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January 8 2024

An event I’ve tuned into via zoom from Ireland for the past five years. Scheduling my farming day so that many an hour could be spent packing eggs in front of the computer listening to experts discuss regenerative farming methods.

Names synonymous with the practical workings of farming with nature. Success in an economic, social and environmental landscape forming the basis of our business at Magners Farm.

I was addicted at my first conference.

All the answers were being live-streamed right into my own egg packing shed.

But this year it was me on the stage. Alongside one of the most inspirational, helpful and down to earth people I’ve met - Darina Allen.

Experienced, kind and so incredibly willing to share her knowledge at every opportunity.

Darina is an icon. She pops out books that aren’t just cooking or growing or baking. They are manuals for life.

On television she speaks with such warmth and connection to food that makes you want to cook, grow and eat.

When questioned about difficult times in her own life, with a wave of her hand she says, “Well, we just got on and did it, one foot in front of the other darling.”

Darina’s Ballymaloe Cookery School was born out of necessity. It has blossomed into an international centre of excellence, nestled unassumingly away in the South of County Cork, Ireland.

A meandering single lane road and a quaint homely entrance belies the knowledge and work that goes on behind the scenes. A little like Darina herself.

A farm shop, a micro dairy, a bakery, a farm with pigs, cattle, chickens, eggs, gardens, organic vegetables - all sustaining the students who travel across the globe to attend the Ballymaloe Cookery School.

Between Darina and I sat two extraordinary women. Francesca Cooper and Hollie Fallick. Mums with five children between them, they are Nunwell Home Farm.

Employing regenerative farming practices, they produce grass fed beef, pork and eggs on the Isle of Wight.

Smack bang in the middle of raising toddlers and all that entails.

For all of us, farming isn’t just about providing nutrient dense food that is economically, socially and environmentally positive.

It’s a way of life - a calling even.

Farming has been with me since I was a child, a calling that literally began shouting at me in 2017.

I needed to be able to show my children how food came to our table.

The animals, the processes, the land, the weather. How each of them are intrinsically connected.

My own parents had shown me - their methods leaving an indelible print on my soul.

Absolute pride in staring down at a plate full of nutrition produced just metres from our farm kitchen.

Did they comprehend the building blocks of our future health they were laying down?

How crucial their actions were?

Probably not. I hope my own mother will read this and understand the positive impact she and my dad had. I hope so. I wish my dad were alive so that he could also know.

The home raised lamb. Vegetables from the garden. Milk from our hand milked cow. The smell of the earth. Such a gift.

Perhaps like me, they were just making do. Putting one foot in front of the other as we muddle our way through parenthood.

I listened to Francesca and Hollie how they began their farming and parenting journey as market gardeners, strapping new borns on to themselves as they went about their daily work. (You can follow them on Instagram here…)

Babies became toddlers. Fingers in soil, pulling out newly planted vegetables, frustrating their mothers.

Daily chores endured by small people, eager to exit and return home.

But here’s the thing, raising children is hard. And sometimes so is life.

Just as nature is. Beautiful. But sometimes hard. Stunning and shockingly heartbreaking at the same time.

In conclusion - of course parenting and regenerative agriculture go hand in hand. In their very essence, they are natural.

Nature, nurture. Soil, Soul.

The lessons that regenerative agriculture teaches us are the same examples I want to teach my children.

Caring, nurturing, encouraging.

Creating an environment that allows abundance, resilience and strength.

I look around and I see that, in my environment and my children and I am proud.

Choose your hard wisely.

Thank you for reading.

Kylie x


If you’re interested in regular musings around growing and regenerative agriculture you can follow me on Instagram here at Soil Sister and here at Magners Farm.

I’ve started a shop selling clothing which you can take a look at here.

I’m still working on my book Soil Sister and I’ll let you know when it is ready. (Soon!).

I’m currently in Scotland visiting my daughter Matilda, I’ll be back in Ireland for a short time before I head back to Australia via a very special visit in USA. More info to come soon.


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