What's in a name?
There is a very special meaning behind the name of the farm. When we started growing the plots were spread over two locations in the Barossa Valley and Northern Adelaide regions in South Australia. Both sites lay in the Peramangk Lands, the Aboriginal first land guardians. The Peramangk people were renowned by other neighbouring Aboriginal mobs for their use of Ochres in their ceremonies and sacred traditions. Blue, White and Red Ochres were created from the land by the Peramangk. It was important to us to connect with these lands and understand their cultural significance and pay a tribute and recognition to the people who first grew, lived and built communities where we are farming. After some consultation with the Peramangk Council of S.A. we derived the name 'Red Ochre Farm' to signify our respect and thanks to the Elders and ancestors past and present in allowing us to farm here.
Our Organic Status
At this stage we are not registered with an Organic Certification Body. However, we do use organic practices and methods in our farming.
Many farmers grow ‘organically’ but do not carry certification; these growers go ‘beyond-organic’, caring for earth and people factors in a deeper way.
We use no sprays or chemical inputs. Our farm is managed with a variety of sustainable methods using principles of ecology and biological controls that replenish soils and are ethical, responsible & practical.
We do not have any machinery on the farm, everything is done by hand. We did initially till the soil with a push behind rotary hoe, and from there we cleared the soil of larger rocks and debris using rakes and our hands! All of our beds have been prepared using our trusty shovels and spades, tape measure and string line! Farming old skool!!
We weed the farm sites using stirrup hoes and our hands. We are going to be trialling a flame weeder soon!
At Red Ochre Organic Farm we have several aims and focuses. They are in no particular order as we approach our farming techniques in an holistic way. We focus on producing healthy soil, teeming with microbiological life, bacteria, fungi and nutrient rich matter, which in term produces healthy plants and produce. By farming this way we minimise certain ecological pressures that conventional farming techniques tend to attract. Having healthy soils means healthy crops. When crops are at their healthiest they can naturally ward off pests, diseases and viruses. They also draw in and attract predatory bugs and insects, and through this symbiotic relationship we have no need for any chemical or synthetic inputs into our soils or on our plants. It is a trial and error basis and what works one year may not work the next! That is where our record keeping and regular field inspections are important as we diarise everything about growing our crops and all the factors that go along with it.
Lastly, and more importantly to our customers, we grow tasty, nutrient dense food!! We grow everything from seed saved from previous crops, and have practised seed growing and breeding for generations. We aim to grow Heirloom varieties that pack a punch with taste and have high levels of vitamins and minerals to give your body what it needs in the most natural way possible. We are also undertaking an intensive seed saving and breeding program where we are continuing the ancient art of saving and sharing seed.
About your farmers!
Photo taken after a hard days work hand digging out the first of the growing beds on the Krondorf farm!
Megan is highly passionate about growing food! Having a lifetime of strong family influences in growing in backyards to feed family and friends, she had always grown food wherever she has lived! She is passionate about growing nutritious food, and is particularly interested in heirlooms and is fascinated by the history and story behind each of the crops she grows. Having completed Cert II & Cert III in Horticulture, as well as a Permaculture Design Certificate and attending various other Horticulture, Permaculture and Agriculture courses, workshops and talks around S.A., Megan is committed to working on the farm in an holistic way that incorporates the soil and its microbiology into the growing process.
An avid seed saver, Megan grows all of the crops from seeds saved by her. Generations of seed grown and selectively saved to continue the best genetic lines are the guiding force behind growing from her own seeds. She is strongly committed to educating and sharing her knowledge on seed saving and encouraging others to do the same. She is also involved in the Seed Freedom Food Festival, which is best described as a truly ethical, sustainable and organic community festival event celebrating food diversity, and our need to save and preserve untouched food strains/seeds.
Megan has started this farming adventure as the logical next step in her career, and has a lot of healthy respect for, and is inspired by small scale farmers around the world.
Trev is a newly hatched farmer! Influenced by wife Megan's passion for growing, he brings a heap of muscle and grunt to the farm. He has always enjoyed having produce grown at home, and delights in organic, chemical free food and is also excited about growing on a smaller scale to feed the local Adelaide community.
With a strong background in business, he helps Megan scale back her crazy ideas and help bring them to fruition. He is a keen student, and is learning about small scale production as the farm continues to grow. The dream is to grow Red Ochre Farm to the point that he can quit his city job and farm with Megan full-time.