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Small scale, big impact

James Hutchinson, co-founder and operator of Longley Organic Farm, and Shayne Elliott, CEO of ANZ, discuss microfarming at Longley Organic Farm.

Sometimes big ideas come in small packages. It’s something James Hutchinson, co-founder and operator of Longley Organic Farm, knows all too well. James is making a huge impact in the microfarming space, not just with what he grows, but in the development of standardised systems and the supply of goods and equipment for other microfarmers.


Microfarming has been in existence since the earliest days of agriculture, it’s just been given a new name. Unlike other, larger farms, a microfarm looks to grow a larger variety of crop, on a smaller plot of land.


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Longley Organic Farm sits under the shade of Mount Wellington, an unusual location for a farm but ideally suited for James’s needs — growing up to 50 different crops throughout the calendar year.


Between the local families who have signed up to Longley Organic Farm’s subscription box to the list of Hobart restaurants who order his produce, James’s crops are in high demand. He finds having fresh, seasonal produce is key.


“The integrity of the nutritional value is greater, people are more connected with the grower, and so there's an added level of trust between the grower and the consumer,” says James. “I often have reports coming back from the members of our veggie box subscription saying what wonderful things that they've created.”


Longley Organic Farm, Tasmania


Noting growing industry trends, Shayne Elliott, CEO of ANZ, highlights the rising interest that consumers are having in food safety and quality, saying “People are worried about food safety and wanting to have that identity with where their food has come from”.


“There's a really strong move with the community on the whole towards understanding whether food comes from and wanting to have some sort of ownership over the processes that brings the food to their table,” James says.


“People are starting to understand that the soil is really paramount to the nutrient pathways in the food.”


It seems there’s more to soil than meets the eye and a good composting system can really help bring much needed nutrients, like carbon, back into the soil.


 “Often people think if they're presenting some compost they're adding carbon into the soil,” explains James. “But if the compost hasn't gone through a process of reunification by microbes — so by bacteria and cellulose digesting fungi — then the carbon isn't in a stable form and will impact back into the atmosphere.”


“We need to promote the life in the soil as much as possible.”


You can listen to the full conversation above, or check out the full list of where you can find our podcast here.



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