Simone Jelley labored as an promoting photographer for Queensland Newspapers till 2013, when she and all of the others in her division had been made redundant in a matter of days.
It was her husband Dave – who Simone lovingly refers to as her ‘enabler of desires’ – who prompt that she take a while off to have some enjoyable with a newly found ardour for gardening. ‘It rapidly grew to become an obsession, completely consuming my world and with it, cast an unbelievable driving power with fierce momentum of its personal’, says Simone. Quickly she sought out the strangest, rarest and most uncommon vegetation to develop, and by 2014 Simone was ‘farming’ their Macleay Island block in Moreton Bay, and two different neighbouring properties. In 2015 she signed her first farm lease on adjoining Lamb Island, and her second shortly after.
However regardless of a lifelong love of flowers, Simone’s ‘down the rabbit gap’ second began with a weed. ‘I found that the “weed” I had been preventing in my backyard was Gotu Kola (Centella asiatica), an historic Ayervedic herb and being researched for therapeutic advantages’, she says. This discovery prompted Simone to analysis the edibility of all the pieces, and armed with this data, she started to construct leaf mixes and edible flower merchandise that led her to promoting on to among the finest tremendous eating cooks within the nation, in addition to locals and wholesale suppliers.
Simply a few years after she had began ‘enjoying round’ within the backyard, Simone was successful nationwide produce awards! In 2016 she received the Scrumptious Produce Awards Nationwide Gold Medals, a title she held once more in 2017, and was a Queensland State winner in 2018. ‘Getting round producing world class produce to one of the best cooks at a big scale, with restricted water, transient labour power and difficult weather conditions was all of the “apprenticeship” wanted to be discovered rapidly’, she says.
In 2017, Simone and Dave hit a fork within the highway after operating out of water and shutting down the farm lease. ‘A connection was made to a “co-investor” group who provided to ‘home’ Fairly Produce on their land within the Northern Rivers of New South Wales’, tells Simone. ‘Over six months I transported each final one in every of my vegetation, instruments, seeds and processing gear to the farm. By early 2018, they’d shut the gates, saved all my IP (I managed to save lots of my valuable seeds) after which proceeded to start out their very own edible flower enterprise’.
This utterly gutted Simone. However after lots of deep pondering, she realised that she was nonetheless in love with farming, and wished to present it one other crack. It was Dave, once more, who mentioned the choice of promoting up his dream dwelling –which he constructed together with his personal fingers – to start out in search of their very own farm for the way forward for Fairly Produce.
After a yr of exploration, Simone and Dave discovered the brand new web site on the fringes of Lamington Nationwide Park in South East Queensland, positioned on the Canungra Creek. The way in which Simone describes it appears like a dream. ‘We’ve got platypus, eagles, turtles, fish, frogs and wallabies. Mist rises and rolls, ebbs and flows alongside the ridges many of the yr so it seems like we too are cocooned contained in the rainforest. Cool nights, scorching days. Excellent rising circumstances for edible flowers. I really feel so very humble to be given an opportunity to be a caring steward of this Yugambeh peoples’ Nation’ she says.
It’s right here that Simone and Dave have discovered their sanctuary for Fairly Produce. As a passionate advocate for chemical free agriculture, Simone believes wholeheartedly in in search of regenerative and non-harmful options in relation to meals manufacturing, and considers it her duty to guide by instance. ‘I hope that our little farm is like an ark and an oasis to all wildlife that come to hunt harbour. I hope that this message from somebody truly doing it, practising it, proving that it might certainly work will encourage a brand new technology of like minded farmers and growers who also can construct arks within the agricultural panorama’, she says.
Simone recognises the therapeutic great thing about the farm and its surrounds, and hopes to share it with others. In future she’d prefer to welcome guests via Vacation spot Scenic Rim Farm Trial days, and discover the therapeutic properties of flowers in inventive initiatives that carry agriculture right into a therapeutic framework. She additionally desires to supply on-line portals that present each day entry to the flower farm for these of us cooped up within the metropolis.
Regardless of the challenges Simone, Dave and Fairly Produce have confronted in the previous few years, Simone describes ‘the overriding essence of pleasure, love, surprise and creativity’ because the metaphorical 4 corners of their farm. And on the coronary heart of all of it, Fairly Produce is constructed on the love and help of this husband and spouse duo.
‘Dave is the rationale I might have achieved a lot. He isn’t a flower farmer. But he actually strikes heaven and earth to make my desires blossom into actuality’.
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