MORE than just a boutique industry, alternative farming has become a global trend, with record crowds flocking to the Seymour Alternative Farming Expo last week to learn all about it for themselves.
There were 22,000 visitors and 500 stallholders at the 26th annual expo, held at Kings Park in Seymour from Friday to Sunday, demonstrating the continuing growth in size and diversity of the event.
“Shining a spotlight on innovation, products and techniques in small and backyard farming, from both Seymour and Australia wide, there is nothing like the expo anywhere else,” Seymour Expo events manager Susie Filleti said.
“Not only does it cater for the best and the most fascinating in non-traditional farming, it also provides a fun day for families and those seeking a festival day out,” she said. “The expo also provides an enormous economic and social impact for Seymour and the Mitchell Shire region, and the opportunity to showcase all the area has to offer.”
Among the exhibitor highlights this year was special guest Paula Pownall from the Grubs Up Insect Farm (check it out in the April issue of Small Farms), who provided insight into cricket consumption for both animals and humans. “We saw that there was a new trend in farming with the crickets, and Grubs Up are the first in Australia to do it, so having them at the expo was a huge coup,” Ms Filleti said.
Innovation in farming took centre stage at the expo in myriad other ways. Popular exhibitor The Yield, an agriculture technology company, showcased their app called Sensing+, which converts data collected from on-farm sensors into a seven-day weather forecast.
“This is another example that is the very definition of alternative farming, by using new trends in technology to achieve better farming practices,” Ms Filleti said.
Visitors laughed, smiled and looked on in awe at the expo’s two stellar animal shows. The Pig Racing Australia Show saw pigs dive into pools of water and race one another with glee, while the Flipping Disc Dogz Show saw a team of Border Collies impress the crowd with tricks and stunts.
Some of the finest culinary delights were on display across the farmers’ market, food courts, and individual stallholders. In addition to the tastings and patrons sitting down to enjoy a meal, there were also some fascinating demonstrations in butchery and cooking.