Merri Bee Organic Farm is a Permaculture that's been developing slowly for 25 years on the banks of the Blackwood in Nannup. It is our proud family - run organic farm and home for us - Stewart Seesink, Bee Winfield and our gorgeous son Lee.
We've seen the rainfall decline and conditions get harder due to climate change (yes it's real). Yet the oaks, the stone pines, the pecans and poplars I planted from seed tower above us now. The soil and the biodiversity builds up with every passing year, and that is immensely satisfying. Thanks to our many loyal customers - who have discovered what food is meant to taste like, for their unwavering support which allows us to keep growing.
We have enormous admiration and gratitude to Bill Mollison, founder of permaculture, for his positive thinking , prodigious research into sustainable living practices, and tireless public education efforts. Thanks Bill, your the BEST!
Hi I am Bee and I have been an organic grower for most of my 50 years. I remember growing my first food plants when I was 14: a comfrey, a sage and a pumpkin plant. I took my first produce, a big Jarrahdale pumpkin on a surfing trip for the weekend and ate it raw for 3 days straight. My friends thought I was pretty mad. I always wanted to be a farmer.
Over the years I've seen food become an industrial commodity that isn't safe to eat. Longer shelf life, more packaging , more additives and preservatives, people forgetting or not learning how to cook. As a teachers aide I saw kids lunches change from a salad sandwich and fruit years ago to the standard lunchbox of today which contains industrial food like substances full of fake flavours and colours, bickies and long shelf life "cheese" in little plastic compartments, and the "fruit rollup" which is 1 % fruit and a whole lot of sugar. Sadly a lot of that sugar is high fructose corn syrup, from genetically modified corn. Most foods in the supermarket contain GM soy. There is now a large area in the staffroom devoted to photos and names of children who have severe food allergies and or asthma. Autism in the US and here is growing at an alarming rate, ADD and ADHD is common. More and more research is finding links from pesticide to impaired cognitive development in children.
I believe Permaculture holds the answers to the big challenges of our world: peak oil, climate change, and illness (both physical and mental). Did you know 80% of our taxes in Australia are spent on the Health system?
I like the main principles of Permaculture which are "Care of Earth" and "Care of people", through which we become responsible for our own health and our own waste, we turn the problem into the solution and we create habitats to increase biodiversity and wonder. Geoff Lawton ( see links) says "you can solve ALL the world's problems in a garden" . How very true.
Stew has wide experience in all aspects of farming and has managed or worked on conventional dairies, piggeries, sheep and cattle stations. He has grown alfalfa, cereals, grains and sugar cane. Stew owned his first farm in QLD at the age of 19. He worked for his father for many years constructing dams, roads and house pads...in fact he met Bee when he delivered her a load of gravel.
Since meeting Bee in January 2004, Stew has embraced organic farming with great enthusiasm. He finds great joy in growing tasty veges and unusual fruits. His rosella flowers are beautiful and make wonderful jam, and his heirloom tomatoes are second to none in flavour. Stew particularly likes the social contact with his customers at markets and at the farm.
He has completed a Permaculture Design Course with Geoff Lawton and Darren Doherty, and posesses a wealth of knowledge when it comes to farm design.
Above all this, but Stew is a really nice guy. Says Bee, "Stewart is the man of my dreams who makes all my big ideas possible."