Young family behind Margaret River Organic Farm offering ‘low-food-mile, carbon positive produce’ set to represent WA on national stage
The young family are all involved in the work-life of their farm; here Lawson is pictured with his eldest daughter Phoebe Armstrong after collecting eggs from their hand-raised pullets
A growing family of five offering ‘grass-fed-and-finished beef and vegetables for sale within a foodshed of fifty kilometres’ is set to represent the state after winning the Australian Government Landcare Farming Award at the 2019 Western Australian Landcare Awards.
With their three kids – including a newborn – Lawson Armstrong and Laura Bailey employ practices that nourish soils, water systems, and biodiversity on the 120 acre property.
Aiming to sequester carbon and restore a healthy water catchment & abundant productive pastures, the family move their high-welfare beef cattle and laying hens, daily. While using minimum till methods and planting native species to increase diversity, they also restored creekline vegetation along a tributary of Margaret River that flows through the property and preserve existing remnant bushland as a biodiversity sanctuary.
On top of that, the family connect with the local community by offering educational tours, workshops & events, from sustainable farming and eating to educating kids about native bee hotels.
‘As low income earners, we must look to low-input, low-cost solutions,’ said Laura. ‘Daily animal rotations have been our most successful management technique, and when finances allow, we are enriching pastures to encourage the next level of plant succession.
‘But the realities of having another baby have meant we’ve had to take a philosophical attitude to our farm’s growth. Flying solo with our farm and young family of five, we do not have the luxuries of a team of staff or extended family nearby to help, so often our challenges involve restricted human and capital resources. Our days are jam-packed nurturing our toddler, tween and teenager as well as our livestock and environment.
‘But using regenerative agricultural methods aiming to re-connect the dots between healthy country, healthy animals and healthy communities has helped us work at our own pace.’
Aus Government Landcare Farming Award – Margaret Organic Farmer. (L-R) Lawson and Laura with Keith Bradby OAM, Chair of WA Landcare Network
Margaret River Organic Farm will go on to represent WA while competing for the Australian Government Landcare Farming Award at the National Landcare Awards in 2020.
Dr Shane Norrish, CEO at Landcare Australia, commended the family on their outstanding accomplishments.
‘It’s an honour to be able to recognise the great work being carried out by Margaret River Organic Farm,’ said Dr Norrish.
‘A hugely deserved winner, they have not only significantly contributed to the protection of native flora and fauna species through on-ground, grassroots activities. But through their tireless work, Margaret River Organic Farm is nurturing the voices of international environmental leadership and we’re incredibly proud to help shine a light on their inspiring, important efforts.’