Nicola: Your work and life is obviously inspired by nature. Can you tell me why nature is so important to you, and how it influences the work you do?
Jade: Biofilia is a concept which is integral in each and every one of us, however I have a very high need for connection to the outside, natural world. I was fortunate to spend vast blocks of time as a child literally living in the elements. My dad was an artist and we spent a great deal of time on camp with him while he painted or locked outside the house during the day while he painted in the Studio. We also grew all our own food so our deep rhythmic understanding of the seasons, the influence of weather, the connection to the cyclical nature of each year was bedded down very early and both my brother and I have continued this pattern of living with our children now entrenched in annual growing, preparing/readying, eating, storing, valuing the food we grow as a direct descendant from the type of weather we have experienced that season.
Our way of life is simple, predominantly outdoors and extends from the boundaries of our farm to the roadsides where foraged foods are found, the nearby bushland where we wander for bushwalks, the also nearby pine forests where we hunt for mushrooms, the not too far away mountains where we escape to on especially warm days, the abundant rivers we swim in weekly , our own dam which we frequent every day while its warm, the haybales we scramble on, the bird book which each of us reaches for even if we know the name of the bird we just spotted, the wood we grow and cut for our warmth, the hay we grow to feed the stock and the remaining straw we use to mulch our vegetable beds.
Our year here is very much defined but the distinct seasons, and our daily patterns are endlessly evolving so there is rarely time for any day to become mundane.
Charlie: Nature is the most important thing in everyone's life, it's just that most don't realise or appreciate it. Irrespective of who we are, the level of importance nature has for each of us is a matter of fact not personal interpretation. Nature provides the means for each of us to exist, it literally provides the air we breath, the water we drink, the food we eat and regulates the atmosphere we are dependent on. Modern society has been able to obscure this fact to our increasingly urban population, however each person sitting in an apartment is still reliant on each of those ecosystem services to deliver the means required for their existence, even if the urbanite can't see, smell, hear or taste the very ecosystem or piece of nature that provides those essential services.
Nature is the largest influencer of our work at Black Barn Farm, we seek to understand the pattern of relationships that exists in a natural forest so we can design a similar package of processes and patterns within our orchard system.
Nicola: And lastly, if someone reading your story were inspired to follow their own creative dream, what advice would you give them?
Jade: Start where you are, with what you've got and be willing to make mistakes - some of your most magnificent discoveries will be through adversity, trial and error. Further to this, don’t be afraid to follow your instinct...even if it differs from what your spoken ‘goal’ is.
We have had a very clear long term plan for more than 20 years and while the path has meandered here and there as I’ve followed my instinct, made mistakes and been surprised by outcomes, it has never wavered from the end goal which we are lucky enough to be united on.
In response to what your community needs: collaborative efforts are incredibly powerful and from little things big things grow, so do your research and just start! Sow that seed and watch it grow.
Also, you can only move as fast as the community you are working within, so be sure to really understand their "WHY" so you can speak to it and bring more people on the journey with you.
You can find Black Barn Farm on their website or follow progress on Instagram.