Southampton Homestead and Farm is owned and operated by Jeff Pow and Michelle McManus, and Jeff’s children Lottie, Eliza and Joe.
The Southampton story is one of boldness, resilience and hope. Since Jeff purchased the property in 2006, and began the hard and painfully slow process of restoring the soils and grasses from pine plantation back to original perennial pastures. He also transformed the property from a ‘weekender’ and bed and breakfast, to a regenerative, working farm. In 2011, he made the bold decision to leave a management role in mining and relocate permanently to Southampton Homestead and start farming. Forty years of neglect meant that infestations of french Blackberry made the organic reform process using animals to apply grazing pressure made progress slow but steady.
In the summer of 2013, the unthinkable happened – the farm, including the historic homestead and all the animals, was devastated by fire. 10,000 acres in total were decimated in the inferno.
Grim but undeterred, Jeff commenced the rebuilding process almost immediately with the help of neighbours, friends and sometimes strangers. Barns, fences, water and infrastructure were rebuilt, and the pastures were re-seeded immediately with a cocktail of perennial grasses. When the fields were ready, life returned to the valley. After unrelenting efforts, the farm is on track to its most prosperous year ever in 2014/15.
Michelle joined the farm in late 2013, bringing an open mind, her business experience and a pair of workboots. With a background in community development and sustainability, particularly in the corporate sector, Michelle supports the strong Southampton vision with both her business creativity and significant operational ‘grunt’.
With family, friends and a connected global community of regenerative farmers, we celebrate life with food.