The Modern Market Gardener

Oct 9, 2015

Fat Pig Farm to develop and manage their market garden – it’s a great job with great people – he’s stoked. But it got me thinking about market gardening and how while it hasn’t changed, we have. Mainstream culture seems to be seeing it differently and actually valuing it like it deserves. IMG_4512 Farmers have always been critical to a healthy and viable society, but not always celebrated. In many countries they were traditionally called peasants (and still are), a term generally used in a negative way referring to poor or landless farmers and agricultural workers. The unsaid feeling that went with this term implied that peasants were uneducated, ignorant, and of a lower class. But it feels like this is changing as the world wakes up and realises that without happy, healthy farmers, and some argue small-scale farmers in particular – our food system will collapse. A key game changer was, and continues to be, the establishment of La Via Campesina. .

“La Via Campesina is the international movement which brings together millions of peasants, small and medium-size farmers, landless people, women farmers, indigenous people, migrants and agricultural workers from around the world. It defends small-scale sustainable agriculture as a way to promote social justice and dignity. It strongly opposes corporate driven agriculture and transnational companies that are destroying people and nature.”
Established in 1993, it’s been changing the way people think and act towards farmers ever since. .
“La Via Campesina comprises about 164 local and national organizations in 73 countries from Africa, Asia, Europe and the Americas. Altogether, it represents about 200 million farmers. It is an autonomous, pluralist and multicultural movement, independent from any political, economic or other type of affiliation.”
When I was 18 (2001) I was heavily involved in all things permaculture, urban agriculture, community development and sustainability (still am). And while I lived and worked on small farms here and there it was soooo different to now. Back then I would struggle to name a handful of young people market gardening/farming. Now? Now they are everywhere. There seem to be more supported opportunities for young folks to farm. People are hiring skilled growers to farm on their private land, people without cash are leasing land to run small market gardening businesses on. Others like myself are organising with people to start up initiatives like the Hobart City Farm. And people are *loving* it, and us. People don’t look at me sideways when I tell what I do for a living/life anymore, for which I’m very grateful. So back to Jonathan (or Jono as we know him)….. IMG_4552 Jono is one of the many, much loved modern market gardeners we have in Tassie. Matthew and Sadie, of Fat Pig Farm and The Gourmet Farmer fame, have hired Jono to ramp up and extend their market garden which will eventually feed into their onsite restaurant and family home. It’s a beautiful farm, full of potential which is quickly becoming reality by these two go-getters. IMG_4515 IMG_4520 IMG_4523

IMG_4524A bed of rhubarb mulched with globe artichoke leaves

Included in the space is a mixed market garden with both annuals and perennials, a to soon to be olive grove, bees, mixed orchard, chickens a giant hot house for extending the seasons and a big gathering space to allow people to come, learn and enjoy the space. And of course there are pigs on the sidelines, watching on. I have no doubt that this farm will develop into a gorgeous home and a unique experience for people coming through to have an insight into farm life, but also good life. IMG_4526    IMG_4558 IMG_4543

IMG_4533  IMG_4536

Fresh mounds waiting for the young olive trees to be planted within the coming weeks.

I’m forever grateful for good people and particularly *love* it when they work together as this is where the magic happens. And you can be sure there’s some magic going down on Fat Pig Farm – be sure to watch this space… IMG_4562]]>

your thoughts:

15 Comments

  1. Sadie

    And oh boy, are we glad to have him!

    Reply
  2. Kate

    I wonder if the transformation is happening elsewhere in Australia, as much as it is here in Tasmania. My 27 year old son, Hugh, has decided to live here despite endless, very exciting opportunities he was following in Adelaide before coming to visit me here. A few years ago a young, passionate chef would have been mad to move to Cygnet! Now he and others can see the potential everywhere because the farmers he meets are young too; the whole food chain is getting younger and more connected to the land! Its very exciting!

    Reply
    • Hannah Moloney

      Overall, my feeling is ‘yes’ it is Kate. Obviously in some areas it’s not, but generally there’s a feeling of support and MUCH stronger networks for sharing information and inspiration. Amongst all the challenges of our times, it’s heartening to sit back and reflect on the change that *is* happening.

      Reply
  3. Si

    Thanks for writing this article Hannah. I just want to leave a brief comment to say that there is a very tangible change happening in regards to good quality, fresh, local, relational food production. My wife and I have been on the ride of our lives this past 15 months establishing a market garden & little veggie box scheme on our farm in the Northern Midlands and we have been amazed how meaningful it has been getting to know, and supplying fresh food, to our customers. People eating well, kids eating veg (& loving it!) for the first time, customers understanding seasonality & fair prices; what an amazing adventure! We hope to see LOTS more local, small-scale, ethical food produces in the future.

    Reply
  4. Erin O'Callaghan

    Great article Hannah!

    Reply
  5. Justin Moloney

    You’re consorting well Johno: plants, soils, chooks, possibly warm ‘shelter-shed’ and a Wessex Saddleback porker. All the best to you and Thea.

    Reply
  6. Jonathan Pitchford

    I am just getting started with my 2nd year of hobby farming in coastal Mississippi, USA. I always enjoy your posts and wanted to say thanks for giving me inspiration to keep pursuing what you all have attained across the world. Cheers!

    Reply
    • Hannah Moloney

      Go Jonathan! Thanks for your kind words and I wish you *all* the best in your farming adventures!

      Reply
  7. Di Colk

    Thanks, Hannah, for your great article. My late grandfather was a market gardener, as were all of his family, in what is now the Melbourne suburb of Moorabbin. He would have loved to hear about the recent developments in market gardening and sustainable agriculture.

    Reply
  8. Pam

    If I was 20 or 30 years younger I would be in there with them. I can see so much how this is the best way to go. Looked at moving to northern NSW to join the farming lot down there but with little knowledge other than home garden and age against me and hubby not keen on paying such a high price for property down there we are staying put on a small block with a small veggie garden and 6 chooks. Might try to move up the coast around Cooroy in a year or so and see if we can convince a few more locals up there to get on the band wagon. A couple of good sized properties up there for anyone looking to start from scratch in a good area north of Noosa

    Reply
    • Hannah Moloney

      Hi Pam, You can do soooo much on a small block. Moving to the country isn’t the only way to grow a significant amount of food and productive plants. I grew up in Brisbane on a 1/4 herb farm my dad ran for 18 years. It was awesome!

      Reply
  9. Gabe Gartrell

    Yeah. And now we get you Hannah to come over to Dodges Ferry. Lucky us.

    Reply

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