23.3 C
Byron Shire
February 24, 2024

A new-look farm taking shape at Byron’s gateway

Latest News

Lighthouse Road

The section from the bus stop on Lighthouse Road to the divide of the road to Byron Bay, is...

Other News

Australian cycling legend’s legacy for Byron Bay Wildlife Hospital

The family of Australian cycling champion Sir Hubert Opperman has left a significant donation in his name to Byron Bay Wildlife Hospital to help it continue providing lifesaving veterinary care for Australian wildlife.

Appointments for free breastscreen van in Mur’bah next month

Around ninety per cent of women diagnosed with breast cancer have no family history of the disease.

Editorial – Prosecuting publishers

WikiLeaks founder and Australian citizen, Julian Assange, will soon face possibly his final court hearing in the UK High Court of Justice over whether he should be extradited to the US to face spying charges. 

NSW Aboriginal Land Councils elections this weekend

Elections for members of NSW Aboriginal Land Councils (NSWALC) are on this weekend and NSWALC CEO Yuseph Deen stresses the critical significance of active participation in shaping the future of Aboriginal communities in New South Wales.

They got the Dojo Rise

Adam Blesing, Sean Dedrick and Anthony Sherwood are Dojo Rise – forging their own unique footprint in the music industry, with their uplifting south coast sound; an eclectic fusion of reggae/dub, pop and indie soul.

Antonovich inquest delayed again, as new witnesses emerge

The inquest into the kambo-related death of Jarrad Antonovich has taken a surprising turn, with new witnesses coming forward to police. As a result, the rest of the planned dates this week have been abruptly cancelled by the state coroner, with the process set to begin again at Byron Bay Courthouse in late May.

Meet the Lanes: from left, George holding Wendy, Charlie holding Matilda, Lu-Lu, Tom and Emma. Photo Jeff Dawson.
Byron mayor Simon Richardson gets a guided tour of The Farm, which is taking shape at the entrance to Ewingsdale Road . Photo Jeff Dawson.

Hans Lovejoy

There’s an ambitious plan hatching out at the entrance to Byron Bay from the highway on Ewingsdale Road.

It’s so ambitious that, when complete, The Farm will be just one of two known ventures of its type in the world, according to owner/manager Tom Lane.

Mr Lane told The Echo that the Stone Barns Center (www.stonebarnscenter.org) located in New York state offers much of what is in store for Ewingsdale: a functioning sustainable farm (100 per cent spray and chemical free), with a top notch restaurant, bakery, cafe and flower shop as well as regular permaculture workshops, children’s playgrounds and animal nursery.

Open farm tours are also planned, along with yoga and meditation classes.

And with sustainability at its central theme, produce grown on the 80-acre property will be used in the restaurant and bakery while surplus will be sold further afield.

To understand how the vision eventuated, let’s take a step back.

Growing up on a farm in Braidwood, just outside Canberra, Tom says he’s always had a passion for food and best farming practice.

After a successful career in the clothing/accessory trade running OROTON, and then managing modular construction machinery business Quicksmart Homes, he’s followed his passion.

He says his family – with wife Emma and four kids under the age of ten – moved from Sydney to Federal last December. But they are familiar with the region, having spent six months of each of the last three years here.

The inspiration for the business came from one of his children. ‘It was when our three-year-old disappeared one day on the family farm; when we found her, she had a shirt-full of beans.’

Produce output

Already there’s around 500-odd chickens that provide about 400 eggs per day which will be going toward the bakery and restaurant.

The Farm utilises a smart chookhouse invention by famous US farmer Joel Salatin, who will be visiting The Farm for a masterclass in March.

Called the X-wing, the chooks sleep under wooden beams which are protected by gable Colorbond roofing. Above are nesting/laying boxes, which allow eggs to be dropped down along a gutter and be easily collected.

The best part is that the whole construction is on a sled, so it can be moved around to rotate the soil when needed.

As for farming, the soil has come up well, say Tom, considering the concerns over previous use as a flower farm.

‘It was tested and proved that whatever was used did not leave any long-term or harmful residue,’ he says.

Already there have been crops of onions, garlic and sorghum and they are now planting root veggies and half an acre of lettuce.

As for live animals, Mr Lane says there are heritage breed pigs (large blacks) and about 30-odd Scottish highland cattle. ‘It’s the oldest registered breed of cattle in the world,’ he says.

While planning has been ‘on the run’, he says he hopes to open in March after a very busy 18 months in construction. ‘Council have been very supportive,’ he says, ‘and we estimate around 100 people will be employed.’

For more info visit www.­thefarmbyronbay.com.au.


Support The Echo

Keeping the community together and the community voice loud and clear is what The Echo is about. More than ever we need your help to keep this voice alive and thriving in the community.

Like all businesses we are struggling to keep food on the table of all our local and hard working journalists, artists, sales, delivery and drudges who keep the news coming out to you both in the newspaper and online. If you can spare a few dollars a week – or maybe more – we would appreciate all the support you are able to give to keep the voice of independent, local journalism alive.

LEAVE A REPLY

Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

4,000 failed

I attended the flood forum held at the Ballina RSL last Monday and was aghast to hear some of the facts presented. 4,000 people...

Knitting Nannas get behind Save Wallum campaign

With porcelain tea cups, lace-covered tables and plenty of knitting the Knitting Nannas Against Greed (KNAG) headed to the basecamp of the Save Wallum...

NPWS wants to remove beach nudity option

For 26 years, Tyagarah Beach has been an oasis for the region’s naturist community – a space where bodies of all shapes and sizes could roam free without threat of fines or reprimands.

‘Key workers’ removed from Ballina Council’s housing project as Mayor seeks full market rents

Essential workers were the losers at the recent Ballina Council meeting when councillors actively removed the category for ‘key workers’ from their development of rental housing on land it owns in Wollongbar.