Ian Hoddinott

Host Profile

    My Property

    Business Type

    Commercial Farm

    Farming methods

    Organic

    Short Property Description

    We are nestled at the base of the Great Dividing Range north east of Toowoomba, Queensland on 10 acres of sandy loam creek flat, but we also use a further 32 acres across the creek. We raise cows, goats and chickens through managed grazing while developing a market garden for flowers, vegetables and fruit using no-till, organic, regenerative approaches.

    Adjoining our sandstone house is a granny flat which looks out on the ornamental gardens and pool. We also have a table tennis table, a pool table and an air hockey table for recreational activities. We have a fire pit for cool evenings outside and a set of swings for visiting kids.

    A spare vehicle may be available for trusted guests. Across the road is the community sports ground and picnic area with basketball and tennis courts, playing oval and children’s play equipment. The mountains to the west and north across the creek are enjoyed for the walks, bike riding tracks and the magnificent views they afford.

    Organic/Biological methods we use

    I recently left my education career where I had been teacher, department head and consultant, to farm. The profile pic above is last year’s teacher photo but now as farmer I look less civilised. My timetable now is demanding, but it’s mine, and while I miss the joy of promoting critical thinking in teenage minds, I relish the wonders of the natural world. I stood in pastures after rain in December and celebrated the intrinsic magic of the success of such practices, for example, as having diversity of species. The grasses, legumes, forbs and brassicas supported with their sugar exudates, a similar diversity of microbiology in the soil, and they, reciprocally, were feeding the plants. This is nature’s way: microbes convert non-soluble nutrients into a soluble form for plants to access. It was lush. My visiting King Island dairy farmer brother-in-law said he had never seen pastures like it, despite me refusing to use synthetic fertilisers like he had recommended. I spent my money on seeds instead, and simply moved the cows daily, strip by strip, thus maintaining plants in their most vigorous growth stage, while they deposited composted grass (having moved through four stomachs churning with microbes) and trampled a certain amount of plant material to add to the humus layer.

    Before purchasing this second five acre block, it had stood there for 27 years with no sign of life like I saw that day. It had been barren compared to the results of such regenerative approaches to pasture development. Animals have a crucial role. In time I will spray liquid compost tea on the paddock, and use other approaches (such as the occasional use of the Yeoman’s deep ripping plough), always aiming to maximise soil nutrition, and thence plant nutrition and finally human nutrition.

    Our organic beef, for example, knows no stress, except perhaps the jealousy that results from one cow receiving  more scratching from me than another. The advent of my first Ruth Stout garden and then the deep compost system has given rise to vegetables that made me embarrassed to say I had gardened previously. The cycle of life on a mixed farm provides for all. The animal manure added to spoiled straw and waste plant material (including the crumpled mat of autumn plane tree leaves) creates in a short time a compost which is as much a breeding ground for beneficial microbes as it is for nutrients. To this I add biochar which I create in a special burner over an hour or two while I do other tasks, walking past intermittently to feed the burner and then to drench the fire and mix the wheelbarrow load of finished, powerful biochar to the compost to be innoculated.

    Skills WWOOFers can learn here

    Organic practices & techniques, Regenerative Agriculture practices & techniques, Gardening, Composting, Soil conservation, Propagating, Mulching, Pruning, Environmental recovery/regeneration work, Beekeeping, Animal care, Poultry care, Sheep/goats/cattle care, Fencing, Marketing produce

    Courses and Events

    We are planning on building a house-cum-cafe on the new five acre block. Here I envisage hosting not only a pick-your own, farm experience (with petting areas for children) cafe, but also regular school excursions from the many schools that exist in our area. I have a close knowledge of the Australian Curriculum and I’m aware that there is a dearth of excursion opportunities for children to see and understand practically what sustainable agriculture looks like. I would like to promote the idea of beyond ‘sustainable’, to showcase the possibility of regenerating a farm eco system to maximise the genetic potential of crops and animals that produce nutritionally dense foods and consequently healthier people.

    My Details

    Name

    Ian Hoddinott

    Gender

    Couple

    The Stay

    Can Accommodate

    2 WWOOFers

    Preferred length of Stay

    Whatever suits

    Accommodation

    Separate Building

    Other options

    Non-Smoking, Children allowed by arrangement, Pets allowed by arrangement

    Meal Procedures

    Share some meals, Share cooking, Food provided, cook your own

    Languages spoken

    English, German, some Spanish, French and Indonesian

    Diets we cater for

    Mixed meals, some meat, some vegetarian

    Why I became a WWOOF Host

    As a former teacher I I have been keen to share the insights I have gained regarding organic approaches to growing nutritionally dense food and chemically untainted flowers. I am passionate about the connection between nutrition in soil, plants and people.

    Work and Study Remotely here

    Work and Study Remotely here by arrangement

    Address

    Contact

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