Shakin It Up

(Note-written in October)

Good Morning out there!

I sit here in the dark listening to the kettle getting to the boil as we’ve switched over into daylight savings here in Central Vic.  It’s a bit of a shock this year – the mornings have been a glorious time and it’s harder to get up and be at the farm and start work by 8 again! Not that I’m complaining, 8am is an incredibly reasonable start to the day, my alarm goes off at 5.30am so I can snooze for 30 mins (necessary) and then have my cuppa, do a few stretches, look at the changing sky, have a few Mel moments with my home space and say midday to the flowers and chooks before Wags and I set off.

There has been so much rain this September and beginning of October, it’s such a welcome to our expected dry, windy hot spring. La Nina is here – so wet and humid.  It’ll be tricky to dry our garlic without getting mouldy and the storing onions too – but plants love the magic of rain and to not be worried about water just yet is a gift.

It’s a different season, its change.  Sometimes change is a tricky thing, even if you want it you can still be resistant.  Sometimes I find it hard to accept that I can be like this, but I’m both learning and trying to observe myself as I do the garden – without harsh judgement; and more with intrigue and curiosity.








The last few years have really shaken Sas and I up – in the midst of it no doubt we were grumbly and not the ideal people we want to be in the world, with ourselves and to others.  So we knew that if we wanted to keep farming it had to be in a different way.  We need to treat ourselves like we do the soil and the plants.

So it’s exciting to say that our new approach does feel different, in a most excellent way.  Its more about the structure of how we are doing things that have changed rather than the the farming practices of what we actually do.

Every Monday we walk around and look at the patches and the plants and write out a weekly timetable based on them and the weather rather than our giant ‘to do’ lists.  Then before we start the day we do a few rounds of stretches  – this can involve anything from laughing yoga to soccer stretches to a dance routine.

Then we have sections of work for the day broken up with morning tea and shared lunches – so we all cook for each other.(myself, Sas and Ruby (our first intern has been with us for a month and she’s an absolute gem))

It sounds simple but having our focus and attention on a week by week timetable rather than everything has to get done NOW approach fused with fun and laughs has worked a treat.  Work feels easier and a lot more the way Sas and I want to operate.

We want to honour the living things we grow with the vibrations we put out. Sounds incredibly hippy – but basically we don’t see farming as ‘work’ we see it as what we wanna do.  No-ones forcing us to do it, we want to do it, so we want to enjoy it as much as we can.

We have an incredibly amazing bunch of people surrounding us who help with that too – every Thursday our group of vollies are safely spacious and work with us for 4 or so hours.  They bring lightness and fun – we love Thursday with Cohen, Abigail, Rex, Will, Annie, Sky and Claire. Not to mention Deb the human weed machine and Manda who picks with us every Tuesday plus the people who support us and what we do that are off site.  Ruby our intern is ace and we couldn’t ask for more.

We’re not ready to give up the ghost just yet – we’re taking our own words we use for the plants and applying it to ourselves with tender, loving, care.

Enjoy the wet and may it soak into your pores and rinse out what needs to be let go and give growth to the sunflower seeds that lie within that are just starting to sprout.

Mel x

garlic…gARlic… GARLIC!!!

We’ve just pulled up our sixth crop of organic garlic grown here on the granite skirts of Leanganook in Harcourt. It marks our time farming on this land as 5 1/2 years !
Scally the dog helping harvest garlic
Scally helping harvest garlic
They say it takes four years for garlic to acclimatise and settle in to new soil, and having saved the best garlic for our seed stock each year, that is certainly proving true! Our crop is truly divine this year, plump, purple and pungent.
Its been curing for a fortnight and this week we’re plaiting it up ready for sale.
You can order yours via our Open Food Network Shop
gung hoe garlic, so purple!
We have two size options:
15 head plait $30
30 head plait $60
Perfect to hang in your kitchen or to buy as a gift for someone else’s!


Local Pickups available at Farm Shop (Fridays 9am-1pm) or from the Weekly Farmers Market (Wednesday 3.30-6pm).


Sorry we cant post garlic (the postage is more expensive than the garlic!)

Change is what we’re looking for.




The whole world needs change

It’s bigger than they think

It doesn’t matter,

Though it seems to.

Nothing changes

Unless we do.

Nothing changes

Until we choose to.


It doesn’t matter

Who wins or loses

You will still bet your horses

You will still drive for miles

You will still live

Under the illusion of comfort.


Change happened

Along time ago

It has been lost

For so long now.


There is no going back

The is no making amends

It is only now

There was only then.


It’s fake

It’s phony

The kindness and smiles

The hope and the attitude

That we will last a while.


It’s fake and it’s phony

That we’re all kind and good

The greater the light shines

The darker the hood.


I’m sick of pretending

That I’m doing just fine

I want to be dark

I don’t want to be blind


I’m sick and I’m tired

Of living in riddles.

You can play games

I can’t play the fiddle.


I’ve had enough

There’s no end

Of the comings and goings

And people still cling

To the illusion of knowing.


How can there be

Any talk of reprimand

Our destiny lies

In the fate of our hand.


I’m sick and I’m tired

Of playing the game

Of backwards and forwards

Of time and its gaze.


It’s all a mess

It’s bigger than that

It’s strange and it’s complex


So why are we talking?

Why do we try?

If life is what’s given

And we’re born to die.


Born to live for sure

But to what scale? What sense?

It’s all talk. There’s no law.

There’s just chaos and nonsense.


Business as usual

Or so it would seem

What dream do they make us

Live to the extreme?


How much do we control

Our decisions and doings

Or else being told

What is best for our pursuings


It’s senseless.

And dark.

Though it’s shattered

And shamed

It’s bigger than it seems

It’s bigger than the game.


I’m sick of the trying

I’m tired of the talk

I want to try and listen

But I’m bored and cut short


My words mean as much

As a bird on a twig

Can break in an instant

Can’t fly, then it’s dead.


My heart is a wrench

That pushes and pulls

That screams, that questions,

That wants and lets go.


My thoughts are a weapon

My words are the grill

I’m big enough to let go

But hold on still.


I know that it’s needed

Though I suffer in shame

For asking, what is left of me?

My person? My name?


You’re taken for granted

N you’re sure to leave it still

I know you’ve been wasted

I’m on top of the hill


The Sun sets its greeting

It’s over and out

The Sky has awakened

My hunger and doubt.


I’m surrounded by commotion

By movement, by needs

By tetris and pettiness

By cumbersome greed.


My time has been broken

I’m wanted and frail

I’m lost and I’m empty

Hope can’t prevail.


Though end is not wanted

There’s beauty in grief

In deep love and empathy

In planting a seed.


We’ll watch it grow

And feed it life

And harvest up the wood

To light a fire

Warm and bright

Beneath the harlequin night


Where empty pockets

Fill our bones

And lips are parched and weak

No stories left.

All gone, no death.

Next to our heaving breathe.


Change is what’s needed

Though I’m not there yet

Change is what’s wanted

Though I’m caught in a debt.


It’s bigger than that

It’s bigger than claimed

You cannot know what lies

Ahead of the game.


Be kind

Be still

Be patient

Be bold

Be a weapon

Be a person

Be a plant and take hold.


It’s all lost for now

Though we’ve still got life yet

And responsibility

For all that is left.


To revive?


To survive?


To ignite?

I suppose.

To divide and decide.


Make change.

For change is what we’re looking for.


-Ruby Everett

Everything is blooming most recklessly;

Everything is blooming most recklessly;

if it were voices instead of colors,

there would be an unbelievable shrieking into the heart of the night.…

Spring has returned. The Earth is like a child that knows poems.

– Rainer Maria Rilke –

It has felt like a particularly long dark winter this year. Externally of course it hasn’t been. Its been mild and wet as far as our winters go. Plenty of frosty mornings breathing out to crispy, blue sky days, interspersed with grey, wild and wet to keep the soil sponge full and oozing. The season of winter calls on us to turn our focus inwards, to stoke the home fires and feed the soul, to remind ourselves what nourishes and supports us and to let go of what doesn’t. This year, we have all been called on to do this in ways not always comfortable and not always of our choosing and so the coming of spring this year, in all its fervent wild and colourful glory feels like an extra precious gift .

Day by day and row by row, the thigh high cape weed is making way for the crops to come. We’ve been working the spent brassica plants and the luscious biomass that the weeds offer so freely, back into the soil; building richness, life and structure to nourish the heavy feeding crops of summer. The end of winter can feel like a looming wave of chaos. Everything is overgrown, the crops are deciding whether to bolt to seed or offer up a steady spring harvest and we are wondering if we’ll ever get on top of it all.

With this our sixth spring here, our keen new intern on board and an inspiring team of weekly volunteers, things feel less overwhelming than before. We know that row by row the space will transform over the next few months. We know that despite all our best planning, adapting and rain dancing some crops will be bumper and many will not, some we will get in the ground on time and some the rabbits will devour to the ground, some things will surprise us and others will make us wonder what we’re missing…but somehow it will all even out in the long run, we trust, we learn, we’re grateful, we change.

I find hope in the hot house. The act of planting a seed is a profound gesture of hope. Seeds inspire both awe and wonder in me, enough to take my breath away and ponder the wisdom that rests within even the tiniest atom of this universe. With every seed planted there is a leap of trust and hope. Trust that the knowing of thousands of generations hides within this seed and it knows exactly what to do and how to do it. I just have to get out of the way and let it happen. The intelligence of plants is far superior to our own and we have so much to learn from them.

“As small as the face of a seed can seem, it is in this small thing where the most powerful holy beings in the Universe have their homes and govern life”. -Martin Pretchel-

May spring awaken and remind your senses of the beauty that surrounds us in every moment!


Growing for the Murnong Mamas Kitchen

This week for the Gung Hoe Growers blog Claire has taken the spotlight. We are working with her and Aunty Julie and Melinda Harper to transform one of our plots into bush foods. This project is super close to our hearts and we are beyond excited to be working with such wisdom and wonderful, strong women. We’ll let Claire tell the rest!

An appreciation and connection to food has always been an integral part of my life. My earliest memories are of growing up in my parents fruit and veggie store in a small town where my father was affectionately known as ‘The Spud Man,’ my childhood was filled with days of my Nana regaling us with stories of her dairy farm, the passion she had for her Jersey cows and the mischief they would get up to.
As I got older my love for cooking came to the forefront and I established my passion for quality produce. Although it wasn’t until the local food movement really took off that I started thinking more critically about the impact of large-scale agriculture, the environmental consequences of importing our foods and the importance of knowing where your food came from.

I was introduced to Mel and Sas at Gung Hoe through Melinda Harper and Aunty Julie McHale who have both taken me under their wings in the last year and quickly become important figures in my life. Melinda and Aunty Julie have been an incredible help in getting me involved in the indigenous and local community in Castlemaine. Through working with Nalderun at Murnong Mama’s catering and helping out occasionally at The Meeting Place, both have been quick to help steer me toward opportunities that align with my goals and interests.
Fostering a connection with local, seasonal produce has become one of my passions and Gung Hoe has truly nurtured that connection. After moving to Campbell’s creek two years ago I’ve realised the true importance of community, and Gung Hoe and the Harcourt Organic Food Co-operative exemplify all of these ideas and values that now mean so much to me.
Whilst weeding and mulching has become the main focus right now, the excitement of planning an Indigenous food garden with Sass has been a driving force for myself and something exciting to look forward to in a time with few certainties ahead. It will be a new venture for all of us and a much anticipated one at that, whilst I’ve learned so much already from Mel and Sass over the past several months I hope I can bring the knowledge that the irreplaceable Aunty Julie has taught me to the table. Right now we’re focusing on planning the layout and prepping the soil for planting, but I can’t help but already feel the excitement of watching the plants grow and thrive, which will then be used in the Murnong Mama’s kitchen.
With the incredible rain we’ve been having the soil is soft and rich and I’ve noticed the amount of beautiful big worms wriggling through it has greatly increased, the heavy morning fog is starting to lift and the sun is no longer retreating behind the clouds. With the view of all of the rows of flowering plants with the shadow of Leanganook in the background, the farm is absolutely idyllic and reflects the positivity and kindness of the people who work it.
During the pandemic I’ve looked forward to my Thursday mornings on the farm, my opportunity to have a yarn with everybody over a cuppa with the amazing milk from Sellar Dairy, get the chance to have a pat and play with the lovely dogs of the farm and step out and enjoy the incredible views and vibes that the location have to offer. It has quickly become my favourite day of the week and a much needed reboot for the spirit and soul.
Words and Photos by Claire 🙂