In an attempt to restore old orchards that have been abandoned in Bilpin and reinvigorate agriculture in our peri urban areas Harvest Farms has taken on the restoration an apple orchard and a nut farm in the area.
To make the farms work economically the focus has been on moving to: direct to consumer, value adding and diversifying the old farms. We have set up a market garden in the orchard with over 22 lines of different vegetables picking year round and supplying local restaurants and cafes. Our core focus is a (CSA) Community Supported Agriculture member system that provides boxes of produce to families on a weekly basis.
To value add products we make stone ground nut flower for breads and pastas, we are working with a local winery to develop a unique Normandie apple cider and we smoke garlic. Amongst other pickling, preserving and fermenting we use these products in our on farm five coarse dinners and sell them at a farmers markets.
To help with weed management and improve nutrient cycling we have established a mini milking goat heard and small scale pastured poultry operation for eggs and meat.
The farms have been set up didactically with access areas and demonstration plots for explanation. An education room and kitchen to provide lunches for up to 50 ppl has been built on farm to provide farm to table meals with the tour.
We know people who have worked hard to get the paddock to plate concept into the syllabus and believe that our food system strongly shapes our culture and health. We hope to contribute as much as possible to the subject though a diverse and inspiring farm. We are also aware that as stewards of the lager part of the world farmers have a responsibility to have an ethical interaction with the environment. We hope that the steps we have taken to do this will create a good setting for your teaching.
Bellow are some of the programs we are developing to work in with schools please contact us for more information.
Paddock to plate (for years 8&9) is now part of food tec. The students need to pick an ingredient and track it from where it’s grown. They look at the environmental and social implications of production then make a dish with it as a final project.
Land stewardship (11&12). As part of environmental science students will look at how industry and landowners affect the environment. Here we will look at the goats to control weeds and improve soil quality. Hoping to link this to a possible alternative to hazard reduction burning.
Careers platform (7 through 12) here we discuss some of the barriers to getting into food production. We will talk to the ex farmers leasing me land for free and the importance of accessing their knowledge. How the CSA is the backbone of my business and how it started with relatively no cost.
How Did This Get Into My Lunchbox? (K through 6) A government initiative to link education to healthy eating. Kids come to the farm to see how things grow.
Water Management (11 &12) here we look at using compost and management techniques to improve water holding capacity of soil. The effects synthetic fertilizers and chemicals have on our water catchments.