When most of us think of a farm, we tend to conjure up thoughts of a rambling homestead in the middle of nowhere, cows, sheep, chooks, tractors and endless paddocks growing something that will probably end up on our plates.
There is no disputing that this description is true, but like the old saying, oils ain’t oils, so too can be said for farms and there is a stand-out example of that reality.
Located at Ewingsdale approximately 8 km west of Byron Bay is a unique property known literally and simply as the The Farm, but this is not your run of the mill farm, rather, a place where founding and current owners, Bob and Emma Lane, run a 80 acre operation guided by the motto that underpins their philosophy of Grow, Feed, Educate and Give Back.
Bob and Emma’s inspiration for converting a former diary farm into a thriving working property for the people and community, began back in 2013 when watching their three year old daughter revelling in the joy of eating what she had helped to grow in their backyard veggie patch and wanting other children to share in that very happy experience as well.
As Bob once said, “it takes a family to raise a child and The Farm is the same philosophy.”
As a multi-faceted operation, The Farm houses a collection of seasoned micro businesses including growers, producers, eateries and educators, all of whom share the same goal of growing food using traditional, sustainable methods that support the environment and contribute to a healthy lifestyle.
Before embarking on what is considered to be one of the most ambitious food projects in the Northern Rivers’ area, Bob and Emma consulted with similar establishments in Europe and the United States to help ensure their dream could be successfully realised.
What seems obvious from an observer’s point of view, is that as the Lane’s intended, their values behind the property’s management are maintained and lived out each day in practice.
These values of authenticity, innovation, collaboration, creativity, growth and inspirational role model, govern every aspect of the business from what is grown, to the people employed and the customers that are served.
The aim of The Farm is to be self-sustaining by using, where possible, what is grown and bred on the land in the eateries and the retail food stores, as well as providing fresh seasonal produce to the local community. If there is a shortfall for onsite needs, the products are sourced from nearby local farmers and suppliers.
Along with the raising of speciality pigs, cattle and chickens, you will also find fields of flowers and lush greens and vegetables, all grown without the use of any sprays or chemicals and most, organically.
When you take a journey to The Farm, you will be treated to a plethora of varied and enjoyable experiences that cater to the tastes and ages of people across the spectrum and here’s a list of what you will find:
– Three Blue Ducks Restaurant and Cafe;
– The Bread Social Bakery;
– The Produce Store;
– Growers Collective Market Gardens;
– Baylato Gelato;
– The Garden Shed Nursery;
– Wormticklers Nursery;
– Farm Kids Activities;
– Workshops-Adult Farming;
– Farm Tours:– Zephyr Horses Horseback;– Icon of The Farm;– Private Farm;
– The Beach House Private Venue Hire-Off Site
As you will recall, one of The Farm’s mottos is to Give Back and two exemplary examples of that is their established partnerships with the independent philanthropic organisation known as the Northern Rivers Community Foundation (NRCF), and the local social enterprise, Liberation Larder.
The Farm’s Wishing Well project, where 100 percent of the proceeds are given to NRCF, was launched in 2016 with an initial donation of $5,000.
It is hoped that with over 500,000 visitors to The Farm each year, contributions to the Wishing Well will make a difference in supporting charities throughout the local community.
Forging a relationship with Liberation Larder started out with donating a quarter of an acre vegetable plot as part of the Market Garden precinct for the purpose of growing vegetables. Since then, the initiative has expanded into a enterprise with a number of local organisations jumping on board, namely, The S.H.I.F.T Project Inc, who now man the plot and the Byron Bay Herb Nursery who donate the seedlings and assist with the harvesting.
Working collectively with these three companies sees another opportunity for The Farm to help fulfill its motto of Grow, Feed, Educate and Give Back to the benefit of the local community and in the process, encourage volunteers to lend a hand.
To add credibility to The Farm’s modus operandi and underpinning values, the business has received accreditation from B-Corp, a growing global group of likeminded companies that genuinely consider the values of communities and the environment when making decisions.
Some of The Farm’s actions which contribute to its certification include:
– Water conservation;
– Chemical free weed management and organic methods of farming;
– Paddock to plate philosophy and systems;
– Supporting local businesses;
– Giving back to the community;
– Donating to local schools and communities in need.
While wandering around the breathtakingly beautiful grounds, why not enjoy a picnic hamper made up of fresh local produce inside a take home Hessian bag as a keepsake or, indulgence in a sumptuous morning tea.
What you also might spot on your stroll, is the The Farm’s beloved mascots in Braveheart, one of the Scottish Highlanders Herd, Silence the Sheep and the noisy one with loads of personality, Bobby the Rooster.
A visit to The Farm is such a worthwhile treat and an
eye-opener and no more so, than for children, some of whom have no idea what a parsnip is or, think beetroot only comes from a can bought at the supermarket, so plan your trip ahead, by clicking on thefarm.com.au.