Briana Atkins was only two weeks old when her parents decided to leave Brisbane for a tree change, buying a farm in Northern NSW.
One of four children, Briana loved the outdoors and the freedom of life growing up in the country, but it didn’t mean she wasn’t lured away by the bright lights of the big city. In fact, she found herself a long way from the family farm – in London working for a high-end men’s fashion label.
‘My brother was living in London and working for a luxury menswear brand and he organised a job for me,’ says Briana. ‘It was a lot of fun, and then the manager moved to RM Williams (in London) and I went with him. I already knew the brand well and I was like their little Australian ambassador. It was great.’
Returning to Australia, Briana followed the fashion trail to Sydney, but it wasn’t long before she found herself craving the wide-open spaces of the family farm ‘While I had fun and wanted to try the city thing, I realised that city life was not for me,’ says Brianna. ‘I love being outdoors and I always had an interest in farming, simply because I worked at the farmers’ markets with Dad since I was a kid and I really enjoyed it. But I never thought I’d be a farmer, it kind of just happened.’
Now 25-years-old, Briana has been working on the family farm and running the Jumping Red Ant stall at Byron and Bangalow Farmers Markets for three years.
Even so, given her age, she is often mistaken for a helper rather than a farmer. ‘When I’m working at the farmers’ market, no-one ever thinks I’m the farmer,’ says Briana. ‘They assume, because I’m so young, that I’m just a girl that works at the stall. But I am coming across more and more young female farmers, especially in this area, which is really encouraging.’
You can find Briana every Thursday at Byron Farmers Market and every Saturday at Bangalow Farmers Market at the Jumping Red Ant stall, which sells a range of fruit and vegetables, and fresh flowers.
Byron Farmers Market is held Thursdays 7–11am at the Cavanbah Centre, and Bangalow Farmers Market is held Saturdays 7–11am behind the Bangalow Pub.