A quick breakdown:
Client: Old Mill Road
Date: April 2012
Task: Film, Web
Kirsti and Fraser packed up from their Sydney lives in their early thirties to make a change for farm living. They run their operation Old Mill Road from the south coast of NSW by the quaint village of Turlinjah. Market gardening, chemical free based on the teachings of Eliot Coleman, Fraser has been known to refer to it as ‘beyond organic’.
With their current output levels the idea of chasing a title of ‘organic’ from the certification bodies seems a little pointless when demand on their produce far outweighs supply.
I spent six months working with Kirsti and Fraser on Old Mill Road as their intern, learning their ways of farming which promote healthier soils and produce. But this isn’t my story, it’s about Old Mill Road. Here’s my Q&A session with Frase.
I’ve never really bothered much about society and it being a conscious entity. I cant say that I have an opinion on where it was headed and where it might be heading now and if there’s any difference. I can however speculate on the issue of the freedom I have to eat what I choose to eat, the impact that commodity farming and food supply chains have upon the quality and freshness of that food, and the impact that very intensive agribusiness food systems has upon communities especially rural communities, the economy of those communities and the surrounding environment on which we all depend, being part of it not separate to it. I can see problems there and the best way I can think to do something about it is to grow and raise food in an ethical, environmentally conscience, financially sustainable way. If the “society” can see that we are succeeding and we are living a very enjoyable life then it, they, them whatever may choose to do the same or they may not. No sweat. I’m eating well.
Well, that’d depend on their experience. If they have none I would encourage them to take a year long break and go stay and work and pick brains on at least 4 different farms in their field of interest be it vegetables, chickens, ducks, beef, forestry systems, beekeeping, oysters, pigs- whatever. Large scale, small scale, ideally both. Work hard on these farms and build up a network of mentors and contacts. You’ll learn so much from other peoples experience and mistakes that it’ll set you up nicely for a good start. Other than that, know your market, sell direct, observe everything, enjoy your product..maybe even love your product, pay attention to having time off and be passionate.
I aim for it to be a closed loop farming system supporting at least 2 families, with strong soil fertility, strong bio-diversity and for it to be an enjoyable place to live, learn, laugh and love.
Don’t have an old life or a new one. Just this life. I’ve not made a “sea change”. I’ve always just done my thing, whatever I thought was the right thing to do for me and those close to me, this is all just part of the trip.