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Fighting Climate Change Tastes Great

Merri Bee Organic Farm

Merri Bee Organic Farm is a permaculture & ecosystem that’s been slowly developing over the past 25 years on the banks of the Blackwood River in Nannup, Western Australia. Owned and operated by Stewart Seesink, Bee Winfield and their young son Lee, the family is passionate about caring for their diverse range of vegetables and animals in the way nature intended; providing an alternative for people who care for the environment, animal welfare and their own health and vitality. Fully tree ripened fruit; vegetables grown naturally with compost; meat, eggs and dairy from animals that enjoy a quality natural lifestyle, with wholesome organic feed.

Bee & Stewart have seen the rainfall decline and conditions get harder over the years. Despite this their oaks, stone pines, pecans and poplars planted from seed all now tower above them. The soil and the biodiversity build up with every passing year, providing immense satisfaction for this natural living family.

Stewart has wide & varied experience in all aspects of farming, owning his first farm in Queensland at just 19 years of age. He has managed or worked on conventional dairies, piggeries, sheep and cattle stations and grown alfalfa, cereals, grains and sugar cane. 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, Stewart has embraced organic farming with huge enthusiasm. He finds great joy in growing tasty vegetables and unusual fruits. His rosella flowers are beautiful and make wonderful jam, and his heirloom tomatoes are second to none in flavour according to many of Merribee Farm’s happy customers.

Bee has been an organic grower for most of her 50 years. She recalls growing her first food plants at the age of 14: a comfrey, a sage and a pumpkin plant. Taking her first produce, a big Jarrahdale pumpkin on a surfing trip for a weekend she ate it raw for 3 days straight…despite her friends doubting her sanity, she always wanted to be a farmer!

Over the years Bee’s concerns grew in regard to food becoming an industrial commodity not safe to eat. Longer shelf life, more packaging, more additives and preservatives, people forgetting or not learning how to cook. As a teachers aide she saw children’s lunches change from a salad sandwich and fruit to many of the lunchboxes of today containing industrial foods full of artificial flavours and colours, biscuits and long shelf life “cheese” in little plastic compartments, and the “fruit rollup” which is 1 % fruit and a whole lot of sugar. Bee comments, “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.”

Bee strongly believes Permaculture holds the answers to the big challenges of our world: peak oil, climate change, and illness (both physical and mental).

She likes 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, turning the problem into a solution and creating habitats to increase biodiversity and wonder.

Bee writes…

If all the worlds’ arable lands turned organic tomorrow, 40% of atmospheric carbon would be sequestered to the soil via the sap of green plants. This happens best in an un-poisoned soil protected by mulch, as in permaculture, organic farms and gardens, and forest. This is the miracle beneath our feet, the topsoil on which all life on Earth depends. It teems with more than 50 million types of fungi and 50 million plus different types of soil microbes: some remove carbon from the air and store it in the soil as humus, some oxidise atmospheric methane and some find and deliver specific minerals to the plant. Synthetic fertilizers such as urea take enormous amounts of precious water and fossil fuel to manufacture and when applied, kill off soil life that would fertilize for free and keep our atmosphere in balance! Plants grown in chemically farmed soils may look good but are depleted in minerals. Why has cancer gone from being a rare disease affecting 1 in 100 people 50 years ago to now affecting 1 in 2 men? Conventional food has a fraction of the nutrient it had 50 years ago and contains a cocktail of pesticides.

By Permaculture gardening or supporting local farmers who foster soil life we can all be agents for increasing precipitation, cleaner air, a safer climate and increasing biodiversity. And you‘ll be avoiding  the poisonous GMOs, nano particles, pesticides, packaging and transport industrial food serves up.

If you would like to know more please contact Bee on 97561408, email beewinfield@westnet.com.au or visit the Merribee Organic Farm website: www.merribeeorganicfarm.net.au

Further Reading

The following is a list of Bee & Stewart’s favourite websites, which may be useful if you are interested in further reading…