This website uses cookies to improve your experience navigating our site. By continuing to browse, you are agreeing to our use of cookies.

OK, I understand

Matt and Lentil Of Grown&Gathered

Gardens

Today our garden columnist Georgia Reid of The Planthunter introduces us to Matt and Lentil Purbrick of Grown & Gathered, who have crafted an idyllic life in Tabilk, an hour and a half north of Melbourne.  TODAY we admire their bountiful gardens… and later this week we’ll check out their house!

27th October, 2014

The Grown & Gathered gang, eating lunch on the verandah.  Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files.

Lentil picking ranunculus flowers. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files.

An avenue of Eucalyptus trees provide a beautiful backdrop to the neatly ordered plantings on the farm. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files.

Striking silver cardoon foliage (a close relative of artichoke). Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files.

Pepper the dog, amongst the mulch.  Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files.

Violets – perfect for posies, as well as a beautiful garnish for desserts. Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files.

Larkspur flowers.  Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files.

Matt and Lentil’s greenhouse, built from old doors!  Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files.

Matt and Lentil Purbrick of Grown & Gathered, with their dog Pepper, at their farm in Tabilk, an hour and a half north of Melbourne.  Photo – Eve Wilson for The Design Files.

Georgina Reid
Monday 27th October 2014

Flowers are about beauty and joy and colour and emotion. Money can’t buy that. We want to create community, share abundance and make conversation instead. So, we only exchange our flowers for something other than money’

Matt and Lentil Purbrick of Grown & Gathered are the cutest pair of farmers around. They grow vegetables and flowers on their farm in Tabilk, an hour and a half north of Melbourne, and every Saturday they drive down to the big smoke to distribute their bounty of vegetables, flowers, bread, milk and cheese (thanks to Peaches the cow), selling out every week!

I first met Matt and Lentil in July this year. My friend Jardine Hansen and I were heading south from Sydney to Melbourne on a botanical roadtrip. Yeah, that’s just what Planthunters do, you know.  We had planned on dropping in on their farm for a quick hello, and ended up staying the night. We had never even met them before! Not only did they put us up for the night, we had a wonderful time, eating, drinking and chatting about plants, life, and stuff. I am telling this entirely unrelated story because it’s a great illustration of the kind of people Matt and Lentil are. They are warm, genuine, generous humans. They are so wholesome it should be kinda sickening! Except somehow it’s not. Thank heavens.

Anyway, back to the farm… Matt and Lentil have lived there for around a year now. They renovated the house in winter last year (more on that later this week!), installed a couple of pigs in the paddock to prepare the soil, and started planting the beds last October.

Since then Grown & Gathered has gone from strength to strength, which is a testament to the incredible work ethic of this industrious pair, and their open minded approach to farming. Matt and Lentil have spent the last year fine-tuning their experimental growing techniques to get the best out of their little patch of earth. They’re obviously doing something right!

‘I’ve been growing stuff for four or five years now and have never had a garden that’s so bountiful’ says Matt. ‘ What comes out of this block of land just blows our minds.’

Matt and Lentil are conceptual farmers. They explore new ways of doing things, and their passion for genuine sustainability is clear, in the produce they grow, they way they live, and the way they run their business.

For example, they grow lots of flowers – but they don’t sell them. Instead, they trade. Why?  As Lentil explains – ‘For a while Matt and I were selling vegetables and flowers side-by-side. With vegetables, people were aware that vegetables have seasons, that organic is better, and that it’s best to try to source locally and directly from the farmer.  But with flowers, few people had ever challenged where they might be from, or how they might be grown’.

They are also passionate about waste. Every Saturday they drive down to Melbourne with a van full of produce, returning with a van full of food scraps for composting. They pickup green waste from the restaurants they work with – Pope Joan and Auction Rooms, and customers are encouraged to bring their compostable stuff to the van when they pick up their vegetables.

‘This is our version of closed loop farming’ says Lentil. ‘We take the goods down, bring the scraps back, compost them, and put them into the soil to grow more vegetables. It’s an entire system. We don’t bring any new inputs into the farm.’

With Grown & Gathered, Matt and Lentil have built way more than a bountiful vegetable and flower farm. They have built an example of living authentically and passionately in a genuinely sustainable way. There’s plenty of buzz around words like local/organic/sustainable/foraged these days, and often without much consideration or knowledge of the entire picture. These two are the real deal. There is no bandwagon in sight; they’re just doing it.

View Comments

Similar Stories

Gardens

A Perfect Family Garden In Camberwell

An outdoor oasis, designed by Ian Barker in Camberwell.
Georgina Reid

Creative People

Painting The Landscape With Acre Designs

We chat to the Fitzroy-based landscape architecture firm behind some of our favourite gardens.
Miriam McGarry

Gardens

Feast Your Eyes On Victoria's Greatest Gardens

From urban sanctuaries to coastal splendour, see inside some of Victoria's most breathtaking green spaces at Garden Design Fest.

This Week

Food

Alice & Marlon's Amazing Wholegrain Mustard

WHO KNEW it was so easy to make your own mustard? SO much better than the store bought variety – think Xmas and summer BBQ crowdpleaser!
Alice Johnson

News

Having A Nice Time!

The Melbourne pop-up plant and gift shop with a focus on plants and local makers.
Sally Tabart

Modernist Australia

The Beachfront ‘McKay House’ Is Up For Auction This Weekend

A DREAM beach house in Mollymook, New South Wales, designed by one of the nation’s most beloved Modernist firms, Allen Jack + Cottier Arch...
Patricia Callan and Pete Bakacs

Architecture

A 'Modernist Ruin' In Malvern

Figureground Architecture create a renovation that simultaneously harks back and gazes forwards.
Miriam McGarry
  2 hours ago

News

Celebrating One Of Australia’s Most Influential Designers

A retrospective book and exhibition of Akira Isogawa’s 25-year career.
Sally Tabart

Architecture

This Is No Ordinary Shed!

Exploring new forms in Australian vernacular architecture, with Atelier Andy Carson in Gerringong, NSW.
Miriam McGarry

Travel

Top Spots Along The Great Ocean Road With Jenna Densten

A roadtrip with the much-loved renovator, showcasing her favourite stops from Torquay to Apollo Bay.
Jenna Densten
  10 hours ago

News

Reed Gift Fairs Back For A Blockbuster Sydney Event

Australia’s premier retail trade show returns in 2019 with a renewed focus on the home.
Sponsored

Art

Win An Artwork By Ali McNabney-Stevens

This vibrant original artwork by the much-loved Melbourne painter could be yours, thanks to Dulux.

Regional

In The Field With Australia’s Most Astounding Conservation Organisation

Bush Heritage Australia takes us through their new off-the-grid Michael Tichbon Field Station, perched in the remote Western Australian wild...
Elle Murrell

Being Green

Bring Sustainability Into Your Kitchen In Time For Christmas

Generous gift-giving and conscientious home-making made simple, with our guide to sustainable utensils, cleaning products and storage soluti...
Elle Murrell

Homes

A House With A Heart Of Gold

Real estate gold, in gold rush country! The hand-crafted country home and garden of Luke Mortimer and Steve Burley in Chewton, Victoria.

News

The 60s-Inspired Ceramic Homewares That Will Make Your Christmas List

Prominent Queensland design studio Marloe Marloe launches their foray into home decor!
Sally Tabart
  1 hour ago

Architecture

A Home Designed For Connection

A dual occupancy sub-division results in a surprisingly roomy home for six (!) - the 'Connect Six' House in Brighton, by Whiting Architects....

Interiors

Modern Mediterranean Is Having A Moment

Our resident interiors expert translates the latest contemporary interiors craze, inspired by all things Mediterranean.
Lauren Li

Similar Stories

Gardens

A Perfect Family Garden In Camberwell

An outdoor oasis, designed by Ian Barker in Camberwell.
Georgina Reid

Creative People

Painting The Landscape With Acre Designs

We chat to the Fitzroy-based landscape architecture firm behind some of our favourite gardens.
Miriam McGarry

Gardens

Feast Your Eyes On Victoria's Greatest Gardens

From urban sanctuaries to coastal splendour, see inside some of Victoria's most breathtaking green spaces at Garden Design Fest.