Derek and Fiona live and work about 40km from Guyra on the New England Tablelands of New South Wales.
As a lifelong farmer, Derek has embraced natural farming as a way to solve problems the chemicals weren’t fixing. For 20 years he also shared his farming experience as an instructor at TAFE Armidale. Now he teaches courses in organic farming, helping farmers to apply organic and biologically enhancing principles to their own farms.
Fiona originally came from Sydney and has developed her personal passion for ecologically balanced farming into a free-range egg enterprise that supplies cafes in the local area as well as city grocery stores. On their own farm they currently run beef cattle, free range layer hens and prime lambs.
Derek also manages the 100 acre property, nearby, where he grew the buckwheat for Kialla. When the current owner Stefan bought the land a few years back it was in a terrible state from over-farming. He invited Derek in to manage it because, as his student, he knew that Derek was the best man for the job of restoring the soil and biodiversity of the property he’d just bought. It can take a fair amount of money and effort to restore degraded farm land however, for Derek and the farmers he works with, it’s well worth the effort.
Having made his name in soil balancing and regenerative agriculture, Derek consults for large and small farming operations nationwide. And he ensures the soil, animals and therefore the produce from his own farming enterprises are also balanced, healthy and nutritious.
Derek and Fiona’s intention is to leave the land in better shape for their children. They know it’s possible and they are helping other farmers achieve the same results.