An Observer of Shifting Light

I am a queer disabled writer living on Kaurna Country. I am currently writing a narrative nonfiction book exploring the connections between farming, labour and the healing of land and people.

I came to this project through personal hardship, when chronic illness forced me to leave the farming job I loved. I began to question how alternative farming could be truly regenerative – not just for the soil, but for people too – while existing within systems of capitalism and colonialism. How can we make agriculture a project of healing? This book is my boldest and most challenging creative undertaking, and I can’t wait to share it with readers. I believe this work will impact all of us, as we are all connected to the land and its workers through the food we eat.

To complete my book and include key voices, I need to take a research trip. I hope to attend the Australian Food Sovereignty Convergence in NSW in October, where I will join this country’s food sovereignty movement in debate, sharing, strategy and collaboration. This will be an opportunity to connect with farmers and activists from across the country, and will provide important insights and relationships to enrich my work.

On the way to Convergence I will visit and interview farmers, landholders and traditional custodians who are developing models of land use and food production that show a better way forward. These include Budj Bim Cultural Landscape, Farm Raiser, Tumpinyeri Growers, Jonai Farms, Yambulla and Black Duck Foods. These experiences will help point the way to a collaborative, healing and sustainable farming future that I will share in my book.

The more I learn, the more I am convinced that there can be no food sovereignty without land sovereignty, and no food justice without labour justice. I don’t have all the answers to the food system’s challenges, but in order to find them – and frame the right questions – connection with other farmers, food activists and First Nations practitioners is vital.

Funded by Adelaide (June 2023)