Little Bunyip Farm in Watervale, South Australia is run by Chris Nuss and Ella McHenry. We met in Alice Springs in 2008 and after a few adventures decided that running a farm was a good way for Chris to realise his desire to work from home and design beautiful systems and for Ella to do something meaningful with her hands. Running a small scale farming business from home also means we can both spend time with our amazing daughter Sylvia and that she can grow up eating real food and having lots of adventures outside with the resident bunyips…
Both of us are inspired by the idea of regenerative farming – connecting growing food with improving the land so it can support people and other life forms. Being here means we’re putting this into practice, in our local context, with the resources we have available to us, right now. It’s much more interesting (and difficult) than talking and thinking about what could be done or should be done by someone else!
Ultimately we believe that healthy food for humans comes from a healthy landscape and healthy plants and animals. Feeling healthy and alive for us is also about feeling connected with like minded people, having fun, being part of a local community and doing work which is ‘part of the solution’. And on a practical note, we need to earn a decent living from doing it so we can put our full attention into making this enterprise awesome and inspiring to us and others.
How does growing mushrooms and microgreens fit into this? Both are fast turn-around, high value crops which we can grow with the rainwater we can collect from our shed roof! They’re also a good fit with our technical abilities and attention to detail and not too many other folks were growing them when we got started. As we move beyond the start-up phase of the business we’re confident we can keep supporting ourselves selling these crops. And by that stage we will have had a few seasons to observe the landscape around us so we can utilise the rest of our land appropriately. Many of our original ideas about what we would do here have already changed as we observe and interact with this special place that’s now home!
So for the moment we’re enjoying honing our mushroom and microgreen growing skills, drinking cups of tea and exploring what it is for our family to live here in the Clare Valley.