Notice to Vacate: We Really Are Going to be Farmers

With eyes still itching from the sobbing episode evoked by today’s delivery of a Notice to Vacate by mid-April, I’m ready to write about why this unjust event is a Very Good Thing. Dad always taught us to make lemonade with lemons, so here’s the recipe.

First, a note on being evicted. This is our second experience, and it felt just as violating, rug-ripped-out-from-undering, slap-in-the-face awful as the first time. With three children in the local school, in a small neighbourhood without much of a rental market from which to choose, and with rents rising astronomically, being kicked out of your lovely home is devastating to say the least. Last time we got lucky and slid into a lease our friends were vacating voluntarily as they had just bought a property a few suburbs further out. This time we’re even luckier, as we’ve been looking for a farm near Daylesford for the past two years.

Two years, you say? Well, in truth, we’ve had our eyes on Daylesford since 1995, when we first visited, and left a comment in the Convent Gallery’s guestbook that said something like, ‘Love love love it here! We’ll be back, next time to live!’ We’ve been back countless times for weekends, to feast, to wander the bookshops, to tour David Holmgren’s permaculture property, and for events like the one where Joel Salatin spoke at the Lakehouse and convinced us to be farmers, not just self-sufficient drop outs. But we still haven’t bought a farm.

So here’s the exciting bit. We have three months (we’ve asked for one extra from the landlord) to find the right farm and have our offer accepted. As we’d like to do Road Trip USA with the kids from late May until the start of September, there’s a bit of flexibility in the plan (we can put all our stuff in shipping containers and store them while we’re away). (If we time this right, by the way, we manage to travel in America rent AND mortgage free!)

As we would like to run free-range pigs (originally for personal consumption, and then scale up to small-scale commercial production if we’re good enough at it) as well as have a permaculture garden and be as self sufficient as we can, we reckon we need a minimum of 20 acres, at least half of which is paddock. More acreage would be very welcome. I need a view from my kitchen window (this isn’t really negotiable). And we’ll need to be close enough to town for the kids to get the school bus.

So if you’re in that region, or know someone who is, let us know if there are any good properties around for some keenly committed ethical food folk like us. Everyone else, your good vibes will be enough! It’s time the Jonai put some money where our mouths are and truly become farmers at last.

May we please have views like this?

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Tammi Jonas

The infrequent and imperfect yet impassioned musings of a farmer, meatsmith, mother, wife, sister, daughter, friend and cultural commentator with a penchant for food and community…

9 thoughts on “Notice to Vacate: We Really Are Going to be Farmers”

  1. I am sorry to hear about the notice-to-vacate. It’s never a pleasant letter to receive, and it never will be. However, with such dreams ahead of you, this seems to be proving to be the shove needed to get you going to those dreams.

    I wish you luck with your farm hunt – and would love to #selfinvite at some point when you are all settled in as Daylesford rates incredibly high on my love list and not to mention, farming!

    Country life is amazing – All the best!

  2. Getting evicted is seriously the poos. But the future of farm life seems mighty fine! Looks like you’re gonna be at #agchatoz from the other side in a mo’. Good luck Tammi!

  3. Thanks for the moral support, all! I have a really good feeling about this. 🙂 #Immabeafarmer And you’ll all be invited to celebrate with us when we get there!

  4. Thanks, Ginevra! I didn’t know the Foxlane blog, though I am familiar with Daylesford Organics and am hoping to meet them tomorrow at the Producers Day. An excellent tip, with kids similar ages too! 🙂 I’ll read back through both blogs as well.

  5. Tam. Mark Dodson here. Would you ask stewart if he has more than 1 still (the one under the house at lorne) I have 300L of wine I want to distill asap. Kind Regards Mark Dodson

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