Vollies, momo’s and a Permapixie

On Friday, on my way home from looking at a new warehouse for Fair Wood, I dropped into Joe’s Garden to check in with farmer, Em Connors.

Em’s busy so I sit myself down on a bench seat under the shade of the big mahogany gum and watch the action.

It’s a beautiful sunny day, a relief after Thursday’s 41C degree furnace, there are small busy groups dotted around the garden, heads down working intently.

The scene is so ridiculously wholesome and harmonious I almost laugh out loud.

Up the swing bridge-end of the garden four of Em’s regular volunteers are picking leaves for kale bunches.

In another corner a group of ten or so corporate volunteers from Telstra are spending their community volunteering day on the farm.

Freed from their CBD desks they really throw themselves at prepping the beds for summer tomatoes; red faces, dust flying, weeds falling, hoes thud.

Sitting over at a table near me is Ceres volunteer, Mark Adams, recently returned from a long break, he and his group are chatting while they clean and bunch spring onions for Saturday’s Farmgate market.

Meanwhile under the shed lean-to farm intern, Sofin, with three of her mates are furiously chopping and dicing among several big pots and an ornate sliver dumpling steamer.

I spy Taj, aka the Permapixie, at the bottom of the garden and wander down to  say hi.

It’s Taj’s birthday –  she’s here celebrating with her partner , her mum and a couple of friends.

Her birthday present is installing the first raised beds of a new community herb patch/teaching space that will bring life and activity to an untended end of the garden.

Em comes over and we go off to see the newly hooked-up Earthworker hotwater system funded by a recent bushdance – it’s an everyday appliance but a big thing for a farm used to cold water for the past 150 years.

We check in on Fin and her friends, they’re cooking momo’s. Fin ask’s if I’d like to stay for lunch – the day is getting better.

While I wait, I catch up on some email and am immediately offered a slice of double chocolate cheesecake Taj’s mum has made for Taj’s birthday…and better.

Later as we sit down to share Fin’s spicy momo’s, I ask Em if sometimes she can believe this is her job. 

A wistful smile betrays the dozens of cold and wet or hot and windy days when it’s just her and a harvest to get in and she laughs, “It’s not always quite like this.”

Help fire affected farmers

Carolyn at ORICoop has been organising help for organic farmers affected by the Queensland and NSW bushfires.

After a fire organic and biodynamic farmers face the extra hurdle of maintaining their organic status as they get back on their feet. 

For meat, eggs or dairy to be sold as organic farm herds or flocks need organic feed or pasture. 

If farmers don’t have organic inputs they can’t sell to their regular markets and the premium they would have received for their produce suddenly disappears.

To recover from the fires and retain their organic certification farmers need help with;

·        Certified organic fodder

·        Certified organic agistment

·        Transport to organic farmland until the fire danger passes

·        Funds to replace equipment, burnt fencing and sheds

If you have organic feed, agistment or would like to donate money or your time – check out ORICoop’s Bushfire Appeal page here

Have a great week



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