Located on the Quarry Hill Farm in Dja Dja Wurrung land, near Kingston, Victoria Pig & Earth Farm is doing great work with pigs, amongst a few other things. We interviewed Will and Emma earlier this month to get their story.
What farming do you do and where and how long have you been doing this?
Along with my partner Emma, we farm livestock on 40 acres in the Central Highlands of Victoria. We run a small CSA (Community Supported Agriculture) with 15 members, focusing mostly on pork and a small amount of lamb. We’ve been running the CSA for about 6 months now, after purchasing this property a year ago with the help from family. We had previously share-farmed on two separate properties over an 18 months’ period.
How did you get into farming and why?
I fell into farming a little bit by accident, I was studying Fine Arts at uni when I got a job on a local farm, after falling in love with the work, I dropped out of the course and was working full time within about a year. I loved the nature of the work; the problem solving, the diversity of the tasks, the connection you develop to a place, providing food for your community, it just made sense to me, every other job seemed to pale in significance to what you could achieve farming.
What’s your philosophy in farming?
My overall philosophy to farming is to improve the environment and to build community. I try to farm in a sustainable and ethical way. Whether that be feeding the pigs waste stream foods, or trying to allow for the animals to express themselves as naturally as possible.
But farming to me can be about both improving the organic matter of your soil, and building a resilient community. I think a lot of the problems that we’re facing as a society have to do with the fact that most of us live in cities now. It’s hard to be connected to the land or to each other when you live in the city, and so I’m interested in trying to build that connection through a CSA model.
What advice would you give young or new farmers?
My advice would be to move to the country! We need more young people in rural towns, and you’re more likely to gain experiences and meet other farmers if you do.
My other advice is don’t give up. It can be crazy hard trying to start out and find a way in farming, but it the end the only reason other people succeed is because they don’t give up. Also as an aside, I think young people wanting to get into farming should be especially careful of unpaid internships and volunteering. Although these things can be useful experiences to have, I think too many young people are having their labour exploited for the sake of ‘farm experience’.
What are your long-term plans in farming?/What’s up next for your farm?
My long term plans for farming are to just keep farming. I want to diversify what we sell and maybe one day have a whole-diet CSA. There’s so much to learn, and I’m constantly making mistakes, so it’d be nice if one day it felt like I had everything together, but I don’t know if that can ever happen for a farmer.