Sapphire Beach’s New Life Farm reopens after floods wipe out gardens

Alice Williams and Darren Smith reopening their New Life Farm market gardening business.


EMERGING from flood damage, New Life Farm market garden in Sapphire Beach has reopened after eight weeks repairing, reworking and future-proofing the farm.

“Drought, bushfires, floods in February and December 2020 and then the third flood in March 2021 wiped us out with no food to sell,” Darren Smith, Farmer at New Life Farm told News Of The Area.

Turning the closure into an opportunity has driven the five-generation family-owned farm to rework some practices and install structures to create a more resilient produce-growing operation.

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“We’d planned for some infrastructure improvements to try to future-proof ourselves and be able to sustainably continue to grow.

“This included building a large grow tunnel, correcting some drainage and starting works on a new garden that would be more flood-resilient.

“We created a new pick-up area that had been on the cards for the past five years, it’s now all-weather and easy for customers to collect their produce from the farm.

“It was all hands on deck with Al (partner) and Mum and Dad chipping in every day.

“We were very fortunate to qualify for some flood relief funding via the NSW Rural Assistance Authority which was to cover the cost of labour to help us get back up to speed.

“We wouldn’t be in the position we’re in now without it, we’re very grateful for the assistance.”

The farm has reopened its online farmer’s market store with regular customers returning in droves.

“We opened the shop on Sunday morning and were sold out within the day.”

The farm has big plans for the future, the third market garden in the growing.

The family will be “implementing all the lessons we’ve learned in gardens one and two”, said Darren.

“There’s plans for a more extensive orchard, with varieties of fruit that will grow well in this climate.

“We’re working on some portable grow tunnels to further secure our growing ability through all weather.”

Darren’s great, great grandmother, Sarah Jane Wake nee Stringer, bought the farm in 1910, hence the farm’s address of Wakelands Road.




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