Farmers add income stream with camping

Farmers add income stream with camping

Setting aside a paddock for campers to enjoy a slice of life on Homegrown Organics farm at Rollands Plains is proving to be a vital agritourism ingredient in the farm income mix for owners Rod and Desley Bailey.

It’s also added a new element of fun at the Bailey’s 112-hectare property, which produces vegetables from an ‘intensive’ one-hectare organic garden.

“I absolutely love it,” Desley said. “We get to share our fresh produce with the campers and we often get invited down for a meal with them.  It’s really lovely meeting all these people.”

The Bailey’s agritourism venture began slowly at the start of 2022. Persistent wet weather and localised flooding did not make for ideal camping conditions, but bookings through Hipcamp flourished as sunny dry weather finally emerged.

The Bailey family from Rollands Plains- Hannah, Ella, Jack, Rod and Desley

Desley said 2022 was also not a kind year for growing vegetables on a commercial scale. Heavy rainfall and flooding wiped out 90 per cent of their production last year.

“The only crops that survived were the ones we had in the poly houses. It was tough year last year, but the weather fined up towards the end and boom, the Hipcampers came in droves. It’s slowed a little now as the school holidays wind up.

“We only have two sites at the moment, but we are looking to expand that to four and adding a 4WD-only access site up the back for those who want a dose of rugged wilderness.

“The last 12 months has really highlighted how important it is for us to diversify the farm business, and providing on farm camping spots through Hipcamp is doing just that.

Desley Bailey from Homegrown Organics

“When we look at the work and energy that goes into growing two acres of vegetables to make money compared to letting people come and camp on our property, it’s a no brainer.”

The campground at Homegrown Organics.

There is plenty to do for campers besides enjoying the peace and freedom of staying on the Bailey’s property. “We have the beautiful Wilson River just down the road, with swimming holes. There’s also local waterfalls, and we provide a map for people and some local knowledge on the good waterfalls that not everyone knows about.

“There is also a dam for swimming, garden tours, bush walks and all of our produce available for campers to add to their meals.”

Rod and Desley’s one-hectare organic vegetable garden is bouncing back, which is good news for the farm’s Hipcampers, and they are producing a bounty of in-season organic vegetables that are sold directly to consumers through online orders and a farmers market in Port Macquarie.

Homegrown Organics produce can now also be found at a weekly pop-up shop at the Port Central shopping centre.

“We need to do some more marketing to let people know about the pop-up shop as it is a good opportunity to promote our local produce. People have said that they wish we were there all the time,” Desley said.

The Bailey’s centre for organic vegetable production is set on one hectare of land on the 112 hectare property near Rollands Plains

Rod heads up farming operations at Homegrown Organics, Desley (aka Superwoman or The Boss) looks after sales, marketing and turning the produce into delicious food, and 17-year-old son and Handyman Jack is the harvest manager. Daughters Hannah and Ella are currently living off-farm.

“I’m a city girl that has been weaned to the country. Rod has always been a country boy, but this is his first farming venture,” Desley said.

“We were working for a non-profit organisation doing some training for young people on how to grow local food, and we would end up with a surplus of food. So we thought we should start selling it and that’s how Homegrown Organics started in May 2019.”

“We leased the property at first, and in January last year we were able to purchase it, which felt good.”

The farm also hosts school tours and school holiday workshops on gardening and bush survival skills, and Desley is excited about expanding this with more local schools through the NSW Farmers Kids to Farms program.

Learn more about recent agritourism planning changes here.

One thought on “Farmers add income stream with camping

  1. Good evening
    I had previously looked at hosting Hipcamp on my property. I had contacted your organisation but then dropped it as I felt I was not quite ready. I now feel I have the infrastructure and support to run with this. If I could be contacted on 0420276750 to discuss being part of hosting campers I would appreciate it.
    Beatrice Andersen

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