“The ultimate goal of farming is not the growing of crops, but the cultivation and perfection of human beings.”
Masanobu Fukuoka, The One-Straw Revolution

We have spent our whole lives on the land, with a farming inheritance that hails back to the lowlands of Scotland, where our yeoman farmer ancestors farmed their own land and family members still milk cows by the edge of the Solway of Firth. Members of the Henderson family also farm on the east coast of the United States of America, with acres of soy beans and corn nestled between creeks and broadleaf forests on the edge of the Chesapeake Bay. We have chosen to farm at Dalyup in an area that was once the food bowl of the Esperance region, with its rich, gravelly loam soil producing vegetables, fruit and livestock destined for markets in Esperance and in the Goldfields to its north.

Broadcare farming in Esperance boomed when technology enabled production on the less naturally fertile sand plains to flourish, and the Dalyup River and its associated farmlands have suffered after years of production, with salinity affecting creek lines and overgrazing destabilizing the land. When we bought Riverlee Farm in 2005, it was showing signs of exhaustion, with trees in creek lines gone and erosion along creek lines all indicating that it needed lots of care.

With the help of Esperance Regional Forum, which provided a grant for fencing, re-vegetation and establishment of perennial pastures as part of one of its project, the property has been transformed and it is in much better shape. As a family, we have spent a great deal of time thinking about how to make this farm work for us. We have decided on a mixed enterprise, which will focus on the production of a small quantity of quality products for consumption by a select market (beef and lamb). This will enable us to focus on caring for the livestock in the way we want to, with low stress stock handling of paramount importance to us.

As a family that has home-schooled its children, and been involved in youth training and community environmental work along the way, we also feel strongly about the importance of the farm as a place of learning, and will be involving ourselves in local provided workshop and education projects as much as we possible can. Like all forms of Community Supported Agriculture, our ability to do this will, of course, depend on the support of our community.