We first met Cara Edwards as one of our students on our permaculture design course back in 2013 and have been loving her gumption, talent and work ever since. You can read about her previous urban “micro farm-like” home here which she shared with Fin. They’ve now gone country and in recent times, Cara’s put a lot of energy into her food and farm inspired *art and crafts* – so now we’re all like “get outta here!” Anyway, meet Cara, she’s tops…
What inspires your work?
I’m super nerdy about homesteading and beautiful vegetables and building badass skills. I’m also pretty shy and introverted and don’t really have the chops to be an activist on the front lines, so I like to use art as a platform to enthusiastically yell (but not literally yell) “RIDE YOUR BIKE! KNOW YOUR FARMER! GROW YUMMY THINGS!” Otherwise I’d probably just be telling the ducks in the back paddock. I’m also really inspired by hilarious animals (mostly chickens), kids in the garden, peeking over neighborhood fences and really just anyone growing anything edible. It’s the best!
Your work shows a lot of food and farming – are you a grower yourself?
My partner Fin and I normally grow the majority of our diet, but this year we’ve moved to a bigger patch (2 acres) and are still getting things established. We do have a pretty cranking asparagus bed though, and enough food in the ground to get us through winter – but we’ve mainly been working on infrastructure, like building our hothouse and fencing. We’ve also been fortunate enough to work for a local market gardener and he keeps us well fed on beautiful, organic produce. Thanks Golden Valley Farm!
What’s one of your favourite creations so far?
I’m pretty fond of my farmhers, sometimes I give them a little outfit update if the season changes. I also work as a primary school garden teacher and I have a lot of girls tell me they want to grow up to be gardeners or farmers, and this is always met with a schoolyard backlash of “girls can’t be farmers!!!” Of course, I give them a high-five and a “heck yeah, of course you can!”, but I have noticed that there isn’t a lot of material showing the diversity of growers around the world. Most of the picture books floating around depict farmers as aging white men on tractors. I made the original Farmher scribble for my no.1 student who studies the edible weeds and teaches the younger kids the names of the plants while I scoff down my lunch, she’s going to grow up to be a garden extraordinaire!
Who taught you to be so artsy?
I’m your classic art school drop out, I studied graphic design for a couple of years but became pretty disillusioned with the whole industry and left to go WWOOFing around NZ. So I have some technical skills left over from those days, but I grew up in a pretty crafty household. I’m visiting my parents this week and as I type my Mum is revamping a vintage dress and my dad is out building a new horse stable. We were always encouraged to make things, I normally chose to throw birthday parties for our family dog and measured everyone’s heads for perfectly fitting party hats. Bonnie had multiple birthdays each year, she was obviously thrilled.
Is there anything you hope your work will inspire in people to do/think? If so, what?
I hope it inspires a positive attitude towards community and growing and gets people thinking outside the stereotype of where and who your food comes from.
There are so many amazing, radical and humble people doing great things in this world and they should be celebrated and acknowledged… and sometimes they’re not even human, but just a really good bunch of chickens! Thanks chickens.
And thanks Cara! You’re a breath of fresh air and we love your approach to making this world awesome! You can get yourself some of Cara’s talent at her online shop HERE and follow her on instagram and facebook to keep up with her greatness.
*All photos are by Cara – she happens to be a nifty photographer too!