Farmers are working ecologists
Agri-Phoenix Feature: Micah Oberon
Name: Micah Oberon
Organisation: Neighbourhood Farm
The land and I have been connected since my childhood, spent exploring the wild places around my hometown in South Western Australia. A patchwork of happy days; climbing trees, finding frogs, building cubby houses and birdwatching. I moved to Brisbane 8 years ago and felt like my connection to nature disappeared. I found it harder to find undisturbed wilderness in the suburbs.
When I started market gardening 5 years ago on a large block near my home in the suburbs, with my business partner Matt, I began to reconnect with the land. I love working with the soil and the plants.
As a kid I always wanted to be an ecologist of some kind. Farmers are working ecologists - we work with soil, plants, sun, and rain. We participate actively in an ecosystem that feeds people. We can choose whether we do it to regenerate the landscape - otherwise we will degrade it.
Birds are my favourite creatures - except ducks, they eat our lettuce. I love seeing them go about their lives as I go about mine. My passion is to contribute to rebuilding habitat throughout the suburbs so that they too can live in areas we have taken over.
This is why we are helping restore habitat surrounding our market garden. Up the street from us is a 26 acre bushland reserve. There’s also horse paddocks and a small creek running through our land. Our plan is to restore and revegetate this creek, creating a habitat corridor connecting the bushland to the riparian vegetation beside the Brisbane river. Like us animals need to move.
Agriculture is the single largest human usage of land. It absolutely has the power to either degrade our landscapes or regenerate them. It’s a choice we face about how the land is managed: with no motive other than profit or with care, attention, and desire for a better future.