Red Meat Cohort
Leon Carter & Reanna Clayton
Calm Your Farm
Online educational platform for the food and fibre industry.
As Australia’s cities become more congested and expensive, many Australians have been looking toward regional towns in search of literal greener pastures. “Increasingly, we are seeing a rise in the number of retirees, young hobby farmers and peri-urban farmers who are part of a broader ‘tree change’ movement,” Leon Carter, the founder of Calm Your Farm said.
In some places, such groups are now outnumbering professional farmers! Tree changers move to the regions, buy a few acres of land and want to explore farming—whether with livestock, horticulture or artisanal products like honey. But many just don’t know where to start. They can quickly find their dream of a peaceful country lifestyle turning to dust when they realise the heavy burden of regulation and administration that comes with farming. “Many also find themselves intimidated by even the simplest on-farm tasks such as properly erecting a fence,” co-founder Reanna Clayton explained.
As long-time educators in the agricultural industry, Leon and Reanna are hoping to take the stress out of farming. “We are creating a digital platform that will be a one-stop shop for people seeking out basic education about setting up and maintaining their farms” Reanna explained.
With a three-tier subscription service, learners can purchase access to basic video tutorials (that are also smart phone-enabled) and a clearing house of highly tailored advice and information suited to their learning needs. At the second tier, learners will get access to the expertise of Leon, Reanna and team over phone and email to answer questions and guide them through complex red tape requirements or even help with birthing a calf. And finally, farmers who want more hands-on learning can receive training directly in the paddock from Calm Your Farm’s expert team.
“Learning how to farm has fundamentally changed,” Leon said. Traditionally, farming was something that was taught through intergenerational learning, but with the highly complex regulatory environment, rapidly changing farming processes and new smaller players entering this market, farming has become a more complicated business to enter.
Most education in this area misses the mark for many tree-changers and even for professional farmers, the two co-founders explained. Existing farm education is often overly focused on accreditation and assessment, and it is not tailored enough for new learners who just need to know the foundational skills, the basics of regulations and enough guidance to help them navigate the mountain of information out there.
In particular, the Calm Your Farm team really want to work with industry and local shires to help them pass on the right information to new farmers. “This is so critical—especially for hobby farmers or new farmers—and it is where they are most likely to come undone” Leon said. Biosecurity is a particularly complex area for farmers starting out in the industry as small or part-time players in a highly regulated industry. Tree changers often arrive on farms with a great deal of life experience and a desire to learn new skills. But their knowledge gaps when it comes to biosecurity can have a devastating impact on local and national ecosystems.
Leon and Reanna’s vision for Calm Your Farm is a simple one—to take the stress out of farming and learning for all people, no matter when, why, or how they got into farming. They want to facilitate people’s dream of farming as the peaceful and empowering endeavour it should be.
Reanna explained, “We want to put the calm back into farming— in the end we want to enable our customers and students to have more time to kick back on the veranda with a beer watching the sun set on their farm with that sense of pride in a hard day’s work. After all that’s what the dream is all about!”