Why we farm
Margaret River Organic Farmer's aim is to revive healthy
connections between country, animals and community.
By growing nutrient-rich, delicious food & showing others how it's possible, we hope to help create a healthier future.
We are especially interested to demonstrate that animal protein can be raised ethically in an ecologically responsible way.
Who we are
Margaret River Organic Farmer are Lawson Armstrong, Laura Bailey and our farmily of 3 children. We are living our dream on a small farm established in 2015 in the beautiful Margaret River region of Western Australia.
Lawson is from a fourth generation farming family. With a degree in viticulture, he specialised in growing organic and biodynamic grapes for 12 years. In that time, Lawson achieved organic certification for 3 different properties in diverse environments.
Laura is a qualified teacher with a background in curriculum development, renewable energy and permaculture. She facilitates eco workshops on regenerative & waste-free living, including the Living Smart community sustainability course hosted by local Governments and NGOs across the south west WA region.
For over 20 years we have both worked across the globe & undertaken extensive training with some of the greatest practitioners in biological growing on how to best nurture rich microbial soils, healthy plants and happy animals.
Now we are our blessed with our own slice of paradise where we are committed to produce good food for our family and yours.
How we farm
Margaret River Organic Farmer use regenerative farming methods to step beyond 'sustainable agriculture' and actually revitalise our environment!
Our herd of beef cattle and flock of laying hens rotate daily around our pastures. Each paddock is rested 120+ days between rotations in our Holistically Managed cell-grazing system.
Close time management is key for regenerating pastures; a short period of mob grazing is followed by a long recovery period to mimic grazing patterns in nature.
Animal welfare is crucially important and we practice low-stress stock handling techniques. Frequent interaction with our livestock enables us to closely monitor animal, plant, soil and water dynamics and respond quickly to changing conditions.
To rejuvenate our soils, we use organic compost, biodynamic preparations, minerals, brews from MasHumus, and Elaine Ingham inspired compost teas. We also practice minimum till and leave pasture residue as mulch cover. We aim to create a diverse, perennial pasture. We encourage biodiversity and wildlife habitats to restore a more natural ecological balance. A tributary of the Margaret River flows through our property, and it's crucial this water catchment stays clean and free of pollutants.
Transparency is crucial to us and we encourage you to get to know us, and ask questions about our food, our farm and our practices. We host educational farm tours for the public as well as schools, interest groups and environmental organisations such as Nature Conservation's 'Our Patch' program and Fair Harvest's Permaculture Design Certificate students.
We connect with our local community through active membership of groups like Transition Town Margaret River, and we enjoy working alongside our local Shire, where Laura has sat on the Sustainability Advisory Committee since 2013. Margaret River Organic Farmer showcase regenerative farming at local events, and we now coordinate the popular 'Sustainability Shed' activities at the annual Margaret River Agricultural Show.
We practice closed-loop waste recycling as part of our sustainability policy. Nothing is wasted on our farm. In fact, when you visit you might spot piles of 'resources'! Even our egg cartons are made from recycled cardboard and are free from single-use-plastic labels. A small ink stamp is designed to encourage consumers to compost their cartons to make soil for their own backyards!
Waste is our pet hate and in 2013 Laura convened the Cape to Cape Plastic Free group and introduced initiatives to Margaret River like Plastic Free July, Boomerang Bags, Responsible Cafes & Wash Against Waste.
We acknowledge we are a tiny cog in the machine and believe that we need to support the greater organic movement. We feel that certification represents the only current system in which consumers can have real confidence that their food producers are not cutting any corners... So we are in conversion to organic certification.
While we are not yet certified, we always have & always will go above and beyond the Australian Organic Standards in our practices.
Australian Government WA Landcare Farming Award
‘It’s an honour to be able to recognise the great work being carried out by Margaret River Organic Farmer,’ said Dr Norrish.
‘A hugely deserved winner, they have not only significantly contributed to the protection of native flora and fauna species through on-ground, grassroots activities. But through their tireless work, Margaret River Organic Farmer is nurturing the voices of international environmental leadership and we’re incredibly proud to help shine a light on their inspiring, important efforts.’
Australian Government WA Landcare Farming Award winner Margaret Organic Farmer.
(L-R) Lawson and Laura with Keith Bradby OAM, Chair of WA Landcare Network