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Newbie farmers begin to reap rewards of organic gamble

Newbie farmers begin to reap rewards of organic gamble

Friday 07 April 2023

Newbie farmers begin to reap rewards of organic gamble

Friday 07 April 2023

A 23-year-old couple who decided to plough their savings into an organic farm are beginning to reap the rewards of their big gamble, having just opened a roadside shop.

Mechanic-by-trade Jamie Ribeiro and florist Anna Houiellbecq purchased Greenacres farm in Sion in November, with a dream of reviving the island's organic offering.

The result is a new business called 'Bloom'n'Goodness', with the motto: 'Eat good, live good'.

Six months ago, the pair knew nothing about farming - neither comes from a farming background or has taken a course in agriculture.

But what the James and Anna have always had is a desire for a life outside an office, and a keen sense of adventure - in fact, they had been planning to leave the island when the opportunity to buy the farm unexpectedly cropped up.

Read: Cover stars Jamie and Anna spoke about their plans to create a new organic revolution in the April edition of Connect Magazine.

"We had almost bought a house in Portugal to create a homestead. In Jersey, no one our age has enough money to buy a house to get a mortgage, and we had enough savings for this place, so we thought why not put those savings into something which could generate a little bit more later on?” Jamie explained.

The duo are being coached by Brian Adair, the now-retired founder of Greenacres Farm and a key figure in Jersey's organic farming community.

Although getting into farming can be beset with challenges, Brian thinks the time is just right for a new organic revolution because it "ticks all the right boxes – environmental, social, climate."

"It's about working with nature, instead of trying to dominate it. In standard farming, you reach for the spray bottle if you have problems, but organically, you don't use sprays... It's using rotations, building up the fertility of your soil, using mechanical methods of weed control, close-up planting. It is a systems approach. Growing organically is a see-saw balance with nature, you gently tilt it in your favour. Healthy soil, healthy plants, healthy people."

Things have been going well so far - so well, in fact, that the pair have now been able to start selling eggs from their very own chickens and Jersey Royals from their farm at a newly-installed honesty box.

Further in future, Jamie and Anna also plan to start a veg box subscription scheme and to turn Greenacres into a therapeutic farm which vulnerable and disabled members of the community can enjoy.

"That's why we called it Bloom 'n Goodness," Anna explained. "...We don't just want to grow goodness in the ground, but we want to grow goodness in people and in the community too. It's just as much about people as about vegetables and flowers."

The pair were the cover stars of the April edition of Connect Magazine - read more about their venture, and a deep-dive into the business behind organic farming here.

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