Black Barn Consult
Who We Are
A helping hand for farmers, homesteaders and communities to bring your land, businesses and ideas to life!
Black Barn Consult is built on the back of two decades of work by us; Jade Miles and Charlie Showers who in their respective careers in marketing/tourism/business development and Hydrogeological engineering/landscape science earned themselves senior positions on both private and government projects across the country.
Following a four month study tour of Vermont USA where we gained an in-depth understanding of how effective a local food system can be for the resilience of rural/regional communities, we began in earnest to put our learnings into practice by founding the Beechworth Food Co op and starting our own commercial permaculture poly orchard ‘Black Barn Farm’. Since then we’ve been providing meaningful, hands on, practical, support services to; farmers, schools, community owned enterprises, co-operatives and government departments.
Local food systems and small businesses – especially those in rural or regional Australia – really excite us. We know firsthand what it’s like to be kept up a night trying to solve a problem, save a business and work with others. We are guided by the core principle of adding more value to our clients needs than we cost, it’s that simple. Our approach is very human and we realise that business and personal life often intersect. So while we take our work very seriously, and know that people place their trust in us and see our work as an investment in their future, we look at the whole situation before making recommendations AND we don’t take ourselves too seriously; ensuring there’s joy in our work and the relationships we build with clients around their kitchen table, while we build solutions and camaraderie for your business.
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Having run her own ‘business start up support’ consultancy for 10 years while simultaneously founding the Beechworth Food Co op and working as an Industry development manager for the regional tourism board, Jade found she had a very broad range of skills to offer those in the small ag sector and was naturally attracted to this so actively pursued it as a preference to other sectors. With a regular stream of invitations to keynote speak at various conferences and gatherings, Jade began to further streamline her focus and now specialises in working with businesses, farmers and cooperative groups to bring local food ideas to life from the development of local paths to market to local food action plans, grant writing support and public speaking about the value of a local food system.
Having worked extensively with business’s of all sizes Jade is comfortable to tailor a solution that is practical, achievable, relevant and perfectly suited to your business needs.
Understanding your “why” is her priority so she can be sure to stay true to the integrity of your business with the innovative recommendations she presents.
Known for her high energy, left of centre but fiercely collaborative approach to finding business and design solutions, Jade will bring a fresh, clearly communicated energy to your team for the project at hand.
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A 25 year career in landscape systems science has led Charlie to work in both government and private projects across hydrogeology, agricultural research, land-use change, bushfire recovery, fruit tree grafting and holistic/biological orcharding.
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What We Do
What We Do
Big or small - Keynote or MC, we can create a presentation to kickstart conversation, inform, inspire and ultimately connect your audience to the food they eat from the natural world in which they live. Our range of topics is broad (although all related to food in some way) . Call us to chat about how we can add some flavour to your gathering.
Topics we can cover:
- Story of a start up commercial permaculture farm
- Story of a start up community food enterprise
- Creating a local food system - why, how, who
- Climate change impact on agriculture
- Creation of alternative paths to market
- Value of a local food system on a regional community
- Navigating the fair food movement in Australia - who’s who
If you are interested in having Jade speak at your next event please enquire here.
What We Do
One of the best ways to find solutions to shared problems is to bring people together. We can create workshops that are collaborative, outcomes oriented and allow you to get to the core of the problem and then the solution without being distracted. Managing a dynamic group can be complex and sometimes the most effective way to find success is by bringing in an objective facilitator with a wealth of experience.
What We Do
Business Planning & Development
Sometimes it’s worthwhile working with someone who has a birds eye view of your business so you can get an objective opinion about where your business is headed and where the opportunities sit. Equally you might just need a clearly identified job done and you need someone you can trust to take the project and bring it to life. We can work with you regardless of where your business is at and we offer a number of services on a project basis depending on the needs of your business.
We can help with:
- Marketing, sales and social media plan development
- Business coaching to reach financial and strategic goals
- Opportunity assessment to objectively analyze your next best step for your business.
- Small business planning to set your course for the future of your business, using real world data to make the right decisions.
- Business start up support to put a successful foundation in place.
- Product development.
- Farm market and food retail development to reevaluate your current operations for greater success, or build your dream from the ground up.
- Product development
- Path to market development
What We Do
Have a piece of land that's beautiful but not yet activated?
Only you will know how you want to use the land, how you already traverse it, where the light sits, what the water access is like, what type of soil you have (you get the idea) but sometimes you need some perspective to assess the vision, ask the right questions and put a plan of action in place. Working in absolute conjunction with you, we can help create a property design that will allow for iterative evolution and practical get-your-hands-dirty action to make it happen.
If you’d like to work with us to make your property incredible. Click the button below to make contact with us!
What We Do
Every year at black barn farm we host a myriad of schools programs, big and small, for students as young as 3 and as old as 83. The programs can be adapted to suit your needs from 1 day excursions to year long programs. We can direct the activities or we can be led by your curriculum. If you’d like to know more then get in touch with us below and we’ll come straight back to you.
What We Do
Of course we are only human and sometimes our workload reaches capacity or we need other skills to compliment what we offer. When this happens we simply bring in the troops! Our partners include those with expertise in; graphic design, secretarial and administration support, facilitation, copy writing, podcasting, schools program delivery, market gardening, permaculture education, grondwater specialists, soil scientists, business developers, social media gurus, website designers, videography and plenty of others. If we can’t build a team that suits (or keep it lean if that's more you) then somethings gone awry, cause we get it, you need support to make your business incredible and you just need a nudge in the right direction.
What We Do
Twice a year we open our farm to farm volunteers; Spring (Sept - November) and Autumn (Feb-May). Each season we host one x three month placement in Spring and two x two month placements in Autumn with month long positions also available.
We'd love to invite you to Black Barn Farm. While here, you'll help us grow food, farm conscientiously and live simply. We genuinely appreciate and value our farm volunteers, you bring a richness of new ideas, thoughts and personalities to our farm and we love sharing our knowledge, experience and farming adventures with you.
We expect that you will contribu te an average of 6 hours of farm work each day over 5 days each week and in return we will provide you with awesome fresh and healthy meals (which you will help us prepare and clean up), separate accommodation; comfy but simple, high speed wifi, free range access to our extensive library, free attendance at any of our workshops that happen to be running whilst you’re with us and of course you’ll gain boundless information on what it takes to run an ethical tree nursery, orchard, homestead and educational small farm.
Farm work can at times be tiring, repetitive and just plain hard yacka. However if you're like us falling into bed tired but with a belly full of good food, a heart full of gratitude for nature's beauty and all shared with good people is what a full and rewarding life is all about.
We plan Spring in April and Autumn in October so be sure to keep an eye out on our social media for the prompt to get your application in. We receive a large number of enquiries each year and do our best to offer as many positions as we can but before we can make plans we'd love you to contact us and tell us a little about yourself.
Some words from our previous farm volunteers:
“It’s been a privilege to spend time with your family, and we have definitely been inspired by your lifestyle, spirit, determination, passion and kindness” Ciara and Dan
“Thank you for having, teaching, humouring, tolerating, feeding, inspiring and entertaining us. Our favorite moments were hanging at marriage lookout with bellies full of stew and brains abuzz with riddles, watering the orchard with a fire hose, touching Costa’s beard (accidentally on purpose), bonfires at twilight exchanging stories, Jades sourdough, Charlie’s kraut and green tahini, seeing buds on the newly grafted apples ...oh man the whole shebang!” Catie and George
“You guys have been amazing hosts and a huge inspiration for me. I admire your creativity, your hard work and the way you see and dive into life's changes and walk the talk. I felt really healthy, rested and respected being here” Maddie
“Jade and Charlie you have changed my perspective on food, life, manual labour (ha ha) and apples. I’ll deffo be taking what I’ve learnt back to the UK with me and attempting to convince my parents to get some chickens - not geese! Cheers for making me feel so welcome for so long. I’ve had more laughs than I can count and have memories I’ll never forget - like the smell of doughnuts and offal!” Ben