Thank you everyone who took the time to complete our recent survey on the Small Farms Newsletter. Seventy one percent of you said a monthly newsletter was preferable so from now on, our updates will come through every four weeks. We will also be conducting a more detailed survey to understand how the Small Farms Network can better meet your needs.
The successful Blue Mountains Farm It Forwardproject is about to be rolled out in the Hawkesbury with the initial permaculture site development taking place on Saturday 22 August, weather permitting. Click HEREfor more information.
Also featured in this edition: Learn how to successfully sell direct to consumers, understand how 'FairFoodie' brings together farmers, restaurant owners, chefs and other foodie artisans; Choose from a wide selection of webinars, videos and online learning opportunities, as well as a variety of funding opportunities.
If you know someone who might be interested in joining the Greater Sydney Small Farms network, they can register HERE. To provide ideas on how the Greater Sydney Small Farms network can help you, please email or phone me on 0436 803 337
Richard Stephens Regional Agriculture Landcare Facilitator (RALF)
Canoelands Orchard - built on diversification, engagement and direct selling to consumers
When Jamie and Nathan Christie took over managing the third generation 40ha Canoelands Orchard, they realised they had to change the way things were done or they would simply go out of business.
“Costs of production kept rising and the money we were receiving from the markets (and supermarkets) was either flat lining or dropping. It was really obvious we had to either change how we farm and sell our produce differently, or get out,” Jaime said.
“By selling direct to consumers, we could get a premium price for our produce. The hard bit was working out how to do that,” Jamie continued. “Opening the farm up to a ‘pick your own’ model requires a totally different mindset. You have to deal direct with a wide variety of people, most of who are pleasant - but some aren’t.”
“You have to make the farm an attractive place to come to”, Nathan said. “So, we built a farm produce shop, Café, BBQ and play areas, have farm animals onsite and offer tractor rides to attract families. Some of our regular customers travel for two hours or more to get here.”
Since 2013, Canoelands Orchards has also been producing honey,
offering beehive training workshops and hosting school farm tours.
FairFoodie - How it Works? FairFoodie is an interactive platform, bringing farmers, restaurant owners, chefs, providores, brewers, winemakers and other foodie artisans together with local-loving consumers to help Australian businesses. By providing a marketplace for Aussie homegrown produce and great food, businesses can be listed for free and upload menus, photos, videos virtual events, etc. Optional e-commerce functionality is also available at a low-cost rate of 5% or lower for high volume vendors, click HERE.
Annual Land & Stock Returns You should have received your Annual Land & Stock Return in the mail by now. The deadline for submitting is 31 August 2020. Lodging online is the quickest and easiest way to return your land and livestock numbers this year, but please note, the customer portal no longer supports Internet Explorer. Lodging through Google Chrome is the best way to avoid any problems. For more info, please click HERE or contact LLS on 1300 795 299.
Agriculture course fees reduced by 62 percent! Future agriculture graduates could hold the key to helping the sector achieve its goal of being worth $100 billion by 2030. Agriculture courses will have a fee reduction of 62 per cent from 2021. This will help meet the growing job demand within the sector, especially with regenerative agriculture practices and developing technology. The aim is to double the number of Agriculture graduates by 2030. For more information, click HERE.
Cities that feed us The City of Sydney and 'Blakthumb' have released a report on integrating Controlled Environment Agriculture (CEA) into urban spaces. The report outlines an investment model for CEA farming and how it can be categorised as green infrastructure. From re-purposing unused car parking spaces, the report outlines ways to build sustainable urban farms within existing and future buildings, securing food for local communities. Click HERE.
Double your efforts to stop COVID-19 On 24 July, COVID-Safe compliance measures for some NSW businesses increased and businesses without COVID-Safe plans risk being penalised. The three key health advice remain: Maintain physical distance (minimum 1.5 metres); Practice good hygiene; and, anyone with symptoms should get tested and stay home. To create your COVID-safety plan, click HERE. To register your business as COVID-safe, click HERE.
WEBINARS, SHORT COURSES & EVENTS
The Urban Green Series: Plant Biosecurity & Your Food Garden A new, free, online training series hosted by Cesar and Redefining Agriculture will be run every Tuesday evening from 4 to 25 August. The series will share knowledge and explore the topic of plant biosecurity in cities over four weeks. 2020 is the International Year of Plant Health. How can we ensure that our city can support healthy, productive, and diverse plant life? Click HERE.
Silage Webinars for Livestock Producers A series of free webinars on silage are being held each Tuesday throughout August. The webinars will be led by John Piltz from NSW Department of Primary Industries. Registration is essential and allows access to the recordings if you miss the live session. Webinar 1, Tues 4 August is 'Forage quality and how it impacts silage and livestock production', Webinar 2 on 11 August is 'Mowing and wilting', Webinar 3 on 18 Augustis 'Harvesting and storage', Webinar 4 on 25 August is 'Feeding out and feed testing', All live session are 10am to 11am. Click HERE.
The Co-operative Learning Series A series of three online courses commence on 17 August covering three key topic areas: Beyond Bushfires – the role of co-op leaders in resilience, recovery and learning from the bushfires for potential future disruptions; Co-operative Advantage – exploring the factors that drive the competitive advantage of agricultural co-operatives; Protected Habitat – outlining emerging opportunities in sustainable farming and maximising the value being created. Fees apply, click HERE for more detail.
Growing Resilience: Diversity in Community Agriculture This month's webinar on 19 August from 'Sustain: The Australian Food Network' will highlight the importance of building social inclusion and justice into our urban and peri-urban landscapes and community agriculture projects. It will cover empowerment, knowledge sharing, training and employment opportunities as well as improving food security through the production of culturally appropriate foods. Cost $11-$16.50, click HERE.
Farm it Forward in the Hawkesbury Come along and help set up Farm it Forwardin the Hawkesbury on Saturday 22 August, weather permitting. Many hands will be needed to establish a market garden at the Secret Garden and Nursery on the Western Sydney University, Richmond Campus. Permaculture practices that do not disturb the ground will be used to prepare the land and plant out Farm it Forward - Hawkesbury. If you want to learn about permaculture or be part of a social enterprise connecting and local young people who are passionate about growing food, come along! Click HERE.
Digital Marketing in a Post COVID Era A series of free webinars have been commissioned by Regional Development Australia to support your journey to the ‘new normal’. Learn how to fine-tune your business model by understanding customer behaviour and using the principles of digital marketing and digital strategy. Also, learn the tips and tricks of getting social media marketing right for your business and develop your social media content and strategy. Webinars are at 4pm on Thursdays including 6, 13, 20 & 27 August, click HERE.
Australian Rural Leadership Program Applications for Course 28 of the Australian Rural Leadership Program close on 16 August 2020. The Australian Rural Leadership Foundation supports collective leadership action as the most effective approach to achieving the outcomes determined as desirable by communities and regions themselves. The course is delivered over 15 months, with three sessions taking place in Australia and another held overseas. Fees and scholarships apply, for more information, click HERE.
Farmers2Founders Ideas Program Applications are now open for producers who have an idea for a new off-farm business, but aren’t sure if it’s worth pursuing or how to get started. Key target industries include red meat and 'emerging' agriculture. The program provides producers with: 12 week remote support; Expert business coaching, tools and resources; $3000 equity-free grant funding; and access to a network of like-minded primary producers. Applications close 21 August 2020, click HERE for more information.
Bob Hawke Landcare Award Nominations are now open for the Bob Hawke Landcare Award, closing on 31 August. The award recognises an individual’s leadership and commitment to Landcare, natural resource management and sustainable agriculture. The award prize is a $50,000 package for further development of their knowledge and skills in sustainable land management and the Award will be presented at the National Landcare Awards gala dinner on Thursday 5 August, 2021 in Sydney. Click HERE.
2021 Nuffield Scholarships Nuffield Australia Farming Scholarships are a unique way for primary producers to participate in a life-changing experience, travel overseas and study an agricultural topic of choice. There are 20 different Nuffield Scholarships on offer for 2021, each valued at $30,000. And for the first time, a Farm Biosecurity Nuffield scholarship is being offered for a primary producer to study on-farm biosecurity. Applications close 11 September, click HERE.
Instant asset write-off extended The Federal Government announced it would extend the COVID-19 response $150,000 instant asset write-off for six months to 31 December 2020. Businesses with an annual turnover of less than $500 million will benefit from the extension, with farmers given some welcomed breathing space to benefit from the much-needed tax break. Click HERE.
Regenerating the land Research conducted by the Australian National University compared the profitability of graziers who had adopted regenerative techniques to other farmers in their region. It found regenerative grazing was often more profitable than other types of farming, especially in dry years. The research also identified four types of land use relevant to farmed grassy woodlands and indicates the proportion of land that should be allocated to each use in order to achieve landscape health. The proportions can be applied to single farm, or entire districts or regions. Click HERE.
Seaweed and lemongrass being used to fight climate change While dairy cows in Tasmania are being fed seaweed to fight climate change, lemongrass is being used in America to reduce methane emissions. Tasmania's largest milk company is starting a trial with a special native red seaweed to see if it can be used on working farms, click HERE.Scientists from the University of Californina and the Autonomous University, State of Mexico, have determined with Burger King that adding 100 grams of lemongrass to the cows’ daily diet can reduce methane emissions by a third, clickHERE.
Urgent 'agroecology' changes in farming needed Over 360 scientists from 42 countries, led by the University of Göttingen and Westlake University in China, have called for transition of food production systems to agroecological principles. "Agroecology has the potential to change the way we 'do agriculture'. We hope that our comprehensive research agenda will help to chart the path to sustainable, diversified agriculture and biodiversity conservation in the future." Click HERE
Biological control for Wandering Trad Familiar with Wandering trad, a herbaceous groundcover native to South America? It has become a significant environmental weed in many parts of Australia. CSIRO has been involved in research of a biological control agent and is now coordinating the release of the leaf-smut fungus across NSW in partnership with community stakeholders. Anyone can register their interest to receive the fungus for release in NSW, including groups, private landholders and local government agencies. Click HERE for more info or email [email protected]
Fermenting better than composting Fermenting organic matter, rather than composting, can lead to greater improvements in soil health and help farmers reduce their carbon footprint. Initial overseas research has shown the fermentation process reduces carbon and organic matter losses, leaving more nutrients to subsequent crops. The process, known as bokashi, involves fermenting organic waste anaerobically with a mix of seashells, lime, clay minerals and micro-organisms then seal in a plastic wrap. Click HERE.
Marek's Disease Video Marek's disease is a mysterious and complex disease affecting both commercial and backyard poultry, and can result in death or severe production loss. The disease causes changes in many of the nerves and may cause tumours in major internal organs. In this short five minute video by Dr Lou Baskind, from South East Local Land Services, identification and management of this disease is explained, click HERE.
Biosecurity isn’t a destination, it’s a journey Preventing the introduction and spread of diseases, pests and weeds onto your land is one of the most things a landholder can do. Taking biosecurity risks seriously means making it part of your farm management, and making those practices second nature.
Update your farm biosecurity profile by using the online toolkit HERE and learn more about your biosecurity responsibilities HERE.
Good Mood Food - marketing campaign Hort Innovation has developed a whole-of-horticulture, direct-to-consumer marketing campaign that aims to invigorate consumer purchasing habits for fruit, vegetables and nuts, both during and beyond the COVID-19 pandemic. Eat on the bright side. Naturally boost your mood with fresh Aussie fruit, veg and nuts. Using TV, newspapers, radio, online, social media and retail outlets, the campaign runs to September, click HERE.
Landcarer - an online community platform for people who care for our natural environment Collaborate, connect and learn with people who care for our natural environment. This online community involves people in Landcare, Coastcare, Bushcare, and all the other cares. Share stories, tips and information, join or set up an Interest Group, check out the latest Landcare Rescue Podcasts, webinars and videos. Click HERE.
The Big Shift for Small Farms Podcast With over 5,200 listens, The Big Shift for Small Farms Podcastseries has been a huge success and series two will now be produced and released later this year. If you haven't listened to any yet, you can do so HERE or check out this short video for more information.
Recovering after bushfires Chris Cobern was heavily involved in the recovery efforts following the Black Saturday bushfires in Victoria, 2009. He worked with local communities, government, and volunteers for many years to help the landscape heal and recover. In this webinar, Chris chatted about how he navigated issues around sourcing funding and volunteers, providing training, supporting local landholders. Chris was joined by Landcare Australia’s Rowan Ewing. Click HERE for a link of the recording.
This project is supported by Greater Sydney Local Land Services through funding from the Australian Government's National Landcare Program.
The information contained in this publication is based on knowledge and understanding at the time of writing. However, because of advances in knowledge, users are reminded of the need to ensure that the information upon which they rely is up to date and to check the currency of the information with the appropriate officer of Local Land Services or the user’s independent adviser. For updates go to www.lls.nsw.gov.au
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