Pictured Above: Hearne showed Miller how macadamias are sorted at Danroc before being sent to the processor.
United States agriculture advocate Michelle Miller, aka The Farm Babe, labelled South Africa’s macadamia farmers as “cool” and was impressed with our “boer maak ’n plan” (a farmer makes a plan) ethic in the face of adversity.
On her recent visit to South Africa, the Farm Babe – or Michelle Miller – was suitably impressed with the country’s farmers, food systems and the value provided to consumers.
Consumer-agriculture advocates are now touted as a necessary element in bridging the gap between consumers and farmers to create a better understanding of how food is produced. Recognising this gap, Miller, who lives in Florida, has achieved global fame as a speaker, writer and columnist, online influencer and overall champion for global agriculture, with her social media advocacy platform Farm Babe.
With 300 000 followers and an average online reach of 4 million per month, she has made a name for herself as someone who busts food industry myths.
Earlier this year, Miller visited South Africa, touring farms from Limpopo to Mpumalanga and Gauteng to better understand agricultural production in the country.
Although familiar with Hawaiian macadamia nut production and that region’s penchant for chocolate covered macadamias, how macadamias were grown in South Africa was of interest to her as the country is the largest exporter of the crop worldwide.
The third-generation family farm operation Danroc Farm hosted the star for an afternoon. She was accompanied by the industry body SAMAC’s research extension manager, Schalk Schoeman.
This was Miller’s first visit to a macadamia farm, and her response to the lush orchards, sweet smelling flowers and clusters of nuts was a gushing: “This is crazy, cool, amazing!”
She said she was “impressed” with South Africans and their warm, hospitable culture. Not to mention the farmers’ ability to “maak ’n plan” (make a plan) when it seemed everything was against them.
The landscape was also a highlight: “I’m so amazed by the topography and how quickly things can change from being flat to mountainous, and the crop diversity in a small space. It is mind-blowing to see the diversity of agriculture here,” she said.