Once upon a time we were all farmers – well most of us were. As the industrial revolution took hold more and more of us left the the land to become shopkeepers, doctors and digital insights analysts and we finally came to a today where hardly any of us are farmers or even have family on a farm.
Which has created a bit of a conundrum – because if you don’t have farmers in your family and you don’t know how to farm, how do you become a farmer? The answer seems to be – you don’t. Which has resulted in our farmers getting quite old – according to the ABS in 2011, the median age of farmers was 53 years, with almost a quarter of farmers aged 65 years or over.
And with many farmers up to their eyeballs in debt, the supermarket duopoly forever driving down farm gate prices, with climate change induced droughts and floods happening all over the place and just the sheer unrelenting hard work of it all – who would want to be a farmer these days anyway? Well, the answer surprisingly seems to be quite a lot of people actually, including many city folk. Enter the Day’s Walk Farm Farmer Incubator program
Earlier this year five young farmer incubatees were introduced to a few of bare rows at Joe’s Market Garden (that’s a couple of them up there). Over the past 6 months the F.I. crew have been learning what it takes to prepare ground, plant, maintain, harvest and market a garlic crop from start to finish. Farmer incubatee, Emma Doy, explains what they’ve been doing….
With no previous farming experience we’ve been learning the joys, intricacies and challenges farming brings. We’ve made connections with inspiring farmers and a supportive community, been discovering more about localised food systems, and perhaps most of all, we’ve grown an even deeper appreciation for all the farmers out there!! It’s not an easy gig, but so rewarding and so very important!
We’re growing 4 garlic varieties; White Crookneck, Tassie Purple, Red Rocombole, and Silverskin. The locals have been keenly watching our crop of about 1500 plants since we put the cloves in last April. Now the bulbs are bursting out of ground the little beauties are already in hot demand! We been pulling them to sell as green garlic, which is becoming popular in Australia — as it is in many other parts of the world. It’s a little less intense but sweeter than cured garlic and you use it wherever you use regular garlic, leek, or spring onions, and you can eat all of it, including the green bits!
You can meet the incubatees and buy their green garlic for the next few Saturday mornings 9.30-12.at Joe’s Market Garden Farm Gate – on the Merri Creek at the end of Edna Grove, Coburg. If there’s any left we might have some available for Fair Food customers.