Farmer Wants A Life

“The greatest change we need to make is from consumption to production, even if on a small scale, in our own gardens. If only 10% of us do this, there is enough for everyone. Hence the futility of revolutionaries who have no gardens, who depend on the very system they attack, and who produce words and bullets, not food and shelter.”
― Bill Mollison

This may not be a new observation, but it’s new to me.

As customers of our local farmers market we have noticed the phenomena of the natural transition.

An aging farming population are now wanting to scale down or sell out altogether. I can’t blame them. But who is going to step up and take over the running of the farm or primary produce operation? There doesn’t appear to be many takers.

In dinner table conversation the topic has come up a few times and I’m sure Mrs PP has mused over the notion of taking on some sort of enterprise with  the attraction of the lifestyle, the healthy living, the rural location. Frequently I hear ‘it’s such a wonderful lifestyle.’

I’m musing over the notion of working 7 days a week, continual maintenance of farm equipment, searching out new markets and maintaining current ones, managing the family & Gran whilst living out of town (potentially a significant distance), early starts on weekends to get to the farmers market (and trying to visualise who would be doing most of this)…

 

daffe-bales2

Free Hay on offer because of rain damage and flooding to the paddock.

 

I want to be more Dad than Taxi Driver. In regional Australia the travel distances can be Long & Far!

Mr PP

We are struggling at the moment with all that having a family involves. There is no time dedicated to the running of our garden and tending to the animals. It kind of happens in fits and starts. I feel like I have to battle to get things planted in time due to all the other distractions in our lives. To my mind farmers have the luxury of having time to do this. Afterall, it’s their job. But making hay while the sun shines or planting out the next crop TODAY often doesn’t happen, because LIFE is happening. If this our current situation – I cannot even imagine depending on our efforts on the land for an income – especially given we’d want to farm as naturally as possible.

The vision for Tillellan is quite adequate enough for the present time. Feed ourselves (and animals), family and others. This is still really in the pipe-dream stage, but we are gradually making progress on the first stage given that the second garden is providing some greens and starting to set a nice crop of pumpkins. Further establishment of new garden beds and some supplementary aquaponics set ups will enhance this.

We also wanted to position ourselves in town to lessen travel in the car, especially while the Little Fellas are going through school and doing extra curricular activities. I want to be more Dad than Taxi Driver. In regional Australia the travel distances can be Long & Far!

But the potential problem of valuable farming land already under good farming practice and management slipping away or falling back into ‘traditional farming’ is a concern. Our own solution at this stage is to take more responsibility for our own food production and to support these farmers where we can by utilising our local Farmers Markets or visiting the farm gate sales.

 

Further reading:

Farmers calling it quits

Tasmanian Farmer Numbers dropping

 

 

2 thoughts on “Farmer Wants A Life

  1. You hit the nail right on the head. We also look eagerly and longingly at some 30 – 100 acre “farmlets” going relative near here, and some bigger ones a bit further afield. But it’s a huge step turning that into your livelihood! And you’re right – the little ones need to be near the schools and the activities, or can one still turn them into little barefoot wild-running farm children?

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    • Yes, its a balance. But as David Holmgren writes about there are a lot of possibilities in retro-fitting the suburbs to create backyard food producing areas. This will be our focus once again. Once we jump the hurdle of transitioning across from one house to another. Thanks for the comment Martin.

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