The new centre of farm-to-table
There is something stirring in the hinterland surrounding Byron Bay. In an increasingly chaotic and fast-moving world, a new generation of creative entrepreneurs has emerged, looking to borrow inspiration from a different time; when everything consumed was grown, raised or produced locally. Once known as a magnet for tourists looking to try on an 'alternative' lifestyle for size, the area surrounding the iconic beach town of Byron now boasts a burgeoning community of makers interested in living and interacting as closely with the land and what they produce as possible.
The towns of Bangalow and Newrybar, and the wider area, are fast becoming known for their craftsmen, artisans, specialist antique dealers and visionary chefs. Harvest in Newrybar and The Farm in Ewingsdale are two such examples. Harvest only serves and sells locally sourced, organic products from their restaurant and deli. The Farm goes one step further by producing what they use in their restaurant and bakery on the property’s eighty acres, which houses a collective of micro businesses working together toward the same dream.
These businesses are inspiring, and speak to a greater movement searching for a more authentic connection with the earth, and a yearning for good, honest living closer to nature.
Movements beget movements, so perhaps this urge to live more authentically is a reaction to the globalised, technologically advanced world we've found ourselves a part of. The last few decades have seen the world change in such a dramatic fashion, that it no longer resembles the place we knew even just ten years ago. New technology has revolutionised the way we eat, sleep, work, meet, date, interact, communicate and love, at such a pace that it is exciting and deeply frightening. With this degree of change dragging us all, voluntarily or not, into the next century, it is perhaps only natural we yearn for simpler, and more authentic experiences.
This yearning echoes the values espoused by the followers of the Art and Craft movement of the late 19th and early 20th century. For a movement defined by nostalgia for what was perceived as a simpler, more spiritually nourishing society, a high standard of work for consumer goods, concern over the poor conditions of factory work, and fear of pollution caused by industrialisation, it seems farm-to-table has some striking parallels. The ‘grim metal darlings’ of the Industrial Age, as described by Charlotte Brontë in Shirley, are the advances in science and technology we are now witnessing; and this new generation of creative entrepreneurs are the William Morrises of today. The values of integrity, quality, social responsibility and self-expression are common in both movements, and illustrate just how cyclical human society really is.
People once believed what made us human, and a success as a species, was our ability to make and use tools. We now know this to be false, but perhaps this belief reveals something about the value we place on our abilities as makers. To imagine, plan and then create something from scratch is a profoundly beautiful thing that we too easily take for granted, but when focused upon we can redefine our definition of what intrinsic value really means.
It is with this longing for true value, authenticity and collective entrepreneurship that we began être. We have a dream to connect with like-minded people, who notice and treasure the moments of un-looked-for beauty in life; the moments which make it worth living. There is no greater perfection to us than being present in this world, to witness its marvels and mysteries and to draw inspiration from it. We have no greater aim than to simply share our wonder at the beauty we see.
It is comforting then, that our aims echo those of this community of creatives and crafters, artists and artisans, living and working around Byron Bay; inspiring people exercising their creativity and discovering their truths about value and authenticity, and what that means to them.
Thinking of heading to Byron Bay for a return to simplicity? Check out our Byron duet, including Byron—Coastal and Byron—Hinterland, featuring some of our favourite little-known hangouts and hidden gems, in some of the most amazing places on earth.