Thanisa Adams’ Practical Approach

Thanisa Adams’ passion for growing evolved while she was completing a Masters in Agriculture at Melbourne Uni.

Her theoretical major in sustainable food systems asked questions about food security and food sovereignty and how people could feed themselves and look after the world as they did it.

It got Thanisa thinking how she could make a change.

Her one hands-on subject – Food Production for Urban Landscapes at the Burnley Campus – was a start.

V.E.G. Permaculture Design Course and volunteer stints with Remi Durand at Remi’s Patch and Meg Stewart at CERES Propagation pushed things along a bit more.

In 2019 Thanisa’s response to the questions posed by her Masters was to do something practical.  She began looking for unused farmland.

“A friend of mine knew someone in Upper Plenty. I went to have a look and it was perfect; good soil and water and not far from where I lived. I got the soil and water tested and signed the lease.”

A young Asian woman farmer coming to the agricultural community of Upper Plenty, Thanisa found her peers were almost all older, white and male.

Thanisa says there was plenty of racism and sexism as she established herself on her farm.

Even the equipment and methods she was told she had to use were all very “old white man”.

Embracing the feminine, Thanisa employed a walk-behind tractor, a low-impact tiller that anyone can operate and adapted the man-sized hand tools to fit her smaller body. 

Treating the land with care also extended to her own mental health.

 “In winter when things stop growing it’s important take time to recover. The men don’t do this.”

Today Wattle Gully Produce is a thriving ¾ acre mixed cut flower and vegetable farm supplying farmers markets and CERES Fair Food.

“I’m still putting a lot back into the soil but there’s more than I can harvest at times.”  

Thanisa is part of a growing young farmers support network based in and around Melbourne.

There are regular work-swaps with Jemma Stefanou at Feed You Farm, the Farmer Incubator crew from Paul Miragliotta’s Day’s Walk Farm often visit and next week CERES’ Honey Lane farmer, Rachel Rubenstein, is coming up.

Right now there’s lots to do; chrysanthemums are going in for next Mother’s Day, irrigation needs to be ready for the hot week ahead and the last of her spring flowers need to be dried for off-season income.

Through spring and summer Thanisa’s growing straw flowers, statice, Queen Anne’s lace, cornflowers, Canterbury bells, sunflowers, zinias and lots of dahlias.

Keeping Thanisa company in her flower patch are a resident family of blue wrens who lend a hand keeping the bug population in balance.

When asked if she has a favourite place on Wattle Gully, she replies, “Wherever the dahlias and tomatoes are in summer and the poppies and carrots are in winter.”

You can find Thanisa’s flowers each week in our webstore here

Bouquets are limited and they’re available only for Thursday deliveries (set your cart to Thursday and they’ll magically appear in stock). 

Our apologies if you miss out – remember there’s always another harvest next week.

Ethical Enterprise Awards

We got pretty excited the other day.

CERES Fair Food was chosen as a finalist in Moral Fairground’s 2021 Ethical Enterprise Awards.

These national awards recognise and celebrate businesses and organisations achieving positive social and economic impacts through innovative and ethical trade practices.

We’re really proud to be sitting along side amazing enterprises from all over Australia like Feedback Organic, Humanitix, ColourSpace Gallery, Kua Coffee and Greenfox Studio.

The winner is announced during the Ethical Enterprise Conference on the 6th-7th of December

This nomination recognises what we have done together this past year – each grower, maker, worker and customer.

Have a great week



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