Fair Harvest is an established permaculture farm 5km out of Margaret River in Australia’s beautiful South West corner.
For over 20 years the property at the corner of Carters Rd and Burnside Rd Margaret River has been home to Permaculture in Margaret River.
The journey started in 1995 when Jodie and friends moved to the corner of the family property and started planting trees, at that stage the farm house, machinery shed (now Fair Harvest Venue) and the old barn stood in bare paddocks and were constantly buffeted by the weather.
While involved in community living and environmental activism the group started planting windbreaks, timber trees fruit trees and vegetable gardens. Structures went up for animal housing, woodsheds, garden sheds, orchard netting and poultry.
During this time Jodie started teaching Permaculture and groups frequently visited the property. Community living and growing continued on the farm until 2006. In 2009 Dorothee arrived at the farm as a WWOOFER and before long had teamed up with Jodie to make the formidable team that now run Fair Harvest Permaculture.
In 2012 the old machinery shed was cleverly redesigned and renovated as a venue for courses and events as well as housing a commercial kitchen for dealing with the increasing volume of food coming from the gardens.
Since then Fair Harvest has run numerous courses including the popular South West Permaculture Design Certificate. It has hosted music events, weddings and private functions and has opened it’s gates on a regular basis for freshly prepared organic lunches.
More recently Jodie and Dorothee have turned their hand to holistic, broad acre farm management, using cell grazing to improve soil and pasture on the farm.
Fair Harvest founders Jodie and Do are passionate food growers.
“We love sharing food with friends and family; there is nothing better than sitting around a table for a humble, home grown feast. We are also aware of the urgency with which we need to be growing food in every available space. We need to do this for the planet and for the expanding population. So while growing food is our love and our life it is also a conscious choice of ‘what we can do’ for the future.”
Jodie grew her first permaculture garden as a student in the city. When her parents bought land in the country she followed them and filled her life with growing food, family and community.
An inspirational educator and mentor, Jodie has an innate ability to empower others. Jodie studied for her Permaculture Design Certificate through Jeff Nugent and Julia Boniface and first led her own permaculture course in 1996. Jodie has taught both Horticulture Cert IV and Permaculture Cert III and in 2010 she obtained her Certificate in Advanced Permaculture Teaching. She also has studied Sustainable Community Design.
Although her love of gardening led her to study horticulture and permaculture, Jodie’s interest has always focused on community. She has facilitated a number of diverse community projects including: co-founding an Intentional Community; co-convening a not-for-profit; and running a Spinifex paper-making venture in a remote indigenous community. Most of her courses have also involved a community garden element. One of her favourite projects was establishing a public garden park in the centre of Margaret River. This local forest garden was designed, created and propagated by her students using endemic plants. Whether leading workshops, tending client’s gardens, or growing on the farm, Jodie’s energy motivates all those around her.
Certified in Horticulture, and with a background in events management, Do ran the successful gardening business ‘Jardin Do’ in London. She moved to Australia in 2009and brought her extraordinary vivacity, enthusiasm and determined French style to the farm. An experienced gardener but a novice to permaculture, she immersed herself studying, observing and growing food using permaculture principles. Her knowledge of plants, soils and compost systems is vast and ever growing, and she has revolutionised the farm garden. Spending time with Do in the garden is exhilarating… if you can keep up!
The Lane Family Farm
The story of the Lane family farm is a unique and very special one, and each family member has had an important part to play in the evolution of Fair Harvest.
The farm is 160 hectares of old dairy country in what was once Jarrah/Karri forest. Jodie’s parents Jann and Pete bought the land in 1987, just before Margaret River became recognized as a viticulture area. A large area of remnant bush was fenced off and the tree planting began. Two large eucalypt plantations were established and other areas set aside for rehabilitation projects.
Over the years, Jodie and her brothers have followed their parents to live together on the farm, along with their respective families. So now Jann and Pete are happily surrounded by trees, dorper sheep, beef cows, olive groves and three generations of family. The ever-growing family is an important, integral part of the farm and Fair Harvest projects.
A geologist and active environmentalist, Pete ran for the Greens WA in 2000. His book The Geology of Western Australian National Parks is a must for anyone travelling around the state. He has been an invaluable part of the fight against coal mining under our precious Margaret River. An avid mountain biker, Pete is also a co-organizer of the Margaret River Cycle Trek www.margaretrivercycletrek.com.au.
Surrounded by her progeny, Jann is the woman behind it all! Her love of friends, family, community and nature shines through her home and amazing garden. Jann is also a gifted artist and enjoys painting.
Paul has given wings to our new construction project with his expertise as an architectural draftsman. Paul is a top wave-sailor and the main organiser of the Margaret River Cycle Trek which raises money for the local environment centre. Paul also runs luxury chalets on the other end of the farm www.hilltopstudios.com.au.
A talented musician and teacher, Tony can pick up just about any instrument and make it sound great. Tony is a singer-songwriter, crafting his own original music, playing solo and in local bands. Tony’s music will be a part of the future of Fair Harvest. To find out more about Tony go to www.tonylane.com.au.
Rick has always been passionate about local flowering natives and has been responsible for some beautiful plantings around the farm. His first planting ‘the flowering Callistemon block’ is now our camping area and every year is covered in exquisite red bottlebrush.
Carters Road Community
Another important element that forms our history is the ‘Intentional Community’ that lived here for twelve years. Our community started during the forest rescue campaign in the old growth Karri and Jarrah forests of the South West. Between forest activists and WWOOFers we had a vibrant and ever-evolving group. We renovated the old shearing shed as a community house and made good use of all the old out-buildings. We established permaculture systems and fed an average of twelve people with fruit, vegies, eggs, dairy and meat.
While we learnt and achieved much, we could not secure a way for permanent housing on the land. Eventually part of the group bought land together in Denmark to follow that dream as the Eden Road Community.
Although the old ‘Carters Rd Community’ has moved on; community comes in many forms. We now focus on our local community, participating and providing ways for others to be active in a range of projects such as Permablitz.