Ileen Macpherson (5 August 1898 - 3 June 1984) was Australia's first woman organic farmer. With her partner, the Italian artist Ernesto Genoni, she founded Demeter Biological Farm at Dandenong, Victoria, in 1934. Demeter Farm produced milk and vegetables, using biodynamic farming principle, on a 40 acre site for more than two decades. Ileen and Ernesto finally sold the farm in 1954 and moved to nearby Noble Park. 
Ileen had joined Rudolf Steiner's Experimental Circle of Anthroposophic Farmers and Gardeners based in Dornach, Switzerland, in 1936. She was one of a dozen Australians who joined the Experimental Circle.
As a schoolgirl, Ileen was a champion athlete. She excelled in basketball, tennis, hockey, running, and dancing. 
As an adult, Ileen developed pernicious anaemia. Her body was ravaged by this affliction, and she lived out the rest of her life confined to a wheelchair. Successful treatments were being developed at the time and Ileen was saved from death. Later once the active ingredient in liver treatments for pernicious anaemia , vitamin B12, was synthesised, then her state of health was maintained from then on by monthly injections of Vitamin 12. 
In her will,Ileen Macpherson gifted her residential land to the City of Dandenong (Victoria) as a park (the Ileen Macpherson Park in Namur Street, Noble Park; currently it lacks signage). She gifted the majority of her estate to the Ileen Macpherson Trust for the support of Anthroposophic ventures in Australia. ,
See also[edit | edit source]
- Organic and sustainable farming
- Biodynamic Farming
- Sustainable agriculture
- Ernesto Genoni
- Rudolf Steiner
[edit | edit source]
- Invisible Farmer Project: Australia's first woman organic farmer discovered in Switzerland: The story of Ileen Macpherson.
Notes and references[edit | edit source]
- Paull, John (2017) Macpherson Life and tragedy of a pioneer of biodynamic farming at Demeter Farm and a benefactor of Anthroposophy in Australia Ileen Macpherson: Life and tragedy of a pioneer of biodynamic farming at Demeter Farm and a benefactor of Anthroposophy in Australia, Journal of Organics, 4(1):29-56.
- Paull, John (2013) A History of the Organic Agriculture Movement in Australia, In: Mascitelli, Bruno and Lobo, Antonio (Eds.) Organics in the Global Food Chain. Connor Court Publishing, Ballarat, Australia, chapter 3, pp. 37-61.
- Ileen Macpherson Trust.