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At a glance

Who: Paul Miragliotta
What:  Operates 16 acre market garden
Where: Suburban farm 22km from Melbourne CBD

Can you tell us about your property?

Organic vegetables such as onions, tomatoes, brussel sprouts and whatever vegetables the climate permits. Farming on this land for 6 years servicing the restaurant market. 


What first got you thinking about climate change? 

I have always been very drawn to nature and ever since learning about the greenhouse effect at school it has been central to my thinking. 


How has climate change impacted your farm business?

Hard to know the impacts already because have only been farming for 6 years but from speaking with the older farmers here that things have changed a lot. They speak of frosts hanging around until 10am but I have never seen that. 


What are some of the climate-smart strategies you’ve been employing and how successful have they been?

Minimal tillage, we prepare the area and we sow a cover crop with a big species mix of at least 12 species to increase biomass. The cover crop grows really big in winter then put a huge amount of straw over the top to smother it and then plant directly into that. Have been able to do a crop of tomatoes without irrigation because of this cover crop technique. Really trying to develop techniques that allows us to grow crops with no irrigation. Currently able to do garlic, onions, broad beans and trialing pumpkins. This will give the business greater resilience in the dry years. 


Do you use renewable energy on your farm? What are the benefits?

No, have had an energy assessment done but haven’t had any projects suitable.


If you could send a message about climate change to the Federal Government (in 50 words or less) what would it be?

We can’t work the fields when there is a week of over 40-degree temperatures.

Farmer:  Paul Miragliotta
Photo credit: Theresa Harrison Photography
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