By Niel Vaughan
What happens when you take a long lineage of farming with integrity and apply it to a primary school project? Some of the best eggs in Australia. What started off as a couple of chooks for their daughter’s project turned into a new vision for farming the land and country.
For Paul and Jacqui Righetti, fourth-generation custodians of their Yandoit farm, farming is about making the world a better place. It’s about farming the land, community and stock with the kind of integrity that changes the world.
That is why Ian and Kim Garsed from down the road teamed up with Paul and Jacqui to start the Honest Eggs Company and co-op. A place where 50 chooks have a roaming roost of a standard AFL field, 24/7 access to clean water, grass and bugs, and the protection of a few Alpacas and couple of Maremmas for safety. As a unit, these happy chooks clean large swaths of old country and fertilise it with diverse grasses for the perfect habitat needed to raise top-end quality eggs, wool and beef.
What is the recipe for making Australia’s most coveted golden yolks?
Science and systems thinking. Farming in a way that regenerates the land and community. Livestock eat the grass down to a level where the chooks can then come in and eat the bugs, worms and grasses. The chooks act as fertiliser fixers. Once the grass is thick and lush, the livestock is reintroduced. Year after the year, the soil gets better and better. It’s a natural regenerative cycle that improves the land without the insistent need for artificial fertilisers and chemical pesticides that destroy the soil.
Honest Eggs are available in most good food stores and at the Slow Food Melbourne Farmers’ Market at the Spotswood-Kingsville RSL every fourth Saturday of the month, except for 22 December’s special Sunday Xmas market.