Farming doesn’t get the attention it deserves.
We are seeing amazing innovation from the farmers of the world and when you bring bitcoin into the picture you have some real potential for a major civilization upgrade. Meet Mark, He sells bitcoin on Paxful and specializes in helping newbies buy their first bitcoin.
From recent articles in the Hinterland Times, we know that farming can be anything but traditional. But local Mark Burgunder is pushing the boundaries with a whole different approach for his chooks and his transactions!
by Lisa Blainey
On a quiet farm down in Conondale it looks like any normal day. The chickens are roaming, Percy the peacock is up on the roof scouting for pea hens, the pigs Penny and George are in their sty and farmer Mark Burgunder is sitting at his computer looking at today’s online orders for eggs.
Mark and his partner Rosalba D’Agostino run Buda Organic Foods. They bought the 21-acre property in 2005 and then purchased an adjoining six acres of land in 2013.
“The whole property used to be full of bracken,” said Mark. “We’d drive up from Brisbane and live in the shed on the weekends. Through slashing the grass and leaving it to decompose we gradually got rid of it (the bracken) and began planting trees.
“We started out with chestnuts, but they haven’t grown as we’d hoped. We’ve since planted citrus, cashews, pecans and mulberry trees. The trees are taking longer than we expected to become profitable, mainly due to the degraded soil.”
In 2011 the pair moved full time onto their block and managed the build of their straw bale house while continuing to improve the ground.
“We used a lot of compost and truckloads of horse manure for the trees,” said Mark. “Although we are not trained in permaculture we started using permaculture practices, like slowing down the water when it rains hard, by building a ditch along the contour and allowing the water to slowly percolate into the ground.”
While the farm may be small it’s always been big in innovation with Mark introducing a number of ‘firsts’ to the Sunshine Coast.
The first innovation was Buda Organic Foods ‘Clucker Share’ launched at a Maleny Chamber of Commerce breakfast in early 2013.
Mark said, “We always wanted chickens. As a certified organic property, we started with a dozen chickens and launched ‘Clucker Share’. Now we have 50 laying hens and 10 more starting to lay in the next month or two.”
Buda Organic Foods ‘Clucker Share’ program is simple. Mark says, “$75 buys you a chicken for four years. We look after it on our organic farm and you contribute three dollars per week towards food and upkeep.
“In return we deliver six eggs a week to all our customers in the 4552 postcode. After your four-year ‘Clucker Share’ is up, your hen is retired on the farm, literally put out to pasture until she dies a natural death.”
As committed vegetarians, Mark and Rosalba’s property is totally vegetarian. Both the pigs on their property are rescue pigs.
Online ordering and dealing direct with their customers has always been part of Buda Organic Foods business plan. It is a sustainable way of growing their business, and fits their personal ethos of being as sustainable as possible. Their farm also runs on 100% solar electricity.
The next big innovation occurred at the end of 2014 when Buda Organic Foods became the first farm on the Sunshine Coast to accept Bitcoins as payment.
Bitcoins are a decentralised digital currency. There are no banks or central governments controlling the currency instead it is ‘mined’ by a community of people using an online software program.
Buda Organic Foods accepts Bitcoins as payments for their eggs both through their website and in person using an app on Mark’s mobile phone when he deliveries the eggs.
I asked Mark why he is so passionate about encouraging local businesses to accept Bitcoins. Mark said, “I feel Bitcoin is safer than PayPal as no-one sees the secret information necessary to make a Bitcoin payment and the safety and security protocols are much stronger.
“Also with Bitcoin once the transaction made there is no charge back or refunds. This is a big plus for small business owners.”
If you have a Bitcoin question Mark is happy to help, as he says, “The more local businesses accepting Bitcoin means it is easier for locals to spend their Bitcoin with other locals, and it makes our region an attractive tourist destination for early adopters of this digital currency.”