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February 28 2024

I've just stepped back inside to the cool of the house.


My clothes are wet from the sprinkler I've had watering the vegetables in the garden.



Bare feet and splashes of dirt up my legs. Pulling weeds barefoot with toes pressing into crumbly soil is a practice that causes dismay and shock amongst my neighbours.


"Aren't you afraid of snakes?", they ask.


I assure them I make a lot of noise when I'm gardening.


It's hot out there and we're heading for a week of high 30's.


Anything that has survived the heat thus far will cope in the coming days.


Tomatoes, chilli, capsicum, pumpkins, basil. They are all thriving in this hot, dry climate, pumping out bucket loads daily. Passatta continually simmering in the kitchen,


It's taken me eight months to get my head around this heat.


Dry, arid, unpredictable.


But it's something Australians have adapted to.


Whether it's the nomadic lifestyle of First Nations Farmers or the current models, we are a resilient bunch.


And we've learned a thing or two about what works in this harsh climate since European livestock and crops were introduced here in the 1700's.


Because Australia is not Europe or the United Kingdom or America. It's soils are ancient, climate is harsh.


Australian farmers are some of the toughest, resilient people I know.


(As a sidenote, I'd love to see a few farmers dropped on to the set of the TV reality show Alone. No doubt some would relish the break, a chance to unwind and relax...).


Next week, I'm stepping outside my comfort zone to appear on a panel at Global Citizen Now in Melbourne.


I will sit alongside the President of the International Fund for Agricultural Development (IFAD), Alvaro Lario. IFAD which is an international financial institution and a specialized agency of the United Nations dedicated to eradicating poverty and hunger in rural areas of developing countries. 


Although Australia was one of the founding members of IFAD, it chose to leave the group during John Howard's leadership


I believe Australian farmers have a lot to offer, we're not just a hardy bunch. We have one of the largest and most diverse scientific research organisations in the the world in the CSIRO. For over 30 years, the Landcare group have operated a movement that has empowered neighbourhood groups to tackle environmental issues and impact grassroots management of agricultural problems.


Their motto - "Think globally, act locally", is one we should all keep in mind.


I am a tiny fish in a very big ocean. It's easy to underestimate the smallholder. Can we make a difference? Absolutely.


Within days of the announcement of Covid 19 in March 2020, Ireland came to a screeching halt. The 5km rule was implemented, no social gatherings of any kind. Shopping was limited and food began to run out fast (not to mention the toilet paper).


Overnight, 50% of our business disappeared as hospitality closed shop for months.


Our local Farmer's Market wasn't immune either and shut until further notice.


ICYDK hens don't stop laying. You can't ask them to take a break for a week or two while you sort yourself out, get your ducks in a row so to speak.


And the hens weren't the only ones. The market demands we maintain a constant supply of food, so there were fruit and vegetable growers, fishmongers, pork and chicken farmers who all needed to keep selling.


With the assistance of our beautiful baking neighbour Ruth, we loaded all the market items on our website, customers placed their orders by Wednesday night, we sent out the requests to our producers who delivered their goods Friday morning.


We set up a Farmers Market drive-thru on our farm. As our customers arrived we confirmed their orders and packed their food supplies into their car boots. It was a smash hit. We were serving up to 60 customers a Friday. Our daughter Imogen even began a burgeoning home made donut business which sold out each week.


No contact and fully within Covid guidelines.


Where massive centrally distributed food chains failed, we thrived. And so did the other farmers. Perhaps most importantly, so did our community. They were fed on local nutritious food and that's not all. For some, it was the only social contact they were allowed all week. Even if it was through the window of their car, we made a big difference. You can't measure that.


I guess what I'm trying to say, as we barrel along into "bigger is better" and "centralised food production is more efficient" as directed by one government agency after another, perhaps we need to sit back and admire the tiny fractals and the part they have to play.


It's not all about export potential or GDP. The community effect can be just as important.


Kylie x


PS: MY BOOK IS OUT!


Yes, I'm shouting because I'M VERY EXCITED. It actually feels like I've had another baby, with an incredibly long gestation.


I wanted to create a bite sized book about Regenerative Agriculture. I was spending a lot of time attending seminars and listening to wise farmers extolling the virtues of the Five Principles of Regenerative Agriculture and I wanted to bring all that knowledge back to a tiny book you could read over a coffee.


So while it looks like a children's book, it's actually for adults too.


And if you eat, you probably want to read it, so go on and treat yo'self.


You can purchase it here from the website or here on Amazon.



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