OR­GANIC AM­BI­TION

Augusta Margaret River Times - - Front Page - 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 law­[email protected]­gan­ic­farm 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

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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