Who we are, What we do, Why we do it.
Life has a way of exploding doesn't it? Going through our Palate photo archive to find the images above made me realise how much time has passed, even since starting this project. So many fun times; veggies grown, meals eaten, jokes shared, poos cleaned (particularly lately since getting two dogs!) haha.
Priya and I fell in love at 15. We were cute cuddly teenagers at Cape Byron Steiner School in Byron Bay, getting in trouble from teachers for smooching at the bus stop and listening to pop punk music. It was a crazy time of life to meet your wife. I am endlessly grateful to our awesome friends for helping make us feel comfortable and supporting us. I mention those friends because they are probably the main people reading this. They still support us and help make our dreams come true. You are all so great, here's to another 15 years of fun!
Palate is the name of a project that started around 2012. At first it was just a name with the vague idea of doing creative work around food. Priya had finished Honours in fashion illustration and was looking for a way to express herself. I was running a video production business and we spent all of our money on food. We love food. It's yum isn't it? So good. The initial idea was to make short films and ads for restaurants/cafes. We made one or two. Then it was a 'Video Magazine', something that is basically unheard of but seemed like a good format for us. That lasted about a year, we made almost 40 short videos and met a lot of interesting like-minded folks. Then the real click happened, we were talking with a passionate group of designers turned food activists at The Field Institute. They told us the average age of the Australian farmer is 53. It took a little while to sink in but slowly we realised the gravity of that figure. "We could be farmers," Priya said. And essentially that was that. The journey to Palate Family Farm began.
We're not really farmers though, we live on a farm. I think that's the real dream we have been chasing, to live in the country surrounded by nature. Isn't that everyone's dream? Well maybe not everyone but it sure feels like the right thing to do for a lot of us. Living in the city for so many years we found ourselves sitting around talking about the country. I think the realisation that farming was an option just made the whole thing feel a bit more real. It gave us a purpose and cause. Now that we are out here farming seems like a big hill to climb. Something to work on slowly, a relationship with the land that takes time to grow strong and healthy. At this point it feels like the land is waking up, the green manure and Biodynamic Preparation 500 are strengthening the life in the soil. We are doing our best to bring air back to ground that has been suffocated by compression for decades.
Palate Family Farm is a homestead with a simple goal, to make a living from this property. Our ideals help us decide how best to approach that. Where possible we try to live in harmony with nature and natural processes. We also try not to get bogged down by modern guilt. Abundance is a word that gets used a lot in our house. Trying to follow the abundant trail, whether it leads us to greener pastures or the local tip. I think it also leads to a life full of constant change and learning. We are forever changing our minds.
For this reason it feels strange to put what we do and why we do it in writing. I know that I'll look back on this in a month or two and it will no longer be relevant.
Right now I'm really enjoying making things with wood that's fallen on our property, Priya is doing illustration and macrame, Olive is thriving in an unschooled environment and making up songs :) We have 2 stalls at the Castlemaine Bazaar; one is vintage and handmade while the other is exclusively kids stuff, see The Unschool. A handful of close friends are busily making crafts that we plan to sell online through Made By Friends. Our ten chooks are laying well so we've started a pancake stall at the Clunes Farmers' Market, selling simple hotcakes with butter and maple syrup. And that's it for now, I honestly can't wait to see what comes next.