Perth NRM's Regional Agricultural Landcare Facilitator, Graham McAlpine, looks back on a big day out at the 2021 Gidgegannup Small Farm Field Day.
This year’s Gidgegannup Small Farm Field Day on Sunday 30th May 2021 was very successfully held in uncertain COVID times, much to the relief of organisers. This followed the 2020 lock down year where the event, like many others was not held.
Despite the winter-like conditions in days preceding the event, we were all very pleased to have a day with a cool, foggy start that emerged into a mostly sunny day with some fleeting showers and an exceptional turnout.
The inclusion again of the Honey Festival saw crowd numbers pouring over the beekeeper exhibits and the judging of regional honeys and bee products with some very proud beekeepers having their prize ribbons displayed with their produce.
Crowds flooded through the many traditional exhibitors of livestock, poultry, dogs, nursey and garden, small landholder with a plethora of food, wine and entertainment providers.
Coordinators again were pleased that the show, now in its 14th year, has become a real family event and focal point in the region. The sense of community was particularly evident on the day, following the Wooroloo fires earlier in the year.
Perth NRM in the Small Landholders Marquee
Through its Regional Agriculture Landcare Facilitator Program, Perth NRM has an exhibit at the Show each year to provide support, particularly for small landholders in the region / the peri-urban areas of Perth.
Often locals, the general public and land managers from other regions come through the exhibit to talk about issues, to catch up on our work and the latest capacity building information we provide.
This year the display was manned by Graham McAlpine (Regional Agriculture Landcare Facilitator) with support from staff members Scarlet Roxby (WA Stonefruit Industry), Mez Clunies-Ross (Natural Capital Accounting project manager) and Bonnie Jupp (RegenWA project officer).
The Perth NRM exhibit covered four main areas:
- Small Landholders: horticulture, pasture, weed, pest, livestock and post fire management.
- RegenWA: small, medium and large farming case studies.
- Natural Capital Accounting (NCA): engagement opportunities for volunteer farm entities.
- Perth NRM’s Environment, Community Engagement and Cultural Heritage Programs
There was a great deal of interest in the Regenerative Agriculture and Natural Capital Accounting programs where existing and emerging land managers were keen to understand what the new visions for land management in environmental and commercial land management / farming meant.
This resulted in several instances where those seeking to manage remnant bushland (some fire affected), local reserves of environmental significance or combined parcels on existing properties, were shown the opportunity of working in with the NCA project and expressed interest in being involved.
Of interest were several new property owners in the region seeking information on pasture management on heavy soils and others with properties with existing fruit trees (remnants from orchards) seeking guidance on management options.
We were able to refer people to our planned series of 7 workshops and field days through the RALF program in 2021/22 with State NRM funding, for small landholders on property, pasture, livestock, fire, environmental / remnant bushland management.
From a horticultural perspective, several referrals were provided to consultant horticulturalists for those with bigger plantings. Others with fewer fruiting trees, seeking information on managing fruit fly (some of whom had struggled with over tree netting), were shown examples of exclusion bags and sleeves for protecting emerging fruit from insect and bird attack.
It was also suggested that trees needed to be of a manageable size so there could be a sharing arrangement of fruit for personal use with the local fauna.
A very popular part of our display was Perth NRMs Six Season’s pull up banner, the subject of many long gazes, queries and photos. Colleague James T Webb, the leader of the Indigenous dance group Wadumbah, who presented several times during the day as part of the entertainment, commented on how well the banner presented and congratulated us.
The top takeaway from our stand was our reusable carry bag that many visitors gratefully took for their show goodies and info publications / leaflets.
Popular publications / information sheets taken from the exhibit were:
- Purchasing a small rural property for keeping livestock (PNRM, 2019)
- WA Regenerative Farmers Network Info sheet (RegenWA, 2018, PNRM)
- Expression of Interest – Natural Capital Accounting with WA Farmers (PNRM, 2021)
- Pasture Health Kit (MLA, 2013)
- Perennial Forage Shrubs Sustainable Grazing (D Revell, 2015, Enrich Project)
- The Land is in Your Hands Bulletin (Small Landholder Program, 2015, DPIRD)
- Horses Land Water “Action Planner & Horse Property Management Guidelines” (2013, SA Horse)
A successful event and its good to see it growing in capacity to meet the expanding needs in the region as properties change hands and new ventures pursued.
Thanks are given to Perth NRM staff and industry colleagues for their assistance in making this activity so successful.
Regional Agriculture Landcare Facilitator
The Regional Agricultural Landcare Facilitator role is supported by Perth NRM, through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program.