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Paul Morgan and Myrna Powell

Host Profile

    My Property

    Property Name

    Heartwood Farm

    Business Type

    Hobby Farm

    Farming methods

    Organic

    Short Property Description

    Heartwood Farm is a 7 acre property at Newrybar in the Byron Bay Hinterland. The farm includes a mixed orchard, an intensive market garden, pasture, and a rainforest revegetation project, all managed organically.  WWOOFers will be exposed to the techniques of intensive organic fruit and vegetable production, including green manuring, composting, and crop rotation, along with rainforest regeneration. Heartwood is still in its development phase, so WWOOFers will also be exposed to a sustainability-focused design process emerging from landscape and climate observations of this unique location.

    Full Property Description

    Heartwood Farm is a 7 acre property at Newrybar in the Byron Bay Hinterland. The farm includes a mixed orchard an intensive market garden, pasture and a rainforest revegetation project. This area enjoys a subtropical climate with about 1800 mm of rain annually, and Heartwood sits on the rich volcanic soils of the Alstonville Plateau. The farm design and management have been developed from an initial landscape analysis as well as ongoing observations of the local climatic and environmental processes. We have about an acre devoted to intensive production of organic vegetables, with produce sold from a roadside stall at the front of the property.

    The orchard includes citrus, nut trees, stone fruit and subtropical fruits. At the rear of the property on ground too steep for cultivation, 3000 trees have been planted as part of an indigenous rainforest revegetation. These young trees increase the farm’s biodiversity and contribute to restoration of the Big Scrub, once the largest area of subtropical rainforest in Australia, but now largely gone.

    Pasture on the property is managed using a regenerative agriculture approach harvesting mulch and green manure in order to supplement soil organic matter in the more intensively cropped areas of the property. The front part of the property is being developed into an organic flower garden. Paul has been designing, building and managing gardens for over 40 years. He is fascinated by the unfolding process of collaboration with nature that is gardening. The property plan draws on the design principles and strategies of permaculture. However, there is no endpoint, no final product in mind, just a never ending process of growth and change. Tuning into the natural processes and working with them to produce food  and increase the biodiversity on this little bit of land that is at the heart of our approach here. Myrna is passionate about cooking, particularly in turning our organic farm produce into delectable vegetarian meals.

    WWOOFers will be exposed to the techniques of landscape process observation, intensive organic vegetable cultivation and orchard management, green manuring and crop rotation, rainforest regeneration, plant propagation. Those with their own transport are able to explore the extraordinary landscape and alternative culture of the Northern Rivers district, including the Nightcap Ranges World Heritage Area and Mount Warning, the renowned surf beaches of the Far North Coast, and the creative hubs of the Byron hinterland and Mullumbimby. Those without motorised transport are able to explore nearby beaches and the rolling hills and backroads and lanes of the fertile Alstonville Plateau on our electric bikes.

    Organic/Biological methods we use

    Green manuring, crop rotation, composting, seed saving, mulching, companion planting, biological pest management, focus on biodiversity, landscape process observation

    Special Conditions

    Heartwood is located close to the backpacker and surfing Mecca of Byron Bay. However, there is no public transport connecting us to Byron. So unless you have your own transport, you are unlikely to see much of that scene, particularly the nightlife. We do not to go into Byron much, although we do get to the quieter beaches nearby now and then.

    Skills WWOOFers can learn here

    Organic practices & techniques, Gardening, Composting, Propagating, Pruning, Soil conservation, Mulching, Wild Food Foraging, Mechanical, Using & caring for tools, Fencing, Handyman

    My Details

    Name

    Paul Morgan and Myrna Powell

    Partners Name

    Myrna

    Gender

    Couple

    The Stay

    Can Accommodate

    2 WWOOFers

    Preferred length of Stay

    3-7 days, Longer stays by negotiation

    Accommodation

    Caravan

    Other options

    No Smoking Inside, Children allowed by arrangement

    Meal Procedures

    Share most meals

    Languages spoken

    English, Italian

    Diets we cater for

    Vegetarian meals

    Why I became a WWOOF Host

    We are getting on in years, and need some assistance with the work required in running an intensive smallholding. Paul, who does most of the farm work, worked in horticulture and landscaping for over a decade, 30 years ago, before a career change to the healthcare industry. He has been gardening for 45 years, first developing an interest in alternative agriculture (organic and permaculture) in the 1970s. He has established school and community vegetable gardens in Sydney, and spent 20 years involved in a community bush regeneration project. While he is still very much learning particularly about commercial market gardening, he wishes to pass on his horticultural knowledge and skills. Myrna has a long history of hosting young people from all over the world, and is passionate about cooking and the sharing of food. Our farm provides a great opportunity to indulge in these activities. We are situated 10 minutes drive from the beach and 15 minutes from Byron itself. However public transport is non-existent, and the stay is best suited to someone with their own transport. The best we can offer is an electric bike to get you into Byron and back.

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