Emma from CERES Grocery headed off to Foothills Organics to visit all those delicious greens which are weighing down our shelves this time of year.
Loads of fun was had earlier this week riding around in the back of Joe Sgro’s mini 4WD ute while he gave us a tour of Foothills Organics farm. Awesome to see growing in the ground all the veggies of his that we currently have stocked in the Market and Grocery… leeks, spinach, kale, daikon, parsley, pak choy, fennel, turnips, red onions, spuds, spuds and more spuds! Also saw some new season crops which will soon begin to be harvested, like the glorious green cabbages that were being pest controlled by a flock of Crimson Rosellas.
Green cabbage, from Joe’s Farm to CERES’ Grocery
Daikon ready to head to the Grocery
Joe says that the biodiversity supported by neighbouring bush, along with keeping the soil moist, are key to keeping pest insects at bay with no need for nasty sprays. The muddy farm we saw was a stark contrast to the dry and dusty farm it was a week ago. Joe says that over the past dry year he’s had to use a significant amount of town water compared to the previous year, when the spring-fed dams provided enough water for irrigation needs. This has been a financial blow for Joe, and as we experience the effects of a warming climate, a reminder why its incredibly important to support responsible farmers and food systems.
Another big financial cost for Joe and many organic farms is wages. Joe employs 30 workers who are essential to keeping the farm going. Comparatively, many conventional farms reap short term gains by replacing people with the intense use of fossil fuels in the forms of oil/machinery/synthetic chemicals – but they’re simply stealing from ‘tomorrow’. We also saw row after row of leeks (360,000 in total!!), planted in succession to provide a continual supply for most of the year. Joe spoke about crop rotations and we saw paddocks of beautiful dark brown soil ‘resting’ after spuds had grown there. Thanks Joe for showing us how things are done at Foothills Organics! Legend.