Have you got a desire to grow your own fruit and veg but no idea where to start? Speak to a farming professional.
Currumbin Valley’s David Gower Freeman might have started his career as a military lawyer in the Australian Defence Force, rising to the rank of Lieutenant Colonel while serving in East Timor, Iraq and Afghanistan. He might also have enjoyed a successful career as an international lawyer and Adjunct Associate Professor of Law at QUT. But David’s passion is for fresh organic produce and his desire is to spread that knowledge and passion to other wannabe organic farmers.
David’s family owns and operates one of the Gold Coast’s oldest farms, which started as a banana plantation in 1915. Freeman’s Organic Farm goes back to David’s great uncle, Arthur Freeman, who is regarded as the pioneer of the banana industry in Australia. Arthur began growing bananas in the Currumbin Valley, after leaving his banana plantations in Fiji. The farm was established in 1915, and in the 1920s became the largest commercial banana farm in Australia, with more than 100 acres of bananas (some 100,000 banana trees) and 40 full-time employees. In honour of Arthur, the then Albert Shire Council and Gold Coast City Council erected ‘Arthur Freeman Lookout’.
Nowadays, David is in a farming family partnership with his parents, Lesley Freeman OAM and Bill Freeman MBE (“At 92 years young, he is a local legend and is the oldest man in Currumbin Valley,” David says) while also teaching locals how to grow their own produce through his two-day Organic
Farming and Nutrition course. The workshop includes an organic gardening book with all the notes from the course, a soil test kit, 200 organic seeds, a punnet of organic seedlings and a consultation at home to test your soil and help design your organic garden, courtesy of David.
“We are lucky enough to have deep red volcanic soil, which is the most fertile agricultural soil in the world,” he says. “Due to its unique minerals and fertility, our produce not only grows better but has a wonderful taste and texture and is also nutrient dense.”
David’s next workshop will be held in mid-November, Check out his tours or get in touch for more tips from this pro.