Husband and Wife Matt & Lentil Purbrick have helped bring to focus a new wave of sustainability awareness through their 'closed loop' farming business, Grown & Gathered. We caught up with the pair to fit them some boots & chat about a low waste world.
Hi guys, thanks for being a part of DuckFeatures. Tell us a bit about what you do. What is Grown & Gathered and how did it start?
Lentil: We do a lot of things, probably too many things sometimes!
We farm vegetables and flowers, forage seasonally, eat seasonally, make real wholesome food, use trade as a big part of our lives, don’t create waste and use the waste of others (food scraps) to feed our farm. We believe in traditional food preparation and preservation, ecological farming, trade without money and living a waste-free lifestyle. We are super passionate about what we do and we love it!
Matt: I used to be a Graphic Designer and Lentil used to be a Speech Therapist. I went traveling for a few years and when I came back, I couldn’t imagine myself sitting at a desk again, so I decided to garden. I learnt from some old growers in the area and started farming on a smaller scale. Then Lentil came along we started to grow things together, and it all went from there.
(All images by Lentil)
What are your beliefs in sustainability?
Lentil: To us sustainability means the end of waste. A sustainable world would be a world where we don’t create new inputs, where all compostable waste is returned to the soil and all “hard” waste is fully repurposed.
Matt: A big part of what we do is what we call “closed-loop farming”. It is what we call our farming system. We deliver our farmed vegetables and flowers to Melbournians & restaurants every weekend, and on the trip back to our Tabilk haven, we fill the van with other people's waste that would otherwise go to landfill. We take it to the farm, compost it and put it back in to our soil to replace the nutrients we have pulled out. It’s all about building soil nutrition. It’s a very traditional way to deal with waste.
Has your attitude towards sustainability changed since beginning G & G?
Lentil: Not really. We are probably just more aware of the “green-washing” that is out there now. We are really passionate about being sustainable in a real and achievable way – and that is something we are more focused on for sure.Matt: we have always been very passionate about “traditional wisdom” and that has always been the biggest influence on how we see sustainability and still is.
Tell us about the Flower exchange; we love the idea of moneyless trading for goods!
Lentil: “The Flower Exchange” is a project that we started about 10 months ago now and it has changed our lives, we absolutely love it. It is based on you trading us something you have thought about for some flowers. Whether you like it or not, money changes relationships. Money is impersonal; it allows you to purchase things without talking, interacting or knowing where things come from. You can’t do this with trade.
Matt: and so we always say it is the most “honest” transaction you can have.
What’s been the loveliest part of your sustainable farming venture?
Lentil: When someone tells you that you have made some form of positive “difference” or “change” in their world.
Matt: There is really nothing else that compares to that. We feel if everyone just makes positive changes for themselves, everything will be okay. To know we’ve positively affected the lives of others too , well there’s just nothing better.
How have your lives changed with the growth of G & G?
Lentil: We have never been asked this question. We are definitely busier haha!
Matt: We have met some amazing lovely people along the way, we have learnt a lot, and we have more ideas than ever before.
Your beautiful business is BOOMING! What’s next for G & G?
Lentil: There are some exciting ideas on the cards for sure. For now we really want to keep running our workshops and do some consulting for other peoples farms, gardens and events – and hopefully travel while doing so.
Matt: We always have a million ideas. So plenty more to come from us!
Thanks for being a part of DuckFeatures! We’re sure we’ll see more of you soon.