Over three generations, the Abbott Smith family on Graceburn Farm has aimed to create a balance between conservation, primary production and life-style on their 130 hectare property (This is half of an original squatter’s run) situated in the Yea Valley.
My family have been stewards of this small piece of Devonian sedimentary landscape (ancient and infertile) since the 1960s. Its rolling hills were cleared by my Grandfather for cattle breeding, however significant areas of remnant bush along boundaries, waterways and drainage lines were retained and protected under one of the first Victoran Trust for Nature covenants creating native wildlife corridors.
“It was exciting recently to see (by remote camera) the vulnerable Long Nosed Bandicoot in one of our native wildlife corridors, who require low-lying sedgy vegetation for shelter and protection from feral predators”. Tom Abbottsmith Youl
Our ecologically sustainable farming practises produce food products, which are appropriately integrated with the maintenance, improvement and conservation of our environment and biodiversity. This balance between agricultural land uses and ecological conservation is made possible with the use of high tech electric fencing, reticulated stock watering systems, land class fencing, native wildlife wetlands, stock exclusion areas and local EVC (ecological vegetation class) revegetation works.
Remnant vegetation areas are monitored for healthy biodiversity and for invasive weeds (in particular blackberry). If intervention is deemed necessary control is implemented in the most unobtrusive way possible.
We believe that public awareness and education is the key to improving our food system from an environmentally destructive one to a regenerative one. Every time we eat, we are voting for the production system that produced that food.
Farm tours form the backbone of our education program on the farm, helping our community to re-engage with the production of food from a local regenerative agricultural system. They are an interesting hands on experience and are great for kids.