Story & photo by Kate O’Neill
New Brighton Farmers Market was one of the first places Evan Anderson visited when he came to the Byron Shire as a traveller in his early 20s.
‘Within the first few days of arriving I somehow landed here,’ he said.
On that day he met stallholder Amir Zikhron, founder of Baraka Foods, who gave him his first local job, selling dips at the market.
Nine years later, Evan, originally from California, is back. This time with his own certified organic produce stall, Kennedys Lane Farm.
Since those early days selling dips, the plant ecology graduate has been busy getting his hands dirty in a whole host of local share-farming ventures, as well as helping to educate others about ecologically-sound farming practices via local group Hungry Earth Agroecology.
Now, he’s part of a new share-farming arrangement with Myocum organic farm, Kennedy’s Lane Farm, where he and his small team are growing a variety of seasonal certified organic produce for the farmers markets, including garlic, ginger, root vegetables, herbs, leafy greens and certified organic eggs from free range hens on the farm.
Evan, and partner Bethanie, who also works on the farm, are at the stall each Tuesday selling their produce direct to the public.
Healthy soil is paramount at Kennedy Lane Farm, says Evan, and they use practices such as cover cropping and composting to feed the soil.
They’re also trialling a method of intensive companion planting that involves planting a diversity of crops close together in the same bed.
‘We’re able to maximise space and time, we can grow a lot more food in that space and reduce tillage on the soil.’
Evan says seeing the success of this method has been incredibly rewarding, and feeding people with this sustainably grown produce even more so.
‘The biggest thing for me is just getting food to the community.’