young mother, it was both convenient and in-line with my values. And that was the first time I really started thinking about what we were putting in our mouths, and how that needed to change to be more in balance with nature.
Twelve years later, and we are fulfilling a dream of offering our own food boxes – this time, with our delicious, responsibly raised meat and eggs. These boxes are significant to us in many ways – they are reviving a level of transparency between the customers and us – and with it a renewed sense of trust, they are cutting down on the excessive packaging needed to sell in more conventional models, and they are making it easy for people who want free-range meat that’s free from unnecessary chemicals and stress to support us. It is truly a reciprocal relationship, and we are committed to it.
The Lodge is another important part of this reciprocal relationship, of our farm, and of our philosophy of growing a community. People who come and use the Lodge, who ask me to cook farm-grown meals, and who chat with Greg in the paddock for hours, leave with a sense of belonging to our collective. This is something that we think needs to grow and grow and grow. When everyone is connected to the people who grow their food again, when farmers are farming in connection with the Earth’s natural boundaries, then we’ll be a much happier planet.
This philosophy of connection is why we think our Friends of the Farm are so important – that’s been something that Greg has been passionate about for so long – I’ll let him tell you why.
Gathering a Community
[Greg] We need to make changes to how we’re living – how we’re farming, how we’re consuming, how we’re interacting with each other and the planet. This farm – we’re using this farm to be a tool for change, and one of the things that I love about it is gathering people together for a common cause – to regenerate the planet.
What I want is to have people really buy into the farm – and their food production, to be part of it, to experience it, to fall in love with it. I want to give people the opportunity to come out here and spend the day with us, spend a week, learn about what we do and learn about the changes they can make.
I want to give people a sense that together, we can make a real difference. There’s so much positive stuff out there (there’s lots of negative stuff too, but) all the you tube videos of Joel Salatin, the Paris Climate Summit, the ways that we can change our farming methods, and people can change the way they eat, they will make an incredible difference.
I am constantly on the look out for ways to improve what we’re doing. That’s why we hold events like the Amazing Grazing Seminar, and why we are part of the RegenAg group. I want what we do here on the farm to be a model for other people, to be something people can look to for inspiration and practical tips. So every opportunity I have to gather people on our farm, in our paddocks, in the Eco Lodge, or in our Friends of the Farm collective, I take it – that’s the stuff that keeps me awake at night, brimming with possibility.