24.5 C
Byron Shire
April 14, 2021

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

Latest News

SCU celebrates alumni achievements with awards

A group of Southern Cross University graduates who have made extraordinary global achievements in research, community building, healthcare and environmental issues have been acknowledged with the 2020 Alumni Impact Awards.

Other News

Women’s rights focus at Renew Fest

Two further headlining guests have been announced for Renew Fest, which describes itself as a ‘festival of full system...

Murwillumbah Arts Trail coming in May

The sixth Murwillumbah Arts Trail is all set for the weekend of 29-30 May 2021. From its beginnings in 2015, the arts trail has grown to be a major festival for the visual arts, as well as a vibrant community event.

Council crews working hard to repair potholes

Tweed Shire Council road maintenance crews are out across the Tweed's road network repairing potholes and other damage caused by the recent prolonged rainfall and previous flood events.

New film celebrates getting back outside

'Free From Lockdown: Back Out in Nature' is a new short film in which a group of disabled and non-disabled performers from the Northern Rivers celebrate being in nature after COVID lockdown.

Empanadas and community spirit in wake of cancelled Bluesfest

With a collective sigh of disbelief and disappointment we processed the news that Bluesfest was cancelled

Where announcements masquerade as action

The great secret about government in Australia is this: no-one wants to know about government in Australia.

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

Red Cross offers additional bushfire grants

Australian Red Cross is opening a final round of support grants for people affected by the bushfires who are suffering extreme financial hardship.

The return of the prodigal son

Gallery DownTown, the annexe of Tweed Regional Gallery, is presenting a new exhibition by regional artists.

Rotary Downunder Baton handed over at Byron Bay

The Rotary Club of Byron Bay recently took the Rotary Downunder Baton to the most easterly point of Australia as part of its national journey. As well as being the national celebration of one hundred years of service by Rotary in Australia, the theme for the centenary is 'Rotary says no to domestic violence'.

Interview with Jean Kittson

Comedian, writer, and social commentator Jean Kittson has the ability to distil complex ideas into commonsense. Jean is one of the national treasures in conversation with Mandy Nolan and Fiona O’Loughlin at No Eggs for Breakfast, a comedic chat themed around life beyond fertility! It seemed remiss not to ask Ms Kittson on her take on the debacle that is federal politics and gender equity.