A big warm welcome to Erik Douglas as our newest farming collaborator and contributor to Future Feeders.
Great to have him on board as a co-farmer at the Future Feeders market garden, in developing our growing CSA model and in the continued evolution of the Future Feeders Movement.
As a new young farmer to the region Erik already comes with rich market gardening experience through his ventures at the Fresh As farm and now with his enterprises at The Farm Byron Bay.
Erik is also looking for the next place to put down roots and extend his farming opportunities.
View his profile on farmLinks
Tell us a bit about yourself
My partner and I migrated to the northern rivers in July last year, accidentally falling into farming as a means of providing both an income and accommodation. Both of which are in drastically short supply in the region.
What is it about Farming?
After ups, downs and round abouts and the hardest year of my life, there is still nothing I would rather do.
Why Future Feeders?
Partnering with Future Feeders is the next stage in collaborative and co-operative working, Agriculture of the people, by the people, for the people.
Farm Endorsement Ecological Development (FEED) is a Participatory Guarantee Systems (PGS), which as defined by IFOAM, is a "locally focused quality assurance systems.
They certify producers based on active participation of stakeholders and are built on a foundation of trust, social networks and knowledge exchange."
They represent an alternative to third party certification and are especially adapted to local markets and short supply chains. They can also complement third party certification with a private label that brings additional guarantees and transparency.
PGS enable the direct participation of producers, consumers and other stakeholders in:
the choice and definition of the standards
the development and implementation of certification procedures
the certification decisions
The primary motivations for seeing the development of an PGS in our local region are;
To reward local farmers who are making exceptional efforts in their ecological practice,
To deter the prevalence of generic claims and improve the integrity of ‘spray free’ / ‘chem free’ labeling which ensures additional consumer confidence and transparency,
To provide an exceptionally affordable option for farmer recognition,
To provide an alternative to Organic Certification for those cases where it proves unviable/unaffordable/unnecessary
To create a local collective and improve communications between local ‘Ecologically’ minded farmers, for knowledge and resource sharing.
First On-farm inspection - with Byron Bay Banana Man
Feed proudly introduced Craig - Byron Bay Banana Man as the inaugural applicant for endorsement by FEED's Ecological Guarantee.
Photos here are from our first on farm inspection and peer-review by fellow farmer Joel Orchard and consumer advocate Paul Crebar
Craig has successfully transformed a conventional banana farm into an ecological paradise in the high hills of Palmwoods near Main Arm, Mullumbimby.
Find Craig and his Bananas at the Byron Farmers Market on Thursday's. Support your local FEED farmers in their effort to protect our precious soils, waterways and ecosystems.
Excited to introduce our new Future Feeders and young farmers interns Ben and Liam.
Proper introductions coming soon!
We have outgrown our nursery so
Day 1 on the job involved giving it a fresh start.
What's old is new is old and is new again! recycled, upcycled, repurposed and renewed.
The original nursery had already been constructed out of used building materials, but with a few tweaks and repositioning we have significantly improved its design and capacity and made room for a stage 2 to be coming soon.
Salvaging everything and adding in some extra secondhand materials has given us great results and growing space.
Thanks for your help guys.
With nursery extensions needed you too can help.
Have you got an old hoop house, grow tunnel, greenhouse, shade cloth or other materials on your property?
We would love to hear from you.
Thanks to everyone who has supported our fledgling CSA program. Such a rewarding experience sharing produce with the smiling faces in our community.
Im glad some of the more interesting veg and herbs have provoked some questions and also some culinary exploration!
We have steered away from your standard peas and carrots for a number of reasons, although bound to grow these at some point :)
A lot of your standard European foods that we are so used to simply don't perform well in our Sub-Tropical humid, hot and wet summers. They require additional support, pest management and represent a significant risk to any farmer - but especially to us as we are only on the farm at most 2 days of the week to keep an eye on soil moisture, pests, disease etc.
While we will explore these standard varieties, we have tried to chose crops which are happier in our local climate in the hope they will require less inputs and time + its fun to try new things.
Its true most people are not too adventurous with their foods. This means your local farmers are battling with crops and varieties that are not so suited to our region. While it might be fine to grow zuccini and tomatoes in your home garden and suffer small losses after a wet season deluge - this represents a huge loss to a farmer depending on their crop for income.
And yet to meet consumer demands and make the farm financially viable - this is what is happening.
Either that or we are bringing produce from further afield where it is easier to grow.
So to be competitive in a local food market we are trying to supply different varieties and foods and hope that this exploration will educate consumers about what is seasonally specific and climatically appropriate to grow in the Northern Rivers.
There are so many bold, beautiful, tasty and sensational foods in the world. Why limit our cuisine to what we already know. Our regions rich farmlands have huge potential to develop as substantial crop-lands. Perhaps there is a great value to exploring culturally specific foods for a growing multicultural communities on the Gold Coast and Brisbane ? and feeding local mouths with exciting new flavors.
Veggie Curry - a produce box inspired recipe
Future Feeders Team