Growing food for an entire village

Growing food for an entire village

Sophie is visiting the Aldinga Arts and Eco Village, which is home to about 400 people interested in sustainability.

Like many of her neighbours at the village, Lucy O’Connell was growing vegies in her backyards but long-term they wanted to set up a farm on the common land next door. They set up a farm plan for a market garden but had to bring in expert help to set it up – which is where Nat Wiseman comes in.

Nat is a young farmer who studied geography and chemistry at university before becoming interested in growing food. He’d been running an urban farm of just 200 square metres so had to quickly scale up his skills to manage the 2,000 square metres at Aldinga. Now covering 4,000 sqm (an acre) and called Willunga Village Greens, the farm is run as a commercial business supplying food to the village and elsewhere.

The land had been a horse paddock for years so carried a lot of couch grass and weeds. Nat did a lot of soil testing before adding gypsum, deep ripping, and adding organic matter.

It now grows garlic, potatoes, tomatoes, salad, beetroot, cucumbers, onions, capsicums, zucchini and more. “We grow a broad range so if one crop fails we can rely on others,” Lucy says.

Nat says the community support has been huge, which has encouraged him to grow crops such as sweetcorn that aren’t very profitable, but which are popular.

“We started out growing what we like to eat then refined it over time,” he says.

Excess food is sold at the local market but the farm’s focus is providing deliveries to the village. The farm also provides jobs for locals, and children from the village often come to help pick vegies.

“There’s such a disconnect between people and their food nowadays,” says resident and farm worker Karri Nott. “It’s really important to have this connection.”

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10 Comments

  1. Caesar La Rosa on May 23, 2022 at 8:11 pm

    Well done. Awesome. If I had the land I’d do the same in Vic. So much land where I live in the west but can’t afford to scale up. Very inspirational.

  2. Simon S on May 23, 2022 at 8:39 pm

    Great to see comments are allowed for an ABC video! Inspiring story!

  3. Kismet Rogue Fox on May 23, 2022 at 8:42 pm

    I would love to be a part of this!

  4. Muhammad Subhani on May 23, 2022 at 8:44 pm

    Very good and excellent farming and producing food for large number of people

  5. Thahn games on May 23, 2022 at 8:49 pm

    Look I get the story and all but they make it sound like rocket science to grow crops you don’t need a soil science degree to make compost…

  6. John Monck on May 23, 2022 at 8:53 pm

    I am so envious ! what a fantastic idea …I would give my skills for free ….and grateful I have the opportunity to actually post a comment..thank you so much for posting each week

  7. Netty Abbott on May 23, 2022 at 8:54 pm

    Throw those picked weeds back onto the veggie garden. Exellent Source of moisture & nitrogen.
    Looks good. Weldone.

  8. Amy DiDonato on May 23, 2022 at 8:56 pm

    My dream home

  9. Ace Hardy on May 23, 2022 at 8:59 pm

    👨‍🍳

  10. bullsnutsoz on May 23, 2022 at 9:05 pm

    What a great chick sneaking out and eating broad beans early morning: real laugh there thanks!

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