Using permaculture guidelines and organic principles, The Garden Farmers group farmed heirloom vegetables on a property in Whites Valley, 5 minutes from the heart of Willunga.
Aidan and Jay hailed from Willunga and Alex from McLaren Vale. Each had a special interest in permaculture, sustainability and growing their own food and had studied or were studying in related fields.
Jay Kimber grew up in Willunga and is a self-proclaimed “market addict”. In 2009 at the age of 21, she went to NSW to study permaculture and organic farming. She worked on at least eight farms in NSW and South Australia and sold produce at seven different farmers’ markets. “Receiving the scholarship was a dream come true for the group” according to Jay. “We would never have been able to set up a farm for ourselves without the scholarship, the financial outlay and commitment was way too daunting”.
The Garden Farmers business evolved over time with some of the group moving on and Jay remaining at the helm. With the support of mentor Jock Harvey, a local viticulturist a new business model to sell Green Juice at the market was formulated. The produce Jay would grow was combined for a special cold pressed juice and sold by the cup and bottle at the market.
Originally Jay wanted to achieve the experience of running her own farm and putting in to practice all the farming skills that had been learnt for the 3 years before winning the scholarship.
Jay wanted to show young people that farming could be “sexy” and really wanted to be in front of her community talking about health.
Jay feels she totally exceeded her goals during her time operating The Garden Farmers business.
Jay never actually imaged that she would have a saleable business as a result of the scholarship. But the farming turned in to the Green Juice stall and that had a life of its own. Selling the business has allowed Jay to pursue her next business venture of health coaching.
“To continue to see the Green Juice stall at the market every week is amazing, and it makes me feel like I have achieved and created something really special” says Jay.