Deep Winter 2019 kicked off with a tour to four excellent farms. We visited Village Greens at the Aldinga Arts Eco Village, Nomad Farms at Finiss, Falkai Farm also at Finiss and Ngeringa Market Garden in Mount Barker.

Day One of the main event was opened by Georgina Williams, Senior Kaurna Woman of Water who welcomed us to country. Georgina was followed up with an inspirational talk from Walter Jehne who reminded us all of the crucial role farming can play in creating ecologically functional and resilant landscapes.

After lunch in the main hall we heard from James Ward, looking into the complex issue of scale and viability for market gardeners (especially in urban spaces), then Dick Richardson and Tom Bradman talking viability for cows, sheep and meat chooks.

Over in the CWA we had Emily Salkeld and Chris Duffy from Small World Bakery telling their story about how they started growing and milling their own grain for the bread they make and their thoughts about how a small scale grain economy could be established. Next up, Kirstie Jamieson from Beetaloo Gourmet Mushrooms and Michael Taylor from Primordia Mushrooms talking about the challenges of getting to a profitable scale in the world of small scale mushroom growing.

In the unconference session in the rec hall there was a session talking about building the movement of regenerative farmers and their supporters through local councils and service groups as well as social media. This session spoke about establishing a campaign to get people to commit to buying one item a week direct from a farmer and what that might look like.

On Sunday in the Willunga Football Club we had a double session with David Swain from Fino, Neil Rettalick from Co-op Barossa, Jenni Mitton from the Willunga Farmers Market, Kirsten Larsen from Open Food Network, Michael Wolstadt from The Dairyman and Hayden Rogers from Sunlands Farm. Discussion was around different strategies for selling to different customers and why different sales models work for different farms.

In the main hall we had market gardeners Andy Taylor from Ngeringa Market Garden, Hayden Rogers from Sunlands Farm, Falani Sofo from Living Earth Farm, Erin O’Callaghan from RADgrowers, Joyce Wilkie from Allsun Farm and John Butler from Heirloom Harvest talking about successful business strategies and approaches in market gardening.

Following up the market gardening session was Liam Brokensha from Splendid Egg, Kat Snoswell from Falkai Farm and Kane Van Dierman and Richard from Riverside Farm talking pastured eggs: challenges and successes.

The unconferencers spoke about collaborative models for accessing land and growing the pool of farmers. Harcourt Organic Cooperative, Ngeringa and Buena Vistam Farm are farms which have implemented a collaborative model for getting people’s small scale farm businesses going and have much to share with aspiring farmers and farms looking for people to better utilise their land resource.

The unconferencers also had a session about market gardening - please get in touch if you were there and you’d like to tell us what happened as we didn’t record anything.

On Monday a group of about 65 people also visited the Food Forest in Gawler to check out Annemarie and Graham Brookman’s small scale urban food system operating in a low rainfall environment. It was a great finish to a huge weekend!

Documentation of Deep Winter 2019

Two documents came out of Deep Winter 2019.

The first document which was produced - The Willunga Agrarian Declaration - was drafted by Tammi Jonai of Jonai Farm/the Australian Food Sovereignty Alliance. Attendees of Deep Winter and members of the Deep Winter Facebook page had the opportunity to contribute to the document. The final version is here.

The second is a summary of Walter Jehne’s talk which he kindly provided to us after the event. It can be downloaded here. Water has also provided us with a secondary document which expands on his 21 key actions to restore healthy water systems. Many of the examples are international but the explanations are still very relevant to us here in Australia! Excellent bedtime reading.

We are working on the audio recordings of the sessions and will update you all once they are edited and we work out the best way to make the files available.

A copy of the program can be downloaded here.