My Friends at Fossil Farm Organics
It is a very big task to work on a ten-acre organic farm. This is the first lesson I learned being a work/trade guest for the Galvin Family, owners of Fossil Farm Organics. I have been supportive of organic gardening since I was a child in my grandfathers garden. I helped him till the soil, pull carrots, and pick squash and vine-ripened tomatoes. I have loved the land since I was young, knowing I would go back to it someday. I am grateful to my Grandaddy for instilling these priceless values into my formidable young mind.
Working on the farm with the Galvin’s was an experience that opened my eyes, showed me what hard work really looks like, and an experiment that I loved VERY much. Our days were filled with weeding, picking, planting, mulching, composting, watering, bed preparation, seed saving, packing produce, taking/packing/delivering orders and so much more. There are too many jobs on a farm to even list! It is a major task to make sure thousands of plants and seeds are well fed, hydrated, shaded, exposed to sun, etc. The soil has to be perfect. The ground has to be ready. The weather has to be of the season. It is a very exact science!
I took on various tasks during my stay. One of my jobs that I really enjoyed doing was chicken feeding and egg collecting. It wasn’t always pleasant dealing with chicky poo, but the reward of offering farmer’s market customers free-range, organic, unfertilized, unpasteurized eggs feels SOOO good! I also developed a sweet relationship with the fifty hens I was feeding daily. I was happy to be the ‘Chicken Lady’ for my short stay.
Some other jobs that I found very meditative and pleasurable were watering, bean harvesting, preparation for market and the Byron Farmer’s Market itself. Watering was nice because I would sing to the plants as I watered them, knowing that the love from my voice would be delivered through the water, and the hydrated plant would feel it and deliver it into the soul of the person who eats it! I enjoyed bean picking because it was like a little scavenger hunt. It was so fun to hunt through all of the spiraling leaves and vines to find a bunch of beautiful string beans! They were so crispy and juicy. I ate a ‘few’ while working my way down the patch ;)
Market preparation consisted of preparing loads and loads of boxes of fresh veggies for the market customers. My favorite part about this was the teamwork. It was awesome to have a few of us on harvesting and a few of us on packaging. It seems so easy when there is a group of people working towards the same goal, smiling and laughing all the while. I really do feel that our energy goes into the vibration of the food, and is transferred into the lives of others. It was important for me to see the power of positivity and the power of negativity and how it affected the plants, animals, and other member of the team. One weak link can really impact the Big Picture of something like this. I learned so many valuable lessons about dynamics, teamwork and how to enjoy your self through days of hard labor.
The Byron Bay Farmers Market was such a joy to be a part of. Everyone was so friendly and happy to see all of the amazing produce grown just for them. The Galvin’s even take special orders and prepare them the night before for people, and they can just stop by the stall and come scoop it right up! The Galvin Family has put so much love into this farm and it shows. The customers can see that and they come back every single week to buy this fresh, organic, yummy and super nutritious produce. I am grateful to Leah, Lisa, Dennis and Marion Galvin for taking me into their lovely home and showing me the ins-and-outs of organic gardening. From roots to fruits I saw the process unfold. I am very appreciative that there are folks out there, like the Galvins, who are willing to put in the countless hours and selfless time spent growing and harvesting healthy food for their local community. It is people like this that are making a HUGE difference in the world. Leah is the sweet soul who brought me in and she learned how to farm in Thailand. She is passing that knowledge on to work/trade guests who come stay and help. Dennis and Marion (Mom & Dad) were former Sydney residents who chose to leave city life behind to support the world of organic farming. Researching ahead and learning as they go along, they have so much to share! I was happy to have them as teachers. Lisa, Leah’s sister, still lives in Sydney but comes periodically to visit and lend a hand. She is so creative and practical and makes very delicious food with the harvest from the garden. I enjoyed getting to know her. They are an inspiring family unit!
One point I want to make before ending is that the price of organic food is always fair no matter how ‘expensive’ one might consider it. There is an insurmountable amount of work that goes into being a Grade A Certified Organic Farm complete with Free-Range Hens. This is not a task for the weak minded or faint hearted. This effort means getting dirty, sweaty, and hot. It means bending and standing and pulling and pushing and being strong. It means you do work ALL DAY LONG and by the end of it the profit margins are good but not anything extravagant. It is a simple life and I am so grateful that there are families and farmers out there willing to work this hard to put good food on our plates. It may seem cheaper and easier to buy genetically modified foods from the corporate grocery store, but that is feeding a beast that does not have the well-being of the people in mind. Organic Family Owned Farms are the ones to support! Find your local farmers market or source of local produce and do your best to put your money towards these people. Your body, planet and palate will thank you! Here’s to the Galvin’s and good old fashioned farmed food from Fossil Farm Organics.