This is a picture of a busload of farmers and supporters on Fat Pig Farm, where this year's DEEP WINTER AGRARIAN GATHERING was held in Cygnet, Southern Tasmania.
This is the 4th year running - each year perfectly shaped by the community of farmers and allies from that area that volunteer their time, energy and resources to organise everything. They pull together a group of people that otherwise connect via social media from their isolated farm bubbles. This is our tribe. Individuals and families from around the country that grow food (veggies, meat, dairy, eggs, fruit, grain) promote, distribute and cook it - aiming to bring people closer to ethical production, to conscious eating and to the ecology we all rely on - a group of people constantly searching for better ways to be sustainable and regenerative in their production and relationships in a world long down a road forcing food to be grown for logistics and transport and convenience.
This year was themed LONGEVITY, and was about making decisions for quality of life, about mitigating/preventing burn out and whole landscape management. It included guidance for growing your own ethics, about powerful marketing, the unspoken story of processing meats, questioning what we are doing to be sustainable - from inputs and land/water use, to legislation for packaging and consumer expectations. It welcomed LGBTQIA farmers to express their fears of attending something like Deep Winter let alone farming in an isolated or rural community, it was for discussion and action on the need for organic and reliable Australian seed production, it was inspiration from an organic farmer who was in his 47th year of growing veggies, it was about bush foods and sharing land with traditional owners - learning that longevity and having total respect of the indigenous groups of this land surviving two ice ages.
We visited farms and were inspired by the deep commitment our growers have to the earth and the people they support. We partied like no-tomorrow at Fat Pig Farm to a local zydeco band, and the local cidery (of course! We were in the Huon Valley, no less!), and we marvelled at the incredible views and landscape of southern Tasmanian Channel country, and the clear, crisp starry nights.
We left the weekend grateful - with warm hearts, bellies full of amazing food, inspired minds and a good dose of hugs. Where to from here? An inclusive, open, knowledge-sharing movement that is to walk united towards a healthy planet and a healthy people. VIVA! *
*adapted from / inspired by Erika Watson's wonderful facebook post.