Food forests farming for the future
A NEW not-for-profit collaboration between local farmers and chefs in Byron Bay is calling for fellow "syntropic farmers" and organic growers to join the cause.
Lead "volunteer" behind Byron's newest restaurant OCA - Organic Cuisine and Arts, Rafael Camargo, said most of the menu ingredients and vegie box items on offer at OCA was grown syntropically on their St Helena Farm.
"Syntropic farming is way of growing food, while regenerating the soil," Mr Camargo said.
"We are planting food forests - so we are bringing the forests back into growing food together - doing that brings rain, and the soil comes alive. Everything helps each other grow.
"We are looking for other other synoptic farmers around the shire - we have a few connections but because our farm is small scale - we'd love for more farmers to get involved as suppliers."
He said the OCA team believed syntropic and organic food systems was a big part of agriculture solution.
"Life creates life, the earth is an ecosystem and we cannot thrive without nurturing this ecosystem that sustains human life," he said.
"We care deeply about the quality of the food we provide, as well as the steps we take to produce it.
"We believe in the ancient knowledge that food is medicine.
"Just like our team, our cuisine is multicultural. We blend traditional and modern foods, fuse simple with exotic and prepare every meal with love."
While he and most of the team have been working at the St Helena farm (On St Helena Rd) for about three years, Mr Camargo said they were now ready to open their "little community" to the greater Byron Bay shire.
"We are expanding and opening it (the farm) up to connect … so people can come and do some work and take some vegies home," he said.
"It's an energy exchange."
He said volunteers were running OCA as well as coming to the farm to work.
"People really like the farm experience, because its educational," he said.
"They learn how things work within an agro-forest, how to grow syntonically and how you can grow veggies and planting trees at the same time."
Interested growers can contact chef Bruno Assuncao on 0422 216 422 or call 02 66 808 228.