Silvio - From a conventional cattle farming family in Brazil to small scale organic farming in NZ

Abundant Backyard, New Zealand

We meet Silvio at his market garden, the Abundant Backyard. Silvio started his life journey in Brazil. His grandfather is a cattle farmer, the conventional kind. Big surface, lots of chemicals and mechanization. Following a course in animal science, he starts to travel the world and ends up in New-Zealand where he works at a fast food chain for 4 years in order to gain residency. He goes on working in a supermarket and then in a bar. At that time, wondering how to orientate himself, he has the opportunity to attend a horticulture course.

This is the starting point of a complete transformation for him. He starts to eat better, pay more attention to his health and learns to love the land. So he decides to travel again but this time he is going to wwoof (volunteer in exchange for accomodation and food) in order to practice. His journey teaches him how it is possible to live off the land.

He finds himself working in Mexico, in Guatemala, in Nicaragua, learns about permaculture during 6 weeks in Costa Rica, gets a chance to apply his learning in Panama. Back in NZ, he proceeds to obtain his level 4 in horticulture in order to practice at commercial level.

When the opportunity comes up to discover Market Gardening, his horticulture teacher pushes him to attend one workshop at the Pakaraka farm of the unique series of workshops in NZ taught by both Jean-Martin Fortier and Curtis Stone. His learning goes up a whole notch in a single weekend. He then dives deeper in Permaculture learning from a couple over a year and eventually partenering to launch the Abundant Backyard in 2016, where they provide the land and investment and he the workforce.

After a year, they switch to a simple lease and Silvio is flying on his own in the Market Gardening world with his half acre garden. He gets an organic certification too with Organic Farming NZ which organises itself by pods of peers for the reviews. He is quite successful at it too, soon reaching 60% profitability. The only fossil fuel he uses is for the delivery van and the abundance of his little garden is impressive !



Facebook: @abundantbackyard

Instagram: abundantbackyard


Abundant Backyard

Videos made on-site:

Advise from a young farmer to start a market garden

Stretch your tomato plants

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