Shopping in a supermarket, it is sometimes easy to forget where the food comes from. Meeting a family like the Peters helps you remember.
Arnold and his sons Lance and Mark are part of a farming legacy, having supplied corn for Kellogg’s Corn Flakes for more than 50 years. The Peters family is proud of being an integral part of the breakfast that graces so many Australian tables. The family works together like a well-oiled machine farming more than 3600 acres at Bongeen. Although it is not perfect, their love for each other and the land makes the farming lifestyle they lead humbling to observe.
Growing up in the Peters family, all the children were at boarding school during the week and home to work on holidays and weekends. The family’s culture is that farming is not a chore – it is an integral part of being in a family driven by a love of the land. Cultivating plants to grow in turn cultivates the close bond the family shares and enjoys. Its history has laid the foundation for a strong bond which endures the hardships thrown into this lifestyle.
Arnold’s father Laurie and uncle Eric were both farmers in the area since moving out there in the late 1930s when they heard selections were going. An 18-year old Laurie and his brother (17) lived in a shed which had an old corrugated iron water tank for a roof (still with the overflow pipe attached) until Laurie married in the mid 1940s. This shed had wooden walls which did not quite reach up to the roof and an added makeshift shelter on the roof’s overflow pipe to keep some of the rain out. This residence was also shared with their truck!
It looks as though the beautiful surrounds at Springfields in the Bongeen area will be the family’s home for generations to come. Arnold and his wife of 40 years, Jill, have 10 grandchildren under nine years old (and one on the way) who all love life on the land. Mark laughs as he mentions his son. “Our eldest thought he could start farming after he completed his first week of school – I didn’t have the heart to tell him he had another 13 years to go! My wife had to!”
It was a family rule for Lance and Mark to receive tertiary education before starting full-time farming and this was a test for both the young boys’ patience. “Mum and Dad had to almost throw me into the school bus as I held onto the edges of the door shouting, ‘I don’t want to go to school – I want to stay on the farm’.”
Arnold’s family has been providing corn for Kellogg’s since the early 1960s and the whole family are proud of their part in the farming industry. “It’s good for all Australians to know they can still buy things off the shelf that are supporting the local food industry. There are products available that are still proudly Australian made.”
Words by Letoya Coates | Images by Andrew Coates