Where Your Food Comes From: Echo Valley Farm

Where Your Food Comes From: Echo Valley Farm

Get To Know the Legends at Echo Valley Farm

Ever wonder about the hands that lovingly tend to the animals providing your mouthwatering meat and eggs? Look no further than Randal and Juanita, the dynamic duo behind Echo Valley Farm, where every blade of grass, every cluck, and every oink is a testament to their deep connection with the land and the animals they care for.

Randal and Juanita's journey began a decade ago with their kids Eli and Brydie when they made the bold decision to uproot their lives and embark on a regenerative farming adventure on Bundjalung country. Armed with little more than a vision and a determination to heal the land, they set out to breathe new life into a landscape ravaged by years of degradation.

Randal spent three days with a man called Joel Sutton learning about stacked integrated farming systems. As a result of those three days, he decided that this was what he wanted to do for the rest of his life. 

They moved onto a pretty rundown farm. It had spent 150 years under the plough, experiencing soil degradation and chemical use and they came out there specifically with the intention to try to turn that around and to heal the landscape. And in doing that, they began to build deep and intimate relationships with those animals in the landscape. 

“So how does that look? We were what you would call nomadic farmers, constantly moving our livestock. We like to celebrate the chookiness of the chook, allowing them to scratch and poo and do what they do.”

Picture this: 3,000 chickens housed in mobile sheds, relocated weekly to fresh grass, where they scratch, poo, and fertilise to their heart's content. Behind them, the cows graze, their munching triggering an amazing process of grass regrowth and carbon sequestration, a dance of herbivores and plants to heal the landscape. When a cow bites off a piece of grass, that grass regrows and sequesters carbon from our atmosphere 7 times faster than if you made it with the lawn mower; a testament to the power of that natural evolution of a herbivore and plants working together to heal our landscape. 

“I heard the other day that there was an offer of millions of dollars for anyone that could invent a carbon scrubbing machine. But the reality is, if we just look to nature, it already exists. So using animals, and allowing the cowiness of the cow to fully express itself is what has enabled us to turn a bare soil.”

When they moved to the farm, there wasn't a blade of grass in sight. It was ploughed up like any other conventional farm ready to plant the monoculture crop. Now, they have multiple species of grasses and herbs, that have come back over 10 years of management. On the first day they arrived, they went digging to find earthworms and couldn't find one. In the first 12 months, in fact, they couldn't find a single earthworm. In the last year, in one shovel hole, they found 29 earthworms. 

But it doesn't stop there. They also have pigs that have a natural composting system. Randal and Juanita take the food waste from the city of Brisbane, transport it back to the farm, and put it through their “4-legged compost bins.” Their pigs then turn it into compost and deposit it onto the landscape, bringing nutrition back to the soil. That nutrition flows down through the landscape.

“While it’s easy to get composting wrong, pigs are remarkable at it. 24 hours, and they get it right every single time. So, we use them as tools to heal our landscape.”

They also spent some time learning about holistic management. And, from that, they developed their Four Goods test; before they do anything, they ask themselves, “Is what we want to do good for the animal? Is it good for the landscape? And is it good for the farmer?” If they can answer yes to all three of those questions, they know for sure it will be good for the people that they feed. 

“Once upon a time, farmers and eaters walked hand in hand. That relationship was deep and intrinsic. Now that has been lost. And so something that we believe as farmers is that if we're to heal the food system, that relationship needs to be re-established.”

Their dedication doesn't go unnoticed. Randal and Juanita invite you, the eater, to forge a deeper connection with the food you consume, to join them on their journey through Community Supported Agriculture (CSA). As CSA members, you become shareholders in the farm, sharing in its risks and rewards, and nurturing a bond that transcends mere transactions.

So, if you're ready to support the incredible work of Randal and Juanita, dive into the abundance of Echo Valley Farm. Whether it's through purchasing their produce or joining their CSA, you'll become part of a community committed to regenerative agriculture and nourishing relationships.

And let's not forget the magic of experiencing Echo Valley firsthand. From seasonal farm tours to tree planting days, there are plenty of opportunities to immerse yourself in the rhythms of farm life and witness the transformative power of regenerative farming practices.

To learn more about their journey, their CSA program, and upcoming events like seasonal farm tours and tree planting days, visit their website and get involved in the incredible story of Echo Valley Farm. 

Next seasonal farm tour: 21st July

Echo Valley Farm produce can be purchased on our website here.

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