Augusta Margaret River Times

ORGANIC AMBITION

- Warren Hately

Rosa Brook farmers Laura Bailey and Lawson Armstrong, pictured with daughter Isabel, 2, are hosting SBS chef Matthew Evans for a talk in Margaret River next Saturday night. The move comes as the couple’s business, Margaret River Organic Farmer, seeks final organic certificat­ion.

Margaret River Organic Farmer’s Lawson Armstrong and Laura Bailey will host a conversati­on with acclaimed SBS chef Matthew Evans in Margaret River next weekend.

Discussion­s around Evans’ new book, On Eating Meat, come as the local small-scale producers look for support from residents for their upcoming range of ethical and organic meats.

Mr Armstrong told the Times the Rosa Brook farmstead was interested in pursuing “community-supported agricultur­e” in which consumers pledged support for acquiring local beef before the product was for sale.

“People would pay for the product before the animal is actually processed, so they are committing and buying a certain amount of meat when it is ready, which gives the farmer greater reliabilit­y,” he said.

He said the four-year-old company was closing in on the final stages of organic certificat­ion, running a small herd of 26 cows on its Jingdon-Treeton Road farm.

The process required the herd to be raised from calves, with organic practices overseen throughout.

Ms Bailey said the small producers already practised “beyond the standards”, and she was upbeat about the prospects of the new “high-welfare” meat range in the coming months.

Mr Lawson said the region had some obstacles to overcome in the process, with a lack of shared slaughteri­ng and packing facilities, as well as more tangible ways for small producers to throw in together for economies of scale.

The farmers offered to host Evans in Margaret River because the chef’s new book outlined a similar philosophy on ethical meat consumptio­n to the one they practised themselves.

“It’s an excellent book, and it’s got some fantastic messages about eating meat,” Ms Bailey said.

The couple urged consumers to move away from factory farming-type livestock products and embrace more wholesome dining, with grass-fed beef regaining popularity of late as shoppers sought high-quality proteins with healthy fats.

That message would be underscore­d during next weekend’s event at Stay Margaret River, where Evans would have an on-stage conversati­on with Yallingup-based naturopath Sally Gray, they said.

“Her speciality is children and their health,” Ms Bailey said.

She said healthy fats and protein were best sourced from ethically produced products, with local produce having the added bonus of low food miles, and thus fewer carbon emissions.

The talk with TV program Gourmet Farmer host Evans will be followed by a question-andanswer session, as well as a book signing.

The July 13 talk starts at 6.30pm and tickets are available online through Eventbrite.

To contact Mr Armstrong, email lawson@mrorganicf­arm er.com.

People would pay for the product before the animal is actually processed, so they are committing and buying a certain amount of meat when it is ready, Lawson Armstrong

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 ?? Picture: Warren Hately ?? Laura Bailey and daughter Isabel, 2, and partner Lawson Armstrong, are the faces behind Margaret River Organic Farmer, with the help of Jasper the dog.
Picture: Warren Hately Laura Bailey and daughter Isabel, 2, and partner Lawson Armstrong, are the faces behind Margaret River Organic Farmer, with the help of Jasper the dog.

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