In the beginning of September, 54 ENVS3006 students visited the Lower Hunter Valley as part of the Sustainable Food and Agriculture Field Trip: From farm gate to glass and plate. The group visited 3 agricultural businesses who demonstrate sustainable organic and biodynamic food and wine production.
The first stop was Purple Pear Farm, a 14 acre farm on the outskirts of Maitland. The owners Mark and Kate run a sustainable farm and aim to demonstrate the philosophy of permaculture, biodynamics and organic principles in action.
“I started in organic growing, you know, putting poison on the food just made no sense, and it developed from there through permaculture and ultimately biodynamics…it just made complete sense to me, to be working with nature and not against it” Mark Brown (happen films)
Students toured the farm in groups and learnt about the different practises that Mark and Kate employ on their farm, from companion planting to chicken tractors.
After Purple Pear Farm, the group visited Organic Feast, a certified organic store specialising in local goods and food in East Maitland. Here students were introduced to sustainable organic and biodynamic goods in a retail context
Students then had lunch in the adjoining Momo’s Wholefood café, a fantastic café specialising in local organic healthy foods.
The last stop of the day was Macquariedale Organic Wines, a vineyard and winery dedicated to organic and biodynamic farming practises, which has Full Biodynamic Certification.
“At Macquariedale we make our own compost with as many products sourced from the property which is then put under the vines. As part of the Biodynamic Certification our farm is required to be as diverse as possible with a farm management plan which is audited annually by the ACO (Australian Certified Organic)” Ross McDonald (MOW website)