Matt and Lentil Purbrick exchanged their office jobs for a life of dirt under their nails, animals outside their door and the satisfaction of knowing they are looking after the planet in their own, small way. That is, with their sustainable, closed-loop farming practices.
The pair know people produce a lot of waste that can be used to grow food. So they developed a way to farm without needing to buy compost or fertilisers, using instead waste from restaurants and the wider community to grow organic veggies.
These can in turn be bought from Grown And Gathered through its website and delivered to Melbourne every weekend. You can also take part in its Flower Exchange; trade flowers from the couple’s farm for something other than money, such as jams, knitting projects, homebrew or even your music or items you think they might love.
The pair’s closed-loop philosophy means they grow produce from the compost that they get from their customers, who have produced this compost from the vegetables they bought from Grown and Gathered: a perfect cycle of sustainability.
Grown and Gathered is now also running small workshops at its Tabilk farm (an hour-and-a-half north-east of Melbourne). The one-day workshop will show you how to transform your backyard into an ecosystem perfect for homegrown vegetables all year round. And a pickling and preserving workshop will show you how to make your summer harvest last through the winter months, too.
There are also mini, two-hour workshops on how to be waste-free at home, plus opportunities to try out the heirloom vegies, edible flowers, sourdough bread, pickles and cheeses from the farm.
The first series of workshops runs from February 22 to March 29, and range in price from $20 to $250. Tickets are available at grownandgathered.com.au/shop. Check out its handy seasonal growing chart to use at home.