After a 15-year career in marketing in the UK and Sydney, Emma Lane left the corporate world and life in the city behind to focus on raising her four children with her husband Tom here in Byron Bay, all the while fostering her interest in health, wellbeing and nutrition. After becoming a qualified health coach, armed with her passion for growing real food and a love of nature and the benefits of organic farming, she and Tom created The Farm, Byron Bay. We spent the afternoon with Emma and her two daughters Matilda & Lulu, discussing the inspiration behind The Farm, her beautiful home, her new program Grow. Feed. Educate. Give Back.™ and her musings on health, wellbeing and motherhood.
How would you describe your life in 3 words?
Dynamic, abundant and constantly evolving.
Tell us about the Farm, what was the inspiration behind it?
The Farm is an 80 acre working farm in the outskirts of Byron Bay and runs with the overarching ethos of Grow, Feed, Educate and Give back. The Farm is made up of a community of like-minded businesses that all work towards the goal of teaching people about real food, where it comes from and of course caring about the future of the planet. As well as the wonderful food offering through the onsite restaurant Three Blue Ducks, we have plenty of courses for both adults and children that focus on how people can farm more consciously taking better care of the soil, from biodynamics to bee-keeping. This was all inspired by a little farm we owned in Federal whereby we grew our own veggies and saw the positive impact this had on our own children. It was this experience that lead us to create The Farm, so that other children could have a similar experience to ours on a real working farm. Over the last five years we have educated hundreds of school children and continue to create programs and experiences that adds to our offering here.
How has your commitment to climate solutions & sustainability shaped your home life?
After having children and looking into the future of the world they live in, the future of the planet became all the more important. This inspired us to create projects and a business that had the element of mindfulness around the future of the planet and directed us to leave a positive legacy for our children. The Farm Byron Bay was created with that concept at its heart. As we set about renovating and building our home this also drove many of our decisions. We upcycled and recycled many aspects and elements of the build. We are predominately off grid generating our own solar power and collecting our own water. We don’t have air-conditioning and we heat the house with the northern sun and open fire, fuelling this with fallen trees from the forests. We try to be as resourceful and mindful as we can as we go about our life, we are certainly not perfect, but we are consciously giving it our best shot.
How would you describe the style of your home?
Our home is inspired by both an Australian farm house and a Spanish Finca. A Finca is a traditional farm house in Spain that is usually on an estate with a main farm house, several out buildings and often an orchid. Having lived In Spain for a time we declared one day we would build our own Finca influenced home. We love the soft earthy renders, use of timber and general feeling of this type of dwelling, so when we then found the acreage in the Byron Hinterland and we discovered it had an orchid we started to believe that this design dream would be possible here. It only took just over a decade for it to be realised after our time in Spain, glad we weren’t in a hurry…
Describe to us when you are most happy?
There really are two situations that make me very happy: time with my family, eating a delicious nutritious meal together (partly home grown even better), looking out across nature and the rolling hills, and the second to be secluded in my studio tinkering with my paints or editing images. As well as family time, being alone to be creative is also important for one’s sanity.
How have you managed to juggle a family life, a business and time for yourself creatively?
It’s all about support and time management. Having a husband that parents equally and carving time out in the diary for yourself. You have to diarise it otherwise that time will be taken over by other ‘things’. There needs to be boundaries around time and where you spend it, and the first part of this is the art of learning when and how to say ‘No’ as well as ‘Yes.’
Tell us about your most recent project The Grow. Feed. Educate. Give Back.™program?
This is something that I am so excited about, and extremely proud of! The Grow. Feed. Educate. Give Back.™ Program is a holistic education program for children aged 3-10 years which we developed in collaboration with the wonderful education team from Whole Beings®. It was close to a year in the making, and something I had personally hoped would one day come into fruition since we created The Farm. There are 12-modules in the program offering a holistic approach to the lessons found on a working organic farm, such as The Farm Byron Bay, and beyond. The program guides children through a series of real-world learning experiences and creates opportunities for those learnings to become home and community actions. There’s over 1 hour of exclusive Farm video content, 96 holistic experience guides accompanied with 48 micro content videos plus each child can not only ‘visit’ The Farm using their Farm Passports to navigate the course—they will also be part of the organic learning revolution and become a Farm Citizen!
I have always believed that children are the future keepers of this planet—what we teach them now will determine what our and their future looks like. The course content unearths a conscious educational approach to climate solutions by following the sustainability and regeneration model of The Farm. All modules include hands-on, creative, highly visual and mindful coursework designed for an authentic holistic approach to learning that can be easily translated into practice. Best of all, the program is fun – and we all know that children learn best through play and being happy.
What was the inspiration behind this project?
Education has always been one of the key pillars of The Farm and something we are constantly looking at developing…in this modern time, a digital education platform was a very natural next step.
Our most valuable natural resource is in the education of our children, as they hold the future of the planet in their hands. My dream is for families all over the world to be inspired to not only understand where their food comes from, but to connect themselves to our planet and as a result, look after it for generations to come. I hope this program can be used as a family resource that will spark new conversations and ignite this passion. It may just be a small step, but every step in the right direction makes a difference.