We first met Bec Elyse when she sent us some of her mouthwatering recipes for Chocolate Avocado Mousse and Raspberry Chia Jelly Slice, but after a few emails back and forth we got to know more and more about her lovely farm life here on the Sunshine Coast. Tucked away in the Noosa hinterland, Bec, Jon, and their golden retriever Sunshine have a beautiful relationship with the land they live on. They’ve built a dream life on Brightside Farm, so we asked her to share more about it - and easy ways you can adopt the farm life at home.
What inspired you and Jon to choose the lifestyle you have at Brightside Farm?
I have always been a bit of a barefoot hippie at heart with a natural affiliation towards nature and nutrition. Growing up I witnessed my mother’s healing journey with heavy metal poisoning which has played a poignant and invaluable role in my family’s life. We have grown to understand the importance of fresh, wholesome organic foods, living a low tox life, connection with mother earth, and having an attitude of gratitude.
Jon, on the other hand, came from living a fast-paced life in a concrete jungle. Surviving on coffee, cigarettes, and processed food was the norm in the film and music video industry he was in. Since Jon and I met, he has totally embraced this new endeavor and we have never looked back.
How did you turn the dream into reality?
Our dream is still a work in progress and every day there is something to learn or a new project to begin. Creating our homestead from scratch involves patience, time, and a willingness to learn. A lot of our building materials, home decor, and farmhouse knick-knacks have been sourced from flea markets, vintage farmhouse stores, or demolition yards. Plus a little DIY is a lot of fun too. Jon is a real go-getter and always finds a way to make things materialize. My dream has always been quite humble: I’ve simply dreamt of spending my days in the kitchen pickling, preserving, and whipping up delicious wholesome goodies from my very own garden. All we had to do was literally and figuratively plant the seed.
What are the parts that you love the most? What are the parts that are the most challenging?
To be honest we simply love it all. We are living our dream. Our little homestead is set just 10 minutes from the beach so we are able to enjoy the best of both worlds: the land and the sea. A good day’s work is incredibly satisfying and rewarding when you get to see the fruits of your labor.
How has your lifestyle on the farm helped you through the lockdown?
It’s kept us grounded and connected to mother nature. We are incredibly grateful for the simple and often free things in life. A fresh lemon from the tree, the ability to simply feel the grass under our feet, a cuddle from our pooch, or sharing a home-cooked meal with one another is what makes our world go round.
What is your vision for the future?
We are literally in the midst of creating our magical homestead. Our vision is to convert our existing home into a farmhouse surrounded by lush organic veggie patches, fairy lights, and sunflowers. We would love to raise children who are connected to nature with a love for wholesome foods and an appreciation of where it comes from. We envision lots of beautiful fruit trees, chickens, and a big greenhouse to propagate all our seedlings.
We also plan on building a small eco-cabin where people can stay from around the globe and experience a glimpse of Brightside Farm life. We would love the farm and the surrounding areas to be a source of both inspiration and bliss - to feed people’s minds, bodies, and souls.
What advice would you give to people wanting to commit this kind of life?
We would say go for it! Our journey is a learn as we go experience. Among our successes, there are many trials and errors but that’s all part of the fun. You don’t need to be an expert, just let your passion lead the way and start today! Even if that means growing a few herbs on your balcony, a couple of chickens on your suburban block, or a small hobby farm like us, just follow your heart.
What tips would you give people wanting to take elements of life on the farm into inner-city apartments, etc.?
- Become an apartment farmer! We understand that not everyone has access to the space needed to keep chooks or build a large veg patch but there are so many means of bringing farm life into your apartment.
- Your balcony could become your edible oasis. Edible flowers, leafy greens, herbs, and many vegetables can be grown in pots. Vertical kitchen gardens are another option if space is really tight.
- You could create a mini orchard on your patio with dwarf fruit trees.
- Sprouts and microgreens can be grown on your kitchen bench.
- Set up an indoor compost. There are brands specifically designed for urban living.
- Grow your own mushrooms. They only need a tiny space with minimal light.
- Learn to pickle, preserve, and ferment.
- If all else fails, source out your local farmer’s markets and buy direct from the growers themselves.
Is there anything else you would like to share that might inspire our community, both in regard to the current pandemic and in life in general?
I will leave you with this beautiful real food manifesto from Alexx Stewart...
"A REAL FOOD MANIFESTO! Eat real food, not packets & promises. Change ONE thing a week. Do the best you can. Teach & cook with your kids. Grow your own. Cook from the heart. Quit eating numbers. CELEBRATE food together. Say a loud NO! to GMO. Support local farms. Spread the word."