Forest Farm Scrub Times
My name is Natalie Herington and I am the daughter-in-law to Carmel and Brian and wife to Ben and mother to Charlie Rae. I have a background in graphic design, art and hospitality so it will be mostly me you will hear from online and on social media.
I love to create, garden and draw.
I remember thinking to myself as a young child if I had to
worry about one thing, fight for it, what would it be? And
I remember thinking it was a healthy planet, because
without it we won't exist and neither would the
amazing creatures that live on earth.
And now I have a child, so more than ever I
need to do my bit for the planet and so
First off, I would like to welcome you to
Forest Farm and tell you the story of
how it came to be.
Several years ago, Carmel and Brian would
gaze over their back fence and admire the
paddocks that lay beyond wishing they could
own a piece of paradise just like that. Then one
day they got their opportunity!
The land turned out to be even more special than
they could imagine, but it was large, very large! So it was
decided that their eldest son Ben along with his wife Nat(me)
and their daughter Charlie would join them in trying to decide what
to do with the place......
There was a steep learning curve for all as we settled into life on a property, but it was just too beautiful to give up on and so the idea of Forest Farm was born.
You see, all of us have a deep passion for the natural world and strong drive to protect and save what is left. This land has been through a tough time. It has been stripped bare, grazed as a dairy farm, a banana farm then subdivided into lots for housing. What was left was forested as a timber plantation and then back to cattle, beef cattle this time. And all along the exotic vegetation was invading.
So how were we supposed to help this land heal?
How do we do it? yet live in this modern world and
pay for the land and cover our cost of living?
That is when the idea came to farm the forest for its other benefits, the essential ones, the connections we have lost with it.
Our dream is to restore this land to what it once was and do it by re connecting people with this essential relationship and help us collectively remember we are Nature and so must look after it in order to look after ourselves.
We have begun by planting approximately 5000 native trees and plants. Some of this we've done on our own, and some we've done by collaborating with some amazing amazing local organisations.
OZfish Unlimited helped us secure a Habitat Action Grant, and their brilliant volunteers even got together to plant 1500
of the trees.
The generous giving of advice and on ground expertise of Bushland Restoration Services has been incredible.
We've also partnered with North Coast Local Land Services through the Marine Estate Management Strategy Program to undertake works to protect the riparian zone and prevent diffuse pollutants entering the waters of Emigrant Creek of which we have nearly 2km of frontage to
We have installed solar and batteries on our homes and catch our own water.
We have grown a veggie garden that also is a place of adventure for the youngest of our family.
Our diets reflect our desire to lower our footprint on the earth as best we can.
We have renovated the existing shed to become our all-weather space of learning so others can come.
We as individuals have increased our own knowledge getting heavy machinery licences, accredited in conservation and land management, training in forest therapy, mindfulness, compassion. But most importantly learning from the land itself.
We knew the best way to learn what this land needed was to live with it, so we packed up and all moved, we retired, we walked, we watched, we listened, we got allergies, we got bitten, we pulled cotton weed at sunrise, and always we came back to needing to find a way to share this place with others that would benefit ALL.
And so we are growing our forest…..
We have invited Big Scrub Nature Play to visit this land and introduce these amazing kids to the benefits of self directed play, climbing trees and getting muddy. And we welcome Caitlin from Life Wild who will be running a plastic free bush craft Christmas gift workshop here on the 12th of December.
We hope to continue growing a community around Forest Farm with shared dreams of a happy healthy planet so stay tuned for more exciting ventures to come!