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Zen Hens

Season 2

My guest today has strong ties to Japan having lived and worked there for five years as a salaryman. His wife, Kumi, grew up in rural Japan. Together they are recreating a special childhood for their own kids with a 23-hectare egg farm in Victoria’s Gippsland region. More than drawing on their own cherished experiences – their former corporate jobs and the country’s famous approach to efficiency are central to how they operate their Australian farm. Willow Zen is a place for happy hens, making family memories and improving their slice of land for the generations ahead. The partner of Willow Zen, Kelvin Slade joins to discuss:

  • Kelvin’s favourite place on his farm is sitting on his tractor.

  • Kumi and Kelvin purchased their land in 2006 and have practiced permaculture from the beginning.

  • Living a life which reflects regenerative principles by working towards self-sufficiency on the farm and trading eggs for other farmers’ produce.

  • Growing their own food was so important and they wanted their children to have that experience.

  • Starting out with 3 hens, Willow Zen now has more than 3000 hens.

  • Kelvin explains regenerative farming, reducing the number of hens per hectare, and rotating the paddocks – just as you would for cattle.

  • The misconceptions around the term ‘free range’.

  • Implementing ‘lean-manufacturing’ utilised by Toyota (where both Kelvin and Kumi used to work) to assist with efficiency.

  • So, where can you find these beautiful eggs?

  • Kelvin shares the most unexpected experience he has had while working on the land.

  • The most common misconception about Eggs.

  • Kelvin’s ultimate dream for the future of Willow Zen

We hope to see you back on the road soon, to learn more about how Australia grows on the next episode of Australian Farmers with Angie Asimus.



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