Ikaya Organic Farm
Peter and Sissi have been longstanding members of the Bellingen Growers Market. They produce delicious organic honey and a range of fresh seasonal vegetables including garlic and citrus at their beautiful riverside property in the Thora Valley, Ikaya Organic Farm.
Peter Krug's story as an organic farmer is very interesting and in many ways mirrors that of the wave of migrant new settlers who came to to the Bellinger valley in 1970s and 80's, changing the face of this community forever.
After finding his dream property in the Thora valley in 1980, Peter developed a strong interest in the concept of Permaculture. Whilst continuing to work in the building industry for a further 20 years, Peter honed his skills in organic gardening, striving for self-sufficiency.
Peter believes that organic food production is the way forward to achieve a sustainable society and way of life - and to go back to a more localised economy. He says:
"we in the developed world have to learn to turn down our appetite for consumption if we are to make a difference on a sustainable life".
In 2000, Peter decided to "put my money where my mouth is" and gave up his career as a licensed builder and started organic farming. Interested in design, in particular eco-design he started desigining implements for organic cultivation. He says:
"I put this to good use by designing and building a forage harvester capable of chipping and shredding, as well as various special hand tools for weeding and planting, and a three function machine for preparing ground for planting in one pass. I gained Organic Certification A and started to supply wholesalers with garlic and some other produce like cucumbers, beans etc"
"I always considered the farm as an experimental project, firstly, how to develop systems, infrastructure and methods to make organic farming work, and secondly, is it possible to make a full time living from it".
In 2004 Sissi gave up her career as a paediatrician in Munich, Germany, and joined Peter on the farm. Sometime later they started attending and selling at local markets and stopped selling to wholesalers.
"We increased our range of produce as it is desirable in an organic growing system, and also to satisfy the needs of customers. For cost and bureaucracy reasons we then suspended our certification, but are still dedicated organic growers sticking a 100% to organic standards".
We thank Peter and Sissi for being such valued contributors to the Bellingen Growers Market and for all that you have given over many years to help progress sustainable food production. We know it has been a long journey and your pioneering efforts are truly appreciated.