Four years ago, Liam Hughes came up with a life-changing plan – all he needed was his father’s lawn in Ferny Hills!
Once he got the nod to dig up the grass, Lot 81 Micro Farm was born at Ferny Hills.
During the week Liam is a ‘one-man band’. He is the farm’s work force. At weekends, additional staff arrive to help him with the Farmer’s Market.
The 30- year-old is urban farming on a small scale, growing and selling direct from his farm – ‘no poisons, heavy machinery, habitat encroachment or long-distance hauling’.
The farm’s produce is posted on the Lot 81 Facebook page with one of the latest updates advertising beetroot, kohlrabi, stir-fry greens mix, oyster mushrooms, unwaxed apples, Japanese turnips, red Russian kale and coriander.
Liam’s farm veggie packs have also been proving popular. They have included buk choy, limes, radish and ‘mystery items’. There are times when the packs have sold out.
“This has all been four years in the making and I have plans to do more educational courses and tours,” he says.
“It’s just a question of bedding down a business plan and finding the time to work on them, which can be hard being a one-man band.”
Liam has lived in this region all his life and went to St Andrews’ Catholic Primary School at Ferny Grove and Marist College Ashgrove.
However, in 2016 he was ‘a disgruntled retail produce manager’ seeking a better life. He knew farming was in his blood and had tried getting ‘large amounts of land’, without success.
That was until being recommended to a book called The Urban Farmer. It was then Liam realised he had an ‘unbelievable opportunity right at my fingertips’.
Urban farming is not intended to replace commercial operations, rather it creates local food economies which can ease pressure on major producers.
Within days of getting the green light (and lawn) from his father, Liam started creating the farm. His first job was turning the earth and making compost.
Over four years, he has gradually added to the farm introducing markets, tours and a café, though the latter have been suspended during the shutdown.
Now Liam is looking for items such as hardwood sleepers, commercial fridges and water tanks. Much more is on the list.
Lot 81 Micro Farm is at Rangeleigh St, Ferny Hills. It open for Farmer’s Markets on Saturday and Sunday 7-11am during the growing season (March to December), but is closed during the week.
Tours have been temporarily suspended due to the COVID restrictions.
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