Clare Voitin is a lover of eclectic pursuits. She’s an entrepreneur, ideas guru, avid food gardener, published author, marathon runner, farmer’s wife and mother of three boys – her “greatest mates” – and the reason behind pretty much everything she does.
Clare is best known, however, as an advocate for honest-to-goodness real food.
Clare’s first experience began in her backyard decades ago, when she planted her first vegetable garden with her father.
Fast forward to a new millennium, when Clare and her beloved - John - purchased their first rural patch of paradise on the Bellarine Peninsula. Known as “Swan Bay Farm”, it has become a major stepping-stone in Clare’s food growing and farming journey.
In 2013, Clare opened the doors of her first food business (ad)venture – Scarvelli Café – in Melbourne’s eastern suburbs. Scarvelli was a reflection of Clare’s passion to “bring the country to the city”, heightening awareness about the origins of our food, through her eatery’s paddock-to-plate ethos and exquisite, but down-to-earth menu. The cafe also inspired Clare’s first book – “Scarvelli: Our Paddock to Plate”, which was published in 2016.
Clare’s next foodie venture – The Providore Swan Bay Farm – was the next logical step in sharing the paddock to plate food experience. The Providore’s mission? - To inspire others to live sustainably, support like-minded, passionate local producers and enjoy good food.
This ethos was reflected through the seasonal menu, which incorporated produce grown by Clare and her family from Swan Bay Farm, and The Providore’s own-branded range of fresh, preservative-free take home products and meals.
Dedicated to a future of ethical agriculture, Clare continues to work and connect with like-minded primary producers, in an effort to build greater awareness and appreciation for those hard working people who grow and produce good food, so that we may eat well.
In order to support a viable future of sustainable and ethical farming, Clare and her family work (bloody hard) on their farm, and the plans are to open Swan Bay Farm up to the public in late 2018.
Swan Bay Farm is home to an eclectic mix of animals, including sheep, pigs, horses, cows, chooks and peacocks, as well as enjoying the Bellarine Peninsula’s largest heirloom apple orchard, countless fruit trees and acreage food gardens, all grown organically and with the dedicated mindset of nurturing the land and enhancing the soils in which their food grows.
Now Clare’s motivation is to take this concept a step further and share her passion for “growing local, eating local”, by inspiring others to grow their own food and realise the benefits in doing so.
The emphasis on ethically grown, sustainable and local is a message that Clare has long wanted to shout out loud. Her personal challenge is to inspire and educate others to grow their own fresh produce so they too can appreciate how real food should taste. More importantly, Clare believes that we have a responsibility to teach the next generation the simple art of growing food, something that can be easily achieved in the backyard, balcony or even on a windowsill.
As a child, Clare vividly recalls smelling the vine-ripened summer tomatoes in her backyard. Today, she relishes the fact that through the farm, her own kids embrace the entire life cycle of planting, growing and harvesting their own foods. They also appreciate the challenges that our local primary producers face, and understand and respect the life cycle of animals – one that is imperative we treat with uncompromised ethics and respect and must be significantly improved in our current, flawed, food system.
Down to earth, always on the go, fun, quirky and vibrant (her friends fondly refer to her as “a little chaotic”), Clare is currently writing her second book, “Plant Grow Harvest Repeat”, and her third, fourth and fifth books are also in the pipeline, waiting for Clare to sit still long enough to let the pen to hit the paper.
Still on her bucket list is to write 50 more books, complete a 100km ultra marathon and talk her family into getting a donkey and a camel for her next birthday.