Kaycee Simuong and Tom Macindoe

Kaycee and Tom are regen farmers growing vegetables and raising small herd of cattle

Created by Kaycee Simuong
Watch time – 4 minutes

Kaycee Simuong and Tom Macindoe run The Mandarin Bend farm in the Upper Nambucca Valley, Gumbaynggirr Country. They’ve been practicing regenerative farming there for the past six years and together they grow veggies (which they sell at a small market garden) and graze a small herd of beef cattle. Soil health and ecological wealth are the guiding principles of their farm, read on below to hear more about their story from Kaycee.

What does regen ag mean to you?

Regen ag is the practice of embracing our role as a co-creator with the earth. It means being an active participant in listening, engaging, and co-creating with our surroundings in a way that benefits the land, ourselves, and the people we feed. It is about realising our full potential, and creating more life.

What was your personal journey to regen ag?

We strongly feel regen ag is our calling. We didn’t ever imagine farming any other way than environmental health and human health at the centre of what we do. We have only been farming full time for 6 years, and come from non-farming backgrounds, so we are quite new to the journey. We both have degrees in environmental science, which has meant we got a really solid foundational understanding of earth systems. Using chemicals or destructive practices was something we have never considered.

What practices are you using on your farm?

In the garden, we focus on building soil health through multi species cover cropping, applying compost, brewing beneficial microbe brews and we have large worm farms to produce worm tea and castings.

Initially, the farm was one big paddock, which we’re now splitting-up to move our cattle through a grazing rotation.

Since the river runs through our property, we’re also focusing alot of time & energy into rehabilitating the riparian corridor.


What benefits have you seen?

In terms of our market garden, the soils continue to improve in organic matter & microbial diversity whilst still maintaining an incredible yield week in week out. By no means have we dialed it yet, but we soil test regularly & are definitely headed in the right direction. Anecdotally, we also receive consistent positive feedback about the taste & shelf-life of our produce.

Having a better handle on our stock management has improved our animal, soil & pasture health, & removing stock from large parts of our waterways has kick-started the return of rainforest vegetation. And that’s definitely a good feeling!

What have the challenges been?

Like all land stewards, riding the waves of weather extremes has been very challenging. In our short time here, we’ve farmed through some of the most adverse droughts, heatwaves, fires & floods in living memory. Getting our soils dialed-in to produce the volumes of veg that we do is another constant challenging, but an exciting & humbling one. Also, managing cattle in coastal subtropical climates can also be a test at times. Overcoming buffalo fly is definitely one that springs to mind.

What have you learned?

A deep understanding of observation. Farming really hones this, & it’s so crucial to how you adapt & move forward in this game. We’ve also learnt the power of collectivism. We’ve been farming in a collective called North Arms Farms that we started back in 2018 with several other local producers here in the Nambucca Valley. Being able to share the highs & lows of farming together has undoubtedly contributed to our overall resilience.

Do you have any tips or messages for other farmers?

One day, our importance and impact will truly be recognised. As farmers, we have the privilege to steward land, to co-create with nature and be fully present in the cycles. Farming is often viewed as ‘peasant work’ or looked down upon, but as farmers we are rich in all the ways that our current financial system can’t account for. We get to be in connection to nature all day, to fully witness the changing of seasons. To bond with animals and participate in the joy of life and the sadness of death. To feed our community nourishing food and reconnect them to the food system. What we do has deep meaning and purpose. Our lives are so rich in all the ways that really matter.

What do you hope for the future of people and planet?

That we humans will realise our full potential and become co-creaters of life on this earth, rather than destroyers. We hope humanity will redirect all our knowledge, energy and passion into creating and supporting more life and beauty on this planet. Together we can create the more beautiful world that our hearts know is possible.

How can we connect with your farm?

Either through our website www.themandarinbend.com or our Insta page themandarinbend