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Invisible Farmer - Australia’s first woman organic farmer discovered in Switzerland: The story of Ileen Macpherson

Paull, John (2017) Invisible Farmer - Australia’s first woman organic farmer discovered in Switzerland: The story of Ileen Macpherson. Invisible Farmer Project, 2 August 2017, Aug, pp. 1-11.

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Document available online at: https://invisiblefarmer.net.au/blog/2017/8/1/australias-first-woman-organic-farmer-discovered-in-switzerland-the-story-of-ileen-macpherson


On a hunch, I travelled from Oxford to the Swiss village of Dornach. Could it be that there were Australians who joined the world’s earliest organic agriculture research organisation back in the 1920s or 1930s? Then, I had never heard of Ileen Macpherson. I discovered in the archives of the Goetheanum that twelve Australians had joined Rudolf Steiner’s Experimental Circle. This is the story of one of those pioneers of organic farming, Ileen Macpherson (1898-1984). Ileen Macpherson was the daughter of a farming family. They farmed large pastoral properties in the south of New South Wales (NSW); Paika Station (250,000 acres) and later Goonambil Station, in the Murrumbidgee Valley. In 1934, Ileen, along with her partner Ernesto Genoni (1885-1974), founded ‘Demeter Biological Farm’ in Dandenong, Victoria, Australia. The Invisible Farmer Project <www.invisible farmer.net.au> aims to make the invisible visible. Here we scratch off some of the invisibility that has settled on an Australian pioneer of organic agriculture. Beginning more than eight decades ago, Ileen Macpherson, with her Demeter Farm and her partner Ernesto Genoni, blazed a trail for the development of biodynamics and organics. Australia is now a world leader in organic farming. Australian organics has been growing at 16% annually for the past two decades. And Australia now accounts for a massive 45% of the world’s certified organic agriculture hectares. But, in the beginning were just a few pioneers - so nearly invisible now - who took the vision of an Austrian philosopher to heart and set out to make it real.

EPrint Type:Newspaper or magazine article
Keywords:biodynamic, Demeter, Goetheanum, Rudolf Steiner, Dandenong, Victoria, Ernesto Genoni, pernicious anaemia
Subjects: Farming Systems
"Organics" in general > Countries and regions > Australia
"Organics" in general > Countries and regions > France
"Organics" in general > Countries and regions > Switzerland
"Organics" in general > History of organics
Research affiliation:Australia > University of Tasmania
Related Links:http://orgprints.org/31230/1/JO415.pdf, http://orgprints.org/27514/18/27514.pdf, http://orgprints.org/26110/7/26110.pdf, http://orgprints.org/18809/1/Paull2011KoberwitzEJSS.pdf, http://utas.academia.edu/JohnPaull, http://www.abc.net.au/radio/hobart/programs/tas-country-hour/ileen-mcpherson/8789968, http://invisiblefarmer.net.au/blog/2017/8/1/australias-first-woman-organic-farmer-discovered-in-switzerland-the-story-of-ileen-macpherson
Deposited By: Paull, Dr John
ID Code:32035
Deposited On:04 Sep 2017 11:45
Last Modified:04 Sep 2017 11:45
Document Language:English

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