I’m Victoria Meyer and I’m doing a 4-month internship at Mount Alexander Fruit Gardens (MAFG) with Katie and Hugh Finlay. My internship is through the Organic Federation of Australia and it is a great program. I jumped at the opportunity to live and work full time on a certified organic farm, learning about all aspects of successfully running one. Katie and Hugh are wonderful mentors, making sure I gain a wide variety of practical and business skills while mentoring me to start my own enterprise. I have developed many new skills already including grafting, pruning, making compost tea, and using machinery.
I have also learnt from MAFG that applying for awards and putting myself ‘out there’ is an important part of professional development. So I’ve applied for the ‘Rising Star’ Farmer of the Year Award as part of National Organic Week. It’s a consumer choice award, meaning it’s up to the public to vote for the winner. Winning this would be a fantastic step forwards for me in developing my own enterprise and making connections in the organics industry.
It’s been quite a journey to get to this point and I am so happy to have realized I want to be an organic farmer. I feel fortunate coming from a family where growing food and eating seasonal produce is valued. Through that I have become passionate about organics and worked in the retail side of the industry for 12 years. After finishing my degree in science and sustainability, it was clear that one of the most important things for all aspects of human and environmental health is the way we produce food. Since graduating I have completed a Permaculture Design Course, a Certificate III in Horticulture, and have been working on organic farms to expand my skills and knowledge.
I am now ready to start my own organic farming enterprise, which is exciting because there is nothing I would rather be doing. My dream is to have a small-scale, no more than 1 acre, bio-intensive annual vegetable and heritage fruit tree farm on leased land near Adelaide. I will grow a diverse range of vegetables, herbs and edible flowers to provide nutritious and affordable food to the local area. Plus I’ll be sequestering carbon in the soil though caring for my soil and helping to mitigate climate change. Awesome! I also plan to run workshops to help other young people develop skills and find their pathway into organic farming.
I hope my story inspires more people to get involved in growing food. If you’d like to support me as I begin my farming journey, you could ‘Like’ my brand new Facebook page – called Hum Along Farm https://www.facebook.com/humalongfarm?fref=ts, – and vote for me in the ‘Rising Star’ award at http://www.organicweek.net.au/core/organic-consumer-choice-awards/rising-star-farmer-of-the-year/. Oh, and I’ll be starting my own blog soon…stay tuned, and thanks for voting for me!