It’s very wet in Colac
On Friday night I gave Lliam, my neighbour, a lift down from Melbourne to Fish Creek.
I drop him at his front door and as I turn to take my usual short cut across their hill top paddock, Em, Lliam’s wife calls out from the veranda that the field is pretty wet.
Em’s words are still ringing in my ears as a car-length off the driveway I feel myself sinking.
I try backing out, no luck. Try edging down hill but the wheels spin, digging themselves deeper and deeper. I’m fully bogged.
Em drives as Lliam and I heave and bounce the stricken vehicle back onto solid ground. “Told you it was wet”, Em says getting out.
“Yeah, thanks”, I mumble, sheepishly examining my mud-encased runners. It is really wet.
I can’t remember the last time the ground was this sodden and it got me wondering how Joe Sgro was going down in Colac.
Joe’s farm, Foothill Organics, is one of Victoria’s largest organic market gardens. Twice a week Joe drives a semi-trailer full of produce to the Melbourne Markets in Epping.
I know if it’s wet in Fish Creek it’ll be wetter at Joe Sgro’s.
Next day I call him, “G’day young fella,” he booms down the phone.
I relate my car bogging and ask Joe how wet his farm is.
“It’s fucking wet!” he yells with delight.
Joe says his dams are overflowing for the first time in five years
And though it’s too wet to plant the trays and trays of seedlings he has waiting to go in, the sodden soil will help control the pupating bugs and grasshoppers.
In a time when much of Australia is stuck in a grinding draught Joe acknowledges his geographical good fortune to be farming in one of the coldest, wettest places in Australia.
“All those years ago when the old man decided to come to Colac, I thought, what a dog of a place. Now, here’s me over the rain and I’m talking to farmers just near Ballarat who are desperate for it.”
Recently Joe had his farm on the market but he’s decided he’s going to stay on for a few more years.
With the continued growth in organics Joe is knocking back new customers, including supermarkets who, he says with total contempt, want to wrap his organic produce in plastic and styrofoam.
“All I’m doing is supplying my regulars. An old boss told me to supply the people who are your bread and butter and your business will stay strong.”
Ceres has been buying Joe’s produce for almost 20 years now – look out for Joe’s sebago & midnight pearl potatoes, bok choi, silverbeet, parsely, leeks, beetroot, turnips, swedes and so much more.
CERES Playspace Design Launch
CERES is delighted to invite you to celebrate the final design of the CERES new “Terra Wonder” recycled junk playspace which will present a clod of earth scaled up 500 times – where tiny soil building creatures are taller than the size of us, and a wood-crushing millipede is the size of a bus!!
CERES IS CREATING AN EPIC NEW ADVENTURE PLAYGROUND to help create discussion around the most epic ecosystem on our planet, Earth!
Earth, soil, dirt, mud – that brown crumbly stuff located below your feet supports most life on earth, but we barely give it a second thought. A single handful of soil can contain up to 50 billion microbes – considerably more life than there are humans on earth, yet we know almost nothing about the vast number of these microscopic bacteria, nematodes, insects and fungi.
There has been great support and response in the development of the concept – including school kids, community surveys, a volunteer steering committee, CERES staff and volunteer input.
Come and join us at CERES Red Train (existing playground) for morning tea and hear from the designers and sculptors– the story so far, the design, about the massive robot arms and other industrial junk they’ve been collecting to make this project happen.
This is an exciting time and unique opportunity to share with you our journey up to now!
Please register to the event and send RSVP here through this link
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