Welcome to The Dirt Newsletter for Autumn 2021!
Message from the General Manager
After an opportunity to relax and reflect on the year of 2020, I am so excited to move forward and welcome what 2021 has to offer. I have personally witnessed a shift in people's perception of food; local food, food security and seasonality. I have noticed conversations being had about whether to find local farmers, how to access locally grown, not buying food that is imported in the offseason, as well as growing their own food and composting. I love it!
What does this mean for small-scale producers in Tasmania? Well, I believe that this shift, this focus, this interest in all things local and Tasmanian will bring about an increase in demand for local, seasonal Tassie produce.
Sprout has experienced State Government support in a way that hasn't been seen previously. We applied for funding for three projects that we knew would support and empower the small scale farming sector in this state in these 'post COVID-19' times and two of them were successful! We are thrilled with the reception our projects have received from the Department of Primary Industries, Parks, Water and Environment, as well as the wider community. One of our projects is the state-wide survey of the small scale farming sector, to gather data on their collective contribution, their impact on the economy, as well as their challenges. We cannot wait to see the data from this survey and watch this space in the coming weeks when we will share the findings with you all.
Sprout turns 10 this year!
What an amazing opportunity to celebrate as well as reflect on the last 10 years! We will provide details in due course about a winter celebration event that we would love to see as many of the past and present Sprout family members, board members and producers attend.
Given we are 10 years old, we will also be sharing with you the outcomes of our Strategic review of the organisation. We want to remain relevant to you - the producer. We welcome any contact with ideas, feedback and thoughts, so please, keep in touch with us as a member and remain connected to your fellow producers too.
What are your values?
During our Sprout Producer Program Induction day in Oatlands in February, Jen Murnaghan from Digital Dandy, took us through a process of thinking about our own personal values, and how to then flow from these values through all the aspect of business story telling, communications and more. Of course I jumped at the chance to join in on this workshop too, as I love being given the time and permission to reflect on myself and do some inner work.
You can see below my top 9, which I am sharing with you. These are my personal values, so I am being a bit vulnerable in this space, but as Polly McGee tells me, the best growth can only come from a starting point of vulnerability. So here I am.
- Quality of work
- Efficient work habits
- Openness - receptive to new ideas
- Vision, seeing the big picture, anticipating the future
- Honesty & integrity
- Rewarding supportive relationships
- Understanding, helping and serving others
- Courage, risk taking
- Social concerns - caring about future generations, pursuing the common good, avoiding harm.
Looking at myself, and having the opportunity to think about WHY I do what I do, and what values ring true for me, was so beneficial. It gave me a renewed sense of direction and purpose. Some of these values I know I need to work harder to follow than others, especially the 'big picture' one as I am naturally a detail focused person and as such big picture can sometimes overwhelm me, but looking at the big picture can really give you a sense of where you are heading and forces you to rise above the 'daily grind' to see where you are at.
I would encourage you too, to take the time to look inwards, think about what your values are and use these as your guiding principles for all that you strive to achieve personally and professionally. Thanks Jen M, for a great session.
Enjoy the changing colours of Autumn!
PS. Here are a few photos, to share a bit of me.
Values workshop Hazards beach bushwalking Mtn Biking in Derby
Sprout Producer News
- The Big Food Workshop Series
- Tas Ag Co's Wagyu Beef Launch
- Tas Tea Farm Tour
- Urban Agriculture Forum
A reminder that our Small-scale Producer Survey is now live and open until midnight, Tuesday 23 March 2021.
The survey will build a picture of the numbers and types of small-scale producers across Tasmania, some of their current challenges and their overall contribution to the Tasmanian economy.
We encourage everyone in the industry to participate and share the survey details with other small scale producers that you know - we are aiming to gather an accurate representation of the sector - and your assistance is invaluable.
What a great day at Oatlands for our Induction of our 2021 Sprout Producer Program cohort! The group were welcomed by members of our board and some of our current and past Sprout Producers too. It was a fabulous day of sharing experiences and getting to know one another. We are looking forward to getting started and getting out to each participants farm to see first hand what they do, why they love it and what they really want to gain from our program this year.
Old and New - our past SPP'ers, board members, and the new 2021 cohort
Sprout Producer News
The inaugural Boer Goat Show was held in Deloraine on Sunday 21st February 2021. Chris, from Beaupre Farm, and her beautiful Boer Goats walked away with a handful of awards including 1st and 2nd in their class for two does, and one was awarded reserve champion junior Boer Doe. Along with these awards, their star buck Tsar won Champion Intermediate Boer Buck. Congratulations Chris!
We are very excited to introduce you to the new SPP cohort for 2021 - a fresh, enthusiastic group coming from backgrounds outside of the farming sector, this group is full of passion about building their farms, learning and collaborating, and working towards their "farm dream life" - welcome to the 2021 Sprout Producer Program!
Libby describes herself as a "jack of all trades, but a mater of none"! She has a worked in all areas including as a graphic designer, florist, vet nurse, travel consultant, Product Manager and Product Director; has been involved in start-ups and has Bachelor of Design and Masters of International Business! She moved to Tassie 8 years ago and found her piece of paradise in South Arm about 6 years ago and has been growing on a small-scale ever since, selling her excess produce at local markets and community stalls. She is in the process of setting up a 1acre parcel of land to fulfill her farming dream, and is excited to become a part of the Sprout Family and learn from a community that shares her values - "sustainable and local food production grown in an ethical and environmentally friendly manner".
Her drive and passion around her farm set up is to change the value of farming in the consumers mind; to see value for good quality, locally produced foods that are good for you and your community. Libby's range of seasonal vegetables include beans, potatoes, carrots, corn, tomatoes, beetroot and more!
Meet Libby and her farming side kick Loki (who loves being a farm pup and doesn't mind snacking on a fresh zuchinni or two!)
At its heart, Old Beach Berries is a local farm where the pace of life is found somewhere between the ripening of the berries and the winter chill. Caught between eight hundred olive trees and six hundred cherries stand four thousand blueberry bushes on 6.1 hectares of land, looking over the mountain. Cathryn and David's goal is to keep the frogs, grow flavoursome berries, and open their farm door to all - no matter how smart you are or if your legs are wheels. They are proud to be walking lightly on their little plot. As they believe it is not theirs to own. They want you to come and say hello.
Profound, humble, passionate, and a little camera shy...we think their farming counterparts say it best:
"We, the undersigned, can vouch for our humans, Cathryn and David. They are good for a pat, a scratch and a biscuit or blueberry. They don’t eat meat and aren’t too keen on spraying their berry bushes. They seem to spend as much time talking to people who come to the farm as they do patting us. If you’re after a chat and some berries or eggs, you might as well come along to our farm."
This stunning Leucadendron is just one of the many grown by Anita & Nick at August Flower Farm. They currently have a range of stunning Leucadendron and Protea varieties, and their long term plan is to grow a range of local, seasonal flowers to sell to the community and flower market along with market garden vegetables too!
They have a strong desire to see the community supporting local - both local produce and flowers. They wish to farm with low impact, organic principles and work with their community to share resources and minimize impact. And this is where their dreams begin - they have joined the Sprout cohort in 2021 with a strong vision for their farm and a passion and drive to work hard and succeed.
Like many of our cohort this year, they too, are camera-shy, but we hope to share some images from their farm (and their lovely faces) in the coming months!
Rosella Roost became reality after Anthony and Paula took a leap of faith to pursue work that spoke to their hearts. They decided to try their hand at farming high quality nutrient rich food, even though neither had any land farming background! This combined all their passions: great food, animals and nature.
They bought a small, neglected acreage where they could raise a family, create a living that sustained them while also leaving the world better than they found it. So Rosella Roost was born, aiming to supply excellent quality eggs and poultry products while showcasing how small scale farms
can be part of the solution to revitalize communities and the health of the environment and its people.
The farm is managed under holistic and regenerative principles, free from synthetic inputs and focused on best practices for animal welfare and soil health.
Follow Anthony & Paula during their SPP year and find out where you buy their produce by following them on Instagram and Facebook. You can also listen to them on the Tasmanian Country Hour talking through their plans and dreams here.
This is Katt, and her chickens from Tamar Valley Pastured Eggs!
Tamar Valley Pastured Eggs was started in 2017 by three Queenslanders embarking on a tree change and respite from the heat. The farm is located 30 minutes from Launceston in Glengarry, part of the beautiful West Tamar region. Their philosophy is based on principles of sustainable farming, utilising stock rotation to regenerate pasture, minimising the need for harsh chemicals. This delivers quality products and ensures that the farm has a positive impact on the pasture.
Their hens roam freely and are rotated regularly which means the hens are always given access to pasture, which is better for the paddocks and the hens. Whilst a more labour intensive way of farming, the end result is high quality, delicious eggs and very happy hens!
Cate & Rupert are two passionate farmers running Karoolalla a small homestead farm (the name comes from the suburb Karoola, and the properties street name Lalla!) They are working on building up their farm slowly and sustainably and produce tubestock plants - the stunning sunflower crops are amazing! They breed pekin bantams and have a family of chickens who produce beautiful eggs.
They also keep busy farming a range of fruit and vegetables which are available at their farm gate including cherry tomatoes and cape gooseberries, sweetcorn, zucchini, pumpkin, cucumber, capsicum, chilli, green beans, onions, celery and garlic. Freshly picked when you drive up and toot your horn for service!
They love their animals, and have a passion for providing an environment for them to all roam freely, to forage and to live in a beautiful, happy environment. The quality of their products is testament to their hard work and passionate approach.
Chris is returning to the SPP program in 2021, after missing out on her time in the 2020 Cohort due to her "other calling" - she spent most of 2020 helping the World Health Organisation in the research and management of COVID19. We are delighted she is now back on the farm and ready to start her SPP experience in 2021!
Chris is new to both Tasmania and farming, focusing on establishing a small Boer goat stud in Southern Tasmania which aims to produce high quality commercial goat meat for local markets. As well as having some very cute, inquisitive and affectionate additions to the farm, her goats will be part of a broader weed eradication program which will use regenerative farming practices such as rotational grazing of mixed cover crops to restore the farm’s diverse and fragile ecosystems.
Fresh Field Grove will be hosting their Olive Pressing day in early June. The date is to be confirmed, but will likely be the first weekend in June - so pencil it in your diary and follow their facebook page to be the first to hear the confirmed date. Don't have your own olive tree? Fiona suggests keeping your eyes and ears out for locals in your community who might have an excess and be happy to share them with you!
The Tasmanian Food Cluster is hosting The Big Food Workshop Series - The City, The Garden, The Meal. The first of the series - The City, is running on 15 March 2021, at the Hobart Conference Centre, and will be an interactive workshop filled with discussion and collaboration, Q&A Sessions and a networking lunch. Grab your ticket to to hear key note speakers including Ronni Kahn, AO, OzHarvest, Leah Galvin, Bill Harvey, Emily Briffa, and Sandra Murray. Tickets are available now.
Sam & Stephanie from Tas Ag Co were excited, and extremely proud, to launch their regenerative wagyu beef for the first time in February 2021! Their mission: to produce truly carbon positive beef. And they are well on their way. Check out the video sharing their dream. Sam and Stephanie use a variety of non-conventional, regenerative farming practices on their farm near Deloraine, all aimed at building soil health and sequestering carbon dioxide. One of their unique methods involves their custom designed ‘salad bowl’ paddocks, where they plant up to 30 different species for cattle to eat. Their wagyu beef is currently available at Hill Street Grocer stores statewide, and will launch nationally very soon. Exciting times. Well done!
Tassie-T is a 30 year old tea farm in Allens Rivulet in the south of the state. They are hosting a Tea Farm Tour on 28 April 2021. An opportunity to learn about growing tea, explore the farm, taste the teas and access some tea at fantastic prices. Check out their Facebook page for all the details and secure your ticket.
The 3rd National Urban Agriculture Forum (UAF) is on again in 2021! Hosted in Melbourne, this year the forum is also being hosted live online so you can jump on from home between the 22-24 April 2021 and explore the growing urban agriculture initiatives in Australia and the positive impacts it has on the community’s health and wellbeing. Further details and tickets are on sale now.