We, Tim and Deri-Anne, started Angelica Organic Farm, our mixed vegetable market farm, 12 years ago. We started with a serious passion for high quality, traditionally produced, local, seasonal food, as well as reverence for highly skilled producers. Inspired originally through our combined 20+ years working in good restaurants, we have been growing food over those years in a way that aligns with our values of environmentally sound and regenerative farming and food production, collectively and meaningfully feeding and being part of our community, earning an honest living, and leaving a positive legacy for future generations of farmers and eaters to come. Now, following the most difficult season to 18+ months in our farm's history, we are asking for our community's help to ensure we can continue to contribute to a fair food future. There have been a series of harmful events which have either combined or their impacts amassed to create the current dire situation we are facing (as opposed to ‘a bad season’…)
We have found we’ve become, as 1st generation farmers, trail blazers in the small scale regenerative farming world, helping pave the way for a whole new generation of farmers.
From our passion, commitment and literally blood, sweat and tears, we’ve built this highly regarded organic farm from scratch. First supplying Central Victoria and then expanding to supply Melbourne farmers’ markets, as well as to top local and Melbourne restaurants. We have been directly supplying to community who care about their food and its producers.
We have won multiple awards for our uncommonly delicious garlic and vegetable varieties since 2010 - Delicious Magazine Produce Awards (garlic and veg) and Royal Agricultural Society Victoria (garlic) awards.
Our most recent and one of our most rewarding initiatives, is our Community Supported Agriculture (CSA) program, started last year, which currently feeds 65 households for a 28 week season. It also has shown us how much communities want to connect with and support small, regenerative farmers.
Our customers and community know us. They know who their farmer is and how their food is grown. We continually receive amazing positive feedback from all our different eaters, cookers and other growers – we are not a faceless label or barcode.
Many of you, have been following our story for a while now and have witnessed our resilience as we’ve ridden out many tough times over the years and solved loads of significant problems.
However, this 2016-2017/18 season, has seen us hit with a perfect storm of back-to-back set- backs (not just weather calamities). Much needed land leasing and crop plantings were significantly delayed, multiple irrigation equipment breakdowns in the middle of summer, threat of being shut down from a neighbour complaint, staffing difficulties, the loss of 50% of our award winning annual garlic crop, all recently rounded off with consecutive heavy frosts depleting more crops – these events have all resulted in our toughest season yet.
We’ve lost crops valued in the tens of thousands of dollars. An amount a small farm business like ours, just can’t cover at the tail end of a season. Normally, a strong finish to the season at this time of year allows us to get by until the new season’s income starts.
We have pulled out all stops to manage and mitigate the impacts of this disastrous confluence of events but having exhausted all our options, we are now facing the reality that we may have to close Angelica Organic Farm by the end of August.
This would be heartbreaking for us – we want to fight to keep farming.Farming is our life.
We want to keep on providing you top quality veggies but to do that, it is now time for us to ‘swallow’ our pride, and ask for your help.
So, rather than suddenly announcing Angelica Organic Farm’s closure, we wanted first to reach out to our supporters and give our community a chance to help?
This is very hard for us to do, but we believe in the power of community and we have a reinvigorated plan going forward, to ensure we could keep doing this well in to the future.
Our remaining options….
OPTION 1: Close down our farm at the end of August. Sell what we can, walk away with literally nothing and get other jobs towards paying down an estimated $50K+ in remaining debt. We may have no choice in the end, but we want to fight to keep farming. We’ve worked too hard, sacrificed and invested too much, gathered an appreciable range of experience-based farming and business skills and still have so much more to contribute.
OPTION 2: Reach out for help and support from our community. To stay farming, we estimate that it will cost approx $85K for us to get through up to December. This is a lot of money to cover, we realise that.
With the benefit of yet another year of experience, we have new insights in to re-modelling our farm and business plan.With the support of some sound business advice we’ve worked out a plan to run a more financially resilient farm to match our ecological resilience, come what may, with the CSA being a part of that plan. This will result in a few changes to how much and what we plant each season, and a continued commitment to community-supported agriculture.
A little bit of help from a large number of supporters will go a long way towards us turning our circumstances around, enabling our farm to live on and keep growing to provide many more years of wonderful, tasty, healthy produce to our community and meaningful livelihoods for ourselves and the local people we employ on the farm.
Any amount you donate will go towards paying our farm hands, clearing debts on critical equipment, help us pay bills over these lean cash flow months on our way to a new season, and then be in a position to pay for some of our new season seed and seedlings. It would be a new beginning for Angelica Organic Farm and we’d be eternally grateful.
Anyone kind enough to help out, is also welcome to email us at: [email protected]
Many thanks and best regards,
Deri-Anne and Tim Wyatt.
Angelica Organic Farm