Simple life takes off as Far North families lockdown

AGRICULTURAL suppliers have recorded bumper sales from preppers and home gardeners as a wave of homesteading takes Cairns by storm.

NQ Rural Supplies owner manager Dion Rayner said sales of seeds and farm supplies had "lifted significantly" over the past fortnight.

"We have been totally cleaned out of seeds, chook food and building materials," Mr Rayner said.

 

Jodi Leonardi's homestead farm in Malanda provides enough produce to be self sufficient for three months without a trip to the supermarket.
Jodi Leonardi's homestead farm in Malanda provides enough produce to be self sufficient for three months without a trip to the supermarket.

He expects irrigation equipment to be next to fly out the door as new gardeners begin to understand the demands of being self-sufficient.

"They will realise that plants will need to be watered every couple of days," Mr Rayner said.

The newly agricultural-aware need not despair, however.

"It is not necessarily a big job if people know what to do," Mr Rayner said.

 

Georgie Leonardi, 5, gets to grips with homestead life in Malanda.
Georgie Leonardi, 5, gets to grips with homestead life in Malanda.

 

Josephine Leonardi is a veteran homesteader
Josephine Leonardi is a veteran homesteader

Homesteader Josephine Leonardi moved to Malanda one year ago, five years after she looked to her garden to provide her family's everyday needs.

"Homesteading is about becoming more self-sufficient and not being reliant on the shops," Ms Leonardi said.

When the coronavirus outbreak became a pandemic, she knew her 10.5ha, complete with a cow, goats and chooks, would be able to supply her family.

"I felt worried for everyone else," Ms Leonardi said.

"I took my mum shopping and that was the last time I went to the supermarket. We could not get enough food.

"I think it's crazy to have to go to the shops three or four times a week."

 

Georgie Leonardi, 5, gets to grips with homestead life in Malanda.
Georgie Leonardi, 5, gets to grips with homestead life in Malanda.

 

Jodi Leonardi's homestead farm in Malanda provides enough produce to be self sufficient for three months without a trip to the supermarket.
Jodi Leonardi's homestead farm in Malanda provides enough produce to be self sufficient for three months without a trip to the supermarket.

She has shared many of her hard-learned tips on a Facebook page called Urban Homesteading Mummas.

Ms Leonardi makes her own soaps, surface cleaners, washing machine liquid and dishwashing tablets.

She said setting up a home garden patch would not necessarily break the bank.

"Soil can be really expensive," Ms Leonardi said.

"You can do something quite basic - lay black plastic on grass and poke holes through for the seeds.

"Fertilise at the base so it trickles through and put plenty of mulch on top so the ground does not heat up too much."

On the outskirts of urban Cairns, Trinity Park homesteader Rachael Bon is about to launch a website: www.pearlsplot.com.

She intends to share her self-sufficiency tips and sell a range of homemade products, all made from the confines of a 735sq m urban block.

"I have had 100 people follow my Facebook page in the last week," Ms Bon said.

The website will include a blog compiling the greatest hits of her urban backyard, including crop rotations, weed tea and fish scrap fertiliser.

Originally published as Simple life takes off as Far North families lockdown