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This website aims to develop case studies of the development of farming practices and attendant transformations of local ecologies of defined blocks of land. Through these biographies of particular plots of land we are developing localised analyses of the wider historical trends in the political economy/ecology of the Northern Rivers.

Go to: Early family history | Involvement with the Catholic Church | History from the 1950s | Dairying | Frank’s education | The history of the Bridge and naming of Boyle Road | Changes in the local area from the 1970s | Frank and Andrea meet | Moving out of dairying | Farmers’ markets | Rice | Raising awareness of food production | The future and the food movement | Farm forestry | Work ethic | The House

Raising awareness of food production

Frank: Definitely. Customers are always asking me, what stage is the rice up to? Where are the pecan’s at? You know. What, how do you grow? Different people all of the time and it is definitely making people more aware of where their food comes from and how it is produced. When we first started at the farmer’s markets it was, probably more, our customers were more people that were already educated. And it was a much smaller group then as well. The people that were sort of really interested in their food; and cared about how it was produced and where it came from. Whereas now that’s getting bigger. There are more people and the farmer’s markets are helping but there’s also a lot of other projects that in the media that have made people think about where their food comes from. So the farmer’s markets are helping but it’s not the only thing that’s making it known.

Like Sustain Northern Rivers, were you involved with them?

Frank: And the Northern Rivers Food Links; all that sort of stuff, and the other things that are happening and even bigger are the cooking shows. All that sort of stuff even though I’m not a big fan of them but its making people think more about their food. And actually cooking food, rather than just going out and buying it. Buying it pre-made. So I think the whole thing. And I feel that we’re right in the middle of that because we are actually producing food and being a little bit more appreciated of, of doing what we are doing; as farmers. Because you know I think that farmers in this country have been sort of derided, nearly, for what they do and not applauded for the fact that we are producing a fantastic product that keep people alive. And that’s changing. I remember going to New Zealand and I was with my brother when I was 18 years old and the farmers over there were, up there in society, held up, right up there as, with the professionals, the doctors and the lawyers because people over there, you know, appreciated what they were getting. They were getting good food whereas here, you come back here and you were just the scum of the earth, the farmers.

Did that make it a hard decision for you to decide to become a farmer? Were there other kids you’d gone to school with and other people who just thought you were mad doing that?

Frank: At the time I sort of probably didn’t think about it much I was probably, blind is probably too strong a word, but It’s just what I always wanted to do and I didn’t really think about the consequences, why I was doing it. And when I first started farming, when I left school and after I’d done ag college, I never envisaged being in the position I am in now; selling direct to our customers. So it evolved. And I suppose the thing is, maybe one thing I did learn from my family was that they were not that good at looking ahead and going with new, not that what I am doing is new technology but, you know changes in society, they sort of were quiet happy to just stick with tradition. And I think that’s one thing I did learn from them is look ahead, be prepared to give something a go.

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