Getting back to basics

TWO years ago the Jones family packed up their home in suburban Canberra and bedded down on a 40-acre block in Burra.

Andrew and Vicki Jones had always dreamed of a "green change" with an interest in living sustainably and growing their own organic produce.

The couple, along with their three children, experimented by sowing seeds for a vegie patch, cultivated an aviary and share their land with a handful of chickens, pigs and cows.

The Jones family run the 'BurraBee Farm' selling their excess produce at the Southern Harvest Farmers Market.

"We should've done it 20 years ago. I have three children...apart from them being away from friends, we should've done it years and years ago. It's awesome, totally awesome," Mr Jones said.

"I've never worked harder in my life being a farmer but the sense of achievement from doing that work is amazing.

"Especially when you produce an onion and you can say 'that's my onion'. I've sold my onion to somebody else and they've come back and said 'That's the best onion I've ever had'."

The Jones family said their customers appreciate their produce for the flavour and also take pride in knowing it was grown locally cutting down on food miles.

He said parents often buy a bag of cherry tomatoes for their children who say they are as sweet and delicious as lollies.

"For a kid to say a tomato is good as a lolly, that's pretty good," he said. "It means a lot to us."

The Joneses want to use their experience to educate local folk. The BurraBee farm will host a series of workshops to educate others about growing and preserving their own food.

Workshops will include topics like traditional ferments and probiotic food as well as sourdough bread and traditional grain preparation.

"It's about going back to basics and we are wanting to get other people there too," Andrew said.

"For us, we didn't know what we were doing when we got here and we've had friends and locals help us.

"People on the fringe of the city are of the same mind, they'd love to get into gardening or bees but how do they do that?"

The Joneses say the 'green change' has been the best experience of their lives - looking out of the window and being able to see cows grazing and chickens in the coop.

It took them a long time to find the right farm. Andrew said one weekend they went on a spree - looking at 45 properties ranging from almost desert-like condition to the lovely plot where they are now based.

Andrew currently works full-time on the farm and is assisted by his daughter Taylor on a part-time basis.

Eventually, the goal is to turn the farm into a full-time enterprise for the whole family.

"We are just trying to do right by the farm, the food and getting other people interested in living sustainably," Taylor said.

"We want to teach other people and show them it's not as hard and scary as it seems."

For more information about the workshops of the BurraBee Farm visit