Today we left bright and early for our departure from Calperum Station and made the long journey to Broken Hill. On our way, we made a stop at Mallyon’s on the Murray, a solar-powered organic farm.
After having some morning tea and rolls with some homemade organic jams, we met Nick, the owner of the farm and he spoke with us about running an organic farm “off grid”. By being off grid, he has to supply all of his own power from his own solar panels.
At the time he had purchased the solar panels, there was no incentive for using solar power so it had been rather expensive. However, he said he wanted to do it because he wanted to farm sustainably. As a result, he had to think very carefully about how he manages his farm and the equipment he uses. For example, he has special efficient appliances to ensure that his solar panels can meet the demand of his home and cafe.
As a result of his efforts, he’s had a really successful farm. The organic market of Australia is only 5%, and this is not enough to meet demand, so there’s plenty of demand and room to expand.
Among the difficulty of being off grid, Nick had to tackle other farming obstacles in Australia. A key one includes watering. His watering system pumps water from the Murray Darling but is closely inspected to and regulated to ensure there is no water being wasted. He also has to deal with the poor quality of the soil, in which he solves this problem by building up the organic matter.
Nick really opened our eyes as to how rough of an environment Australia firstly, and how to do it sustainably. But what was most important was that he was still able to do it. I found this to be quite an inspirational example of a true living/working sustainable lifestyle.