The Light / Love Equation Editorial By Kelly Jones
When we first started on the path of What Would Love Do Now, our intention was to support unity and regeneration in any way we could. That was in 2017. In 2018 we became aware that we, alongside hundreds of thousands of others were entering one of Australiaâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s worst droughts in history. It was only natural then to move our attention to our very own backyards. In the last twelve months, we have undergone a massive movement within the charity as we have understood the solution to drought is not an impossible task, in fact it is quite easy to comprehend. To raise the carbon levels in our soil to at least 8%, and do this one farm at a time. So we began the journey of awareness, carbon and fundraising. When we started this, we were just three people sitting at our kitchen table on the farm. One of us a farmer, one of us an accountant and one of us an artist. We worked together, tirelessly, to create a sustainable solution, a network of people and an online presence. We drew on all our skill basis and some, and underwent a 360 degrees learning curve on what it means to launch a National Day and brand a solution based fundraising platform, on the topic of carbon that many before us have struggled to communicate to the public. But to put this in to perspective â&#x20AC;&#x201C; we were still learning how to use face-book productively, let alone be able to introduce you today to our first digital publication.
The most beautiful idea in the world and yet no one knows how to market it, what it looks like – how to communicate it.
Today we sit here with 1,000’s of people connected in to the movement as partners and collaborators. We introduce CARBON8 as what we hope is the leading drought solution for 2020 and we can joyfully welcome you to help us spread the message by buying a T-Shirt. Regenerative agriculture, regenerative communities and regenerative solutions are the leading pathway forward for Australians (and indeed the planet), if we wish to end this drought, heal our foodchain and save our Great Barrier Reef. Try to say it three times really quickly. Regenerative Agriculture. Regenerative Agriculture. Regenerative Agriculture. It is truly the greatest tongue-twister in history. The solution to so much and hardly anyone can get their tongues around it. The most beautiful idea in the world and yet no one knows how to market it, what it looks like – how to communicate it. Politicians don’t speak its name. Money isn’t sufficiently allocated to support it. While some farmers are well on the road, many are not aware of its potency as a provider and a solution to their shared struggles. There is no logo or Leader. The public don’t know how to digest it and our kids are almost never introduced to it. It has not been incorporated into education nor is it available in an easy language for comprehension. It is literally the Largest Underground / Grassroots Movement in History - with so many organisations and individuals around the world dedicated to it. It is a movement that has long established roots, woven together in an historic march, made up of so many attempting to regenerate the planet, our homes and our families’ futures. A shift from an Old Earth worldview to a New Earth worldview, governed by a service-to-others intention. One pulse for life. One desire to live. The solutions to the insurmountable problems are as simple as one wonderful unassuming little word. In fact, a beautiful little word that feels round when we speak it and soft when we feel it and just like God when we understand it. Carbon. It holds in its DNA love, light and unity. It has no face. It has no body. It has no personality. It has no political persuasions. It just has You, and Me and all living beings that reside on planet earth. All trillion to the infinity of us. It is the light / love equation. It is the Heart Mass. The Heart Maths. So friends, peacemakers, and radicals, it is our time. It’s the RIGHT time for Regenerative Agriculture to emerge, explode and be seen by all. We’re here to support you, and it’s our honour and privilege to do so.
Editor: Kelly Jones Advertising Editor: Helen Mccosker Editorial & Advertising: email@example.com REGENER8 welcomes your contribution. We will freely promote any organisation who is demonstrating regenerative practices.
Fixing the soil is not so much about healing the earth, as it is about healing you. Metaphysically. Emotionally. Biologically. The very action of nurturing your home restores her ability to nurture you. This is an individual personal relationship between mother and child.
JOIN THE REGENERATION “Join the regeneration!” – Here’s your first look at Damon Gameau’s 2040 now proudly partnered with CARBON8 Madman Entertainment has released the teaser for
sequences and high-end visual effects to create a
the highly anticipated documentary 2040, written
vision board of how these regenerative practices
and directed by award-winning filmmaker Damon
could help shape the world for future generations.
Gameau (That Sugar Film).
Drawing on the best minds from around the world
The hit 2015 documentary That Sugar Film saw
to focus on climate, economics, technology, civil
Gameau transform himself into a ‘human lab rat’
society, agriculture and sustainability, the film
to trial the effects that a high sugar diet has on the
maps out a pathway for change that can lead us
human body and investigate issues that plague
to a more ecologically sustainable and equitable
the sugar industry. The film received widespread
future. 2040 is an aspirational film full of hope
critical acclaim and at the time of release became
about the possibility to make changes that will shift
the most successful theatrical documentary ever to
the course for humanity and the planet. 2040 is the
be released in Australia.
narrative the next generation needs to see, to aspire
Damon’s new film 2040 is a journey to explore
to, and to believe is possible.
what the future could look like by the year 2040
“Like we were able to do with That Sugar Film,
if we simply embraced the best solutions already
I hope 2040 will help facilitate all kinds of
available to us to improve our planet and shifted
conversations about positive change for the world
them rapidly into the mainstream. Structured
we live in. There are some amazing regenerative
as a visual letter to his four-year-old daughter
solutions that great people around the world have
about the world he hopes she will inherit, Gameau
already gotten the ball rolling on. Get on board and
blends traditional documentary with dramatised
join the regeneration!” said Gameau.
TAKE HOPE, FOR THE EARTHâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;S ABILITY TO RESTORE AND REGENERATE HAS BEEN VASTLY UNDER ESTIMATED
TAKE ACTION. JOIN CARBON8. SPONSOR YOUR FARMER $8 A MONTH AND HELP THEM TRANSITION TO REGENERATIVE AGRICULTURE. ASSISTING THEM IN EVERY POSSIBLE WAY TOÂ REBUILD THE CARBON (ORGANIC MATTER) IN THEIR SOIL TO 8%. BY SUPPORTING CARBON8, YOU ARE PARTICIPATING IN THE BEST SOLUTION WE HAVE TO REPAIR OUR PLANET, HEAL THE HEART OF OUR FOODCHAIN AND HELP END DROUGHT.
TRANSITION A FARMER TO REGENERATIVE AGRICULTURE
WHAT IS NEEDEDÂ TO TRANSITION?
Now we know the cause of drought and know the solution, our next challenge is how to educate everyone so that it makes cents to financially back the farmers as they march courageously into the future and transition to Regenerative Agriculture? Changing generations of farming practices in the middle of massive financial hardship is a lot to ask a farmer out on the land doing it tough. But without providing our farmers with the resources to make the change, drought will definitively continue and absolutely get worse. Whether it rains or not. No carbon means permanent drought conditions. It is simple biology. And in 2019 many are almost below 1%.
We ensure the farmer has the latest knowledge helping them to be successful getting carbon back into their soil. Regenerative practices include Holistic Grazing, no-till farming, maintaining groundcover, multi-species cover crops, crimp rolling, pasture cropping and many other innovations. Your donation helps the farmers update knowledge and equipment, change grazing management, buy seeds, protect biodiversity in fact anything that helps get the carbon in the soil. And there is a positive incentive as the farmer gets paid for success. As their carbon moves from the lows of 1% up to the target of 8%, the payment increases. A modest but consistent income to maintain and assist in regenerating the farm ecosystem.
Eight is the number of sustainability as it represents infinity where all things are aim to bring soil, farming, the food chain and our oceans to a level of sustainab standard at Infinite Sustainable Abundance for all....
WHAT IS CARBON8?
CARBON8 is a subscription based platform that asks Australians to sign up for $8 a month for 1, 2 or 3 years. With the aim of sponsoring Australia’s farmers to increase their soil carbon to 8%. With an $8 monthly subscription farmers are given a financial incentive to increase the carbon. Ongoing longterm sustainable support. It’s the first platform of its kind in operation in Australia created for farmers by farmers who are all working in service to Australia and ready to evolve. This platform stands independent from government support or political parties. It’s a direct chain between the sponsors – the charity – and the farmers.
It’s not as quick and simple as buying a bale of hay or sending food packages – this is a complete farm transition and an entirely new education around farming one’s way out of drought. It requires regular and consistent backup for a few years – much akin to sponsoring a child - It’s ongoing, long-term and has to be sustainable.
e in perfect balance. So alongside all the scientific reasons for CARBON8% - by choosing the number 8 we bility - everything before that is regenerative and everything after that is abundance. Carbon8 is setting the
Australia is an innovative country when it comes to Regenerative Agriculture. Many great teachers and innovators have preseeded this, our first Regenerative Magazine. We acknowledge and thank all the individuals, communities and organisations that have joined with us. May our growing and dynamic movement speak with one voice, UNITED, and together move forward in the great march to heal the heart of our food-chain.
Field Day at Danthonia, Inverell. The Bruderhof Community
To begin, here is an illustration. So everyone is on the same page. Literally.
“Soil, not oil, holds the future for humanity” - VANDANA SHIVA
Carbon is the measureable component of how much organic matter is in the soil
High levels of organic matter and the soil retains lots of rain water, grows stronger better plants, supports
the bees â&#x20AC;&#x2DC;n bugs, cools everything and doesnâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t need chemicals.
AND SOLVES DROUGHT INDEFINITELY
Low levels of organic matter and the soil is hard and cracked. Canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t hold rain water. Struggles to support life.
AND CAUSES DROUGHT INDEFINITELY
For a farm in drought, the carbon left in the soil can be as low as 0.5-1%
Which means one hectare of soil can only retain about a quarter of a swimming pool of water when it rains. This means when it does actually rain it floods and washes away all the top soil.
When soil carbon is at 5%, one hectare of soil can retain up to one and a half swimming pools of water.
When soil carbon is at 8%, one hectare of soil retains up to three+ swimming pools of water. This prevents drought one farm at a time, heals the heart of our foodchain and regenerates our oceans & drinking water, and protects our precious bees and all forms of biodiversity.
By using regenerative agriculture techniques,
a farmer can increase their soil carbon from 1% to 8% in ten years.
This gets farmers, their families and their communities
out of the drought better than when they went in. Based on the avg aus swimming pool which holds 280k litres/82k gallons. 1/4 pool is just over 20,000gals for around 1% carbon.
www.facebook.com/friendafarmerinitiative Drought has a high impact on families living in rural communities. It is an emotionally fraught time. It is important that our children can find positive and engaging programs to look forward to that maintain a sense of resilience in the face of recurring ongoing drought. Amy Gunn - I was recently contacted via my Friend a Farmer Initiative by a school teacher in Byron Bay. Her children wanted to do something to help out with the drought. Instead of fundraising, I thought this was a great opportunity to get something much more long term & broad scale happening. I know it sounds a bit old school but if we could fire up the old pen pal system again, it would be a real opportunity to get city kids to reconnect with the bush and get them interested and informed about what we do all the way out here.
We came up with a plan that Libby (teacher) would get back to me with the number & age of kids wanting to participate, and I would try to match it with farm kids from all over NSW, QLD & the NT. The Byron children would write individual letters of support containing some core questions about life on the farm as well as some questions devised by the kids themselves. The plan obviously being that bush kids would tell them a bit about their lives. The children could then discuss this in their classes. It would lead to a fabulous conversation, and an opportunity for the next generation to learn and make new connections, that all kids involved would possibly otherwise never get. If you donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t know what Friend a Farmer is about, this is at its core. Encouraging nonfarming families to reconnect, to gain knowledge and to nurture a compassionate understanding about farming that we seem to have lost along the way.
Amy Gunn & Son The Pen Pals Project aims to provide rural children with an opportunity to provide positive connection and support from city children. It is helpful in maintaining resilience and well being while building empathy, curiosity and respect. And it also provides an opportunity for city kids to have an authentic connection and enquiry about where their food and fibre comes from whilst developing a long term friendships. After all, PenPals are Forever!
Fighting for the environment now includes fighting for your body and your childrenâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s body, beacuse we are literally EATING the issues.
We can stop this by fixing our soil. Are you willing to back your farmers as they transition to Regenerative Agriculture ON OUR BEHALF? carbon8.raisely.com
There ain’t nothing more rock n roll than CARBON. It fixes our soil, removes poisons from our food, saves the bees, saves the reefs, eradicates drought and DEMANDS a healthy future for your children. CARBON literally friggen ROOOCKS! SAID EVERY FARMER AND EVERY PARENT EVERYWHERE
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A great experiment for kids, families, farmers’ markets, community gardens and schools. YOU WILL NEED
KITCHEN TABLE CONVERSATIONS
2 cut-off Containers (or 3 if you want to do the full experiment)
What is going on in the soil?
2 cut off water bottles String Dirt – find the poorest dirt in your backyard Rich Soil – from your garden or potting mix Mulch Favourite Salad Green seed mix Time
WHAT TO DO Follow the picture. Fill one container with your poorest soil. Fill one conatiner with your richest soil. Fill one container with anything in the middle. 1. Plant your seed mix evenly in all three. 2. Water them everyday. 3. Watch what happens. 4. Observe the difference water quality coming out of the different containers.
Why is this happening? Which container has higher levels of carbon in the soil? What is photosynthesis? What do the water produced taste like?
TEACHING KIDS FOOD DOESNâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;T JUST COME OUT OF A BOX
On the mineral rich Volcanic pastures of Blampied,
regeneratively, but we have started on the right
Central Highlands of Victoria, you will find
track, and know this is the future of farming for
sustainable & regenerative farmers Jonathan
our animals and our soils”.
Hurst & Natalie Hardy tending to their rare breed Berkshire Pigs, British White Cattle & Finn Sheep
As part of the National Regenerative Agriculture
on their property “Brooklands Free Range Farms”.
Day, we will have a group of students visiting from
All their Pigs are born and raised on a rotational
celebrate this day as part of their learning’s and
pasture system with feed supplementation from
awareness on our farm.
waste products of whey, spent brewers grains and fruit and vegetables all sourced locally. The cattle are too all born and raised on the farm and 100% chemical free grass fed beef and currently implementing a water system to assist with cell
Wesley College, Year 9 Clunes Campus and will
Wesley at Clunes has been engaging with local farmers for many years but over the last couple of years have been working in a more meaningful way to ensure students understand what goes into
and back grazing.
the food that they prepare whilst at Clunes and
“We still have so much to learn and tweak before
see good examples of successful farms who are
we can comfortably say we are truly farming
working in a regenerative sustainable manner,
beyond. It is important that these Year 9 students
making conscious decisions in their farming methods. For the eight weeks they are in Clunes students shop and cook for their houses and so it is important that they have an increased awareness of their choices. Wesley has engaged with a variety of local farms that hold the same or similar farming methods as Brooklands. This program is not just about visiting but also getting their hands dirty and lending a hand. Every term, we take a group of students for a day, and it’s so exciting to see how these young adults really open their eyes to the difference a holistic regenerative farm can make to the life of an animal produced for meat and the soils of this earth, how we are care takers and not there to poison. So many have no idea about the amount of chemicals used in farming, and how this can be absorbed into the food we eat, and kill the goodness in our soils. But we too are still learning and are very excited to be part of a newly formed group of future regenerative farmers. Formed by Ross Davey at Glen Greenlock Farm, we will be undertaking a Regenerative Agriculture project with the North Central Catchment Management Authority where the farmers will be assisted to spend 6 months familiarising themselves with regenerative measures and then working on farm planning to undertake a 4 year initiative of regenerative measures tailored for their individual farms. This is sponsored by the region’s Landcare Network. It will also be a wonderful sounding board for each farmer to share during the regular informal meetings as a discussion group. We are very excited about this group, as it will enable us to iron out some stumbling blocks we are having and a further understanding of regenerative farming practices. The group will most likely be known as “Goldfields Regenerative Farmers” and is a wonderful step in the right direction.
You can follow Brooklands journey or get in touch on Facebook https://www.facebook. com/BrooklandsFreeRangeFarms/ or insta @ brooklandsfreerangefarms
T-Shirts available in allinsizes T-Shirts available all sizes www.what-would-love-do-now.myshopify.com www.what-would-love-do-now.myshopify.com
If you want to save the bees fix the soil
Yamba Farmersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; Markets
Yamba Farmers Markets 2019
www.yambafarmersandproducersmarket.com FB INSTA #yambafarmersandproducersmarket
EVERY WEDNESDAY 7am - 11am Whiting Beach Car Park Yamba NSW M: 0402 404 606 E: firstname.lastname@example.org
Start a Farmersâ&#x20AC;&#x2122; Market - Yamba did Photography By Michelle Natasha
The origins of the Yamba Farmers & Producers Market began
with many stallholders breaking their taking records this
around seven years ago as a project of the the Northern Rivers
summer. A new website and very active social media accounts
Food Links program.
on Insta and FB have been instrumental in raising the profile of
The Food Links program received Federal funding in 2008 to
the market without spending any money.
establish a number of food projects across 7 local government
This has seen an increase of younger families now coming to our
councils. The Clarence Valley Council received $50K to establish
weekly farmers market. The stallholders themselves donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t have
a community garden and the resources to establish a farmers
the time to do their own social media and with the consistent
market. After community and business consultation it was
messaging and website profiling of stallholders customers
decided to establish a farmers market in Yamba. The next round
are now better informed. The majority of our stallholders are
of consultation was with the farmers and what were there needs
primary producers with a handful of bakers and makers. Our
and priorities. The site selected was next to the beach which
Foodies are now able to engage with a wide variety of farmers
provided ambience and plenty of shade and space for future
from urban, young, female and master farmers. Produce ranges
growth with not a bad view for a weekly pop up office. Just
from seasonal organic, vegan, gluten free, free range, wild
recently the farmers and producers market has changed hands
caught, hand harvested, hand picked and hand raised. One
again for only the third 3rd time and is now experiencing an
of the current highlights of our market is the emerging world
culture food stalls. Food has a language all of its own and
The market has strict policies around the use of plastic and who can trade. The market has now grown from 18 to 40 stalls in 4
breaks down all barriers and world food on a big river is looking pretty exciting for the future.
months and is thriving. Small business confidence is booming
Debrah Novak: Licensee / Manager
Allan Yeomans is the son of the late great PA Yeomans, inventor of the Keyline Design system for ecological agriculture in Australia, so he has an impeccable farming pedigree. Having worked with his father on the development of Keyline in the 1950s, Allan went on to create the Yeomans Plow Company, which to this day supplies the world with Keyline Ripper Plows â&#x20AC;&#x201C; a farming implement designed to gently open the ground to air and water without churning it up and damaging the structure of the sub-soil ecosystem. Using a Keyline Plow helps farmers to build topsoil, increase fertility in their paddocks, and reduce their need for chemical inputs.
And now, over the last five years, Allan has been creating and refining a new tool for farmers. While burning coal and fossil fuels releases greenhouse gases, farmers using regenerative agriculture principles work with plants to draw carbon dioxide back into the soil. If, as many believe, carbon emissions should be taxed as atmospheric pollution, then surely farmers should be able to be paid for removing those pollutants from the atmosphere. But how can farmers be paid? Five years ago, Allan realized that a simple, affordable and reliable way of measuring the levels of carbon captured by farmers was missing – and so he set out to create one for himself, and the Yeomans Carbon Still was born. The device effectively “bakes dirt” – heating it to between 500-550 degrees celcius. This is the temperature at which any organic matter in the soil burns away. By weighing the soil before and after this process, Allan can determine how much carbon has been lost – and therefore how much the sample contained before processing. If a baseline measure is taken this year, and the process is repeated in subsequent years, then it’s possible to work out how much new carbon the farmer has pulled from the air into the soil. At this point, you could calculate how many dollars per tonne of carbon the farmer should be paid for providing beneficial services to the global ecosystem. Right now, with Australian politicians bickering over electricity prices and energy supply schemes, a system like this for compensating farmers who reduce the amount of carbon dioxide in the atmosphere still seems like a long time away. But following the Paris Climate Accord of 2015, the world is waking up to the urgency of the problem and the need for solutions. Once a legal and political framework has been worked out,
Allan envisages a financial incentive scheme for carbon reduction that will transform the way farming is done on a colossal scale. If all the farmland in the world increased its soil carbon content by just 1-2 percent, he argues, this would be enough to pull back all the excess carbon dioxide that has been released since the industrial revolution. The depletion of the world’s agricultural soils from chemical farming throughout the 20th century means there is enormous scope for this remediation work. The difference between the Yeomans Carbon Still, and existing systems for measuring soil carbon lies in its simplicity and affordability. Compared with expensive lab equipment, the Still costs only ten thousand dollars, and will therefore repay its investment after several soil tests. It also works with much larger soil samples – up to 2kg in size – than the tiny amounts used in standard soil carbon testing devices. This reduces the possibility of skewed results when small samples are taken as a representation of a vast paddock. At 86 years old, Allan continues to refine his invention, and to lobby government and soil scientists to adopt the Yeomans Carbon Still system as a valid methodology for soil carbon testing. In 2019, I will be exhibiting the machine at the Monash University Museum of Art, in an exhibition curated by Hannah Mathews called Shapes of Knowledge. My plan is to demonstrate the use of the Still, and stimulate discussion around the question of soil’s relationship to climate change. There are still many problems to be worked out, not least of which is how to legislate to fairly reward farmers for their efforts, but the time is ripe to seriously begin this discussion. Baking Dirt: Soil and the Carbon Economy is a key project of “An artist, a farmer & a scientist walk into a bar…” produced by Kandos School of Cultural Adaptation. Find out more here.
Simon Mattson is a Sugar Cane Farmer passionate about protecting our oceans and the Great Barrier Reef “Soil is the most complex biodiversity on the planet and soil health is the biggest issue globally we have to deal with. The longevity of our race depends on it.”
Fiona Sheehan The Weekly Times Simon and his family have farmed sugarcane on their 190ha property at Marian, near Mackay in Queensland, since the 1980s but their focus has changed in the last few years. “We aren’t sugarcane farmers anymore, we are mixed farmers,” Simon said. “We are planting more and more sunflowers and mixed species cover crops to help replenish our soil and its biological function.” As part of his Nuffield research, Simon paid particular attention to soil biology and plant diversity. “Conventional agriculture has always focused on the minerals and structural side of our soil so we already have our heads around that but we have always lacked information on biology. Every plant species on the planet has a symbiotic relationship with a range of soil ¬biology. As a farmer I soon came to realise that soil biology is just one of the three key elements that make up a soil.” “You have got the chemical or nutrition side of it, you have the structural side — how the soil is physically made up — and then you have got the biology … it is a case of working out how those elements fit together. If any one of those things is not up to scratch it really makes it hard for the biological part of the soil to function.”
“The actions of
our farmers will define the future of the reef ”
â&#x20AC;&#x153; Unfortunately, the peak research bodies
in the sugarcane industry have done very little work on soil biology so we are trying to help ourselves
“There were three common soil health issues on the east
constant ground cover is achieved. They have also trialled
coast of Queensland’s sugarcane regions. The first was a
intercropping of sunflowers with sugarcane to improve
lack of organic carbon in the soil, critical for water and
soil carbon levels and enhance biological function. The
air filtration. All good biology in the soil is aerobic, so it
sunflowers did not hurt the sugarcane crop at all. In fact, it
needs air like us and if it can’t get it, it dies. The second
was the best crop of cane produced on the farm. “Pre-World
problem was a lack of calcium in the soil, and the third
War II, most farmers were mixed farmers and they grew a
and most common issue was compaction from heavy
range of things but synthetic nitrogen led to ever-increasing
machinery, tillage, synthetic applications of nitrogen and
monocultures where farmers now specialise in one or two
burning of trash. It was a realisation that we had those
things. Mono-cultures are easy to grow, manage and harvest
problems that lead us to look at ways to solve them. This
but are detrimental to soil health.”
is where the sunflowers come in. They are a very good host of mycorrhizal fungi, which are largely responsible for the
Simon is set to add 30 cattle to his farm, which will be
solubilisation of phosphorus in nature, and also have a large
rotationally grazed. “Cattle help complete the cycle because
tap root which is thought to have some ability to alleviate
they are full of biology,” Simon said. “It’s not just from
their back end, their saliva contains biology too and while they are in the multi-species crop eating it, there will be
On completing the Nuffield program, Simon was so inspired
dung beetles too, which are a valuable macro-biology. Like
he started Central Queensland Soil Health Systems, a not-
earthworms, dung beetles are just as efficient. They dig big
for-profit, farmer-driven soil health group to stage field days
holes that also help with aeration and water infiltration.”
and share information. “Unfortunately, the peak research bodies in the sugarcane industry have done very little work
Simon said he hoped to have up to 75 cattle on the farm
on soil biology so we are trying to help ourselves here.”
eventually and still be able to produce 12,000 tonnes of sugarcane.
THE Mattssons are now practising regenerative agriculture and their farm is in transition. In fallow country once the
“Cows are an important tool but overgrazing can be as
cane has been harvested they plant a mixed species crop
detrimental as tillage. We want high intensity but short
of sunflowers, soybean, chickpea, oats and cow pea to help
duration grazing so how they are managed is key.”
loosen the soil and add nitrogen and carbon and ensure
Marian, near Mackay in Queensland
The project included an event called Sunset Symphony in the Sunflowers which was hosted on Simon’s farm last year. An auditorium was carved out of the sugarcane-sunflower dual crop.
“It was a way of bringing people together to improve public understanding of regenerative agriculture and to encourage transformations in industrial monoculture farming practices,” Simon said. “I’ve been growing sunflowers now for several years and we are astounded by the number of people who stop to take photos. Through events like Sunset Symphony in the Sunflowers we are trying to get the word out to the wider community the importance of soil health and biology.”
Simon’s commitment to soil health led to his involvement with the Mackay Regional Botanic Gardens Land Art Project. It involved planting agricultural species to create land art using principles of regenerative agriculture. The purpose was to bring together diverse communities within the Mackay region, to demonstrate the principles of regenerative agriculture, show the improved environmental management practises in the Great Barrier Reef catchment, engage with the public and generate a deeper understanding of the complex roles played by agriculture in the region’s economy, social life and ecology. The project included an event called Sunset Symphony in the Sunflowers which was hosted on Simon’s farm last year. An auditorium was carved out of the sugarcane-sunflower dual crop.
T-Shirts available in all sizes
NutriSoil Biological Solution is a family business, with over 20 yrs experience in Vermiculture. We are worm farmers from North East Victoria, and with around 600m of worm beds we produce an awesome worm liquid (NutriSoil). Along with a unique extraction process from our windrowshaped beds, we feed our compost worms a diet intended to maximise nutrient and biological integrity for use on broad-acre crops and pastures. The feeds include manure, straw, seaweed, fish, vegetables, soft rock phosphate, mineral blends, lime and humic acid.
Our interest in biological processes of the soil and discontent for common chemicals used in farming began with my father, Graham Maddock, over 30yrs ago, from his experience on the family dairy/beef property at Yackandandah. The real wake-up call was when a faulty connection came off the sprayer that Graham was using with an insecticide, to kill red legged earth-mite, hence he was totally covered in Dimethoate.
Written by Rachelle Armstrong, NutriSoil MD
Bedbound for the best part of a year, Graham had plenty of time to think about on farm processes such as; Should chemicals like this be used commonly in farming? He also thought about how the high costs of application of fertilisers to balance the soil on the dairy pastures, was not achieving balance. His thoughts turned to natural fertilisers. Graham successfully applied seaweed to his pastures and fell in love with vermiculture soon after, allowing him to quickly reduce his inputs.
Insecticides were never used again after the accident During this time, I was studying Health Sciences at university, working in Public Health in Sri Lanka and then as a Youth and Community Development Officer in a small town in Western Australia. Intrigued by my father’s awakening with where farming was going, I began to consider my values around human health with regard to how food was being grown and that the healthy family farm was becoming exactly the opposite. NutriSoil was born in the mid-90s. I partnered with my parents in 2005 to build the business with a vision that “All people can live a healthy life through a complete biological balance in the soil”. Our purpose is “To empower farmers to produce life-enriching food.”
NutriSoil is used as a foliar application to crops or pastures and a seed inoculant. It is a very easy tool to use in a regenerative farming program. The true value in our worm liquid is how it enhances photosynthesis and activates native biology to function.
Agricultural Movement. This is our 13th year of running annual events and we are very excited about joining forces with the National Regenerative Agriculture Day. Check out our 2020 Calendar of Events for the many other Australia-wide events we support and will be involved in.
Sharing of knowledge through education is key to us achieving our purpose and building the Regenerative
Regenerative Chocolate. That’s two of my favourite words right there. And I know I’m not alone as a chocolate lover. There are few food items that we so powerfully associate with pleasure, comfort, and indulgence. But pure chocolate — cacao — has also unique properties that are beneficial to health. In South America, cacao is called “food of the gods.” The Mayan and Aztec peoples called it ‘xocolatl’ and consumed it as a sacred drink. It’s packed with antioxidants that are readily absorbed by our bodies. It’s also high in two nutrients most people don’t get enough of in their diets: magnesium, which is critical to brain chemistry and promotes happiness, and sulphur, which strengthens hair, nails, and the circulatory system and is antiinflammatory. But what most people know and taste as chocolate is far from this sacred food. Conventional chocolate is usually highly processed and loaded with sugar, milk, and hydrogenated oils. We’ve also gotten used to cheap chocolate — cheap because it’s been produced through extractive processes. In recent years, a few organisations and journalists have exposed the use of child labor, sometimes even slavery, on cacao farms especially in Western Africa, where over 70% of cacao is grown. The demand for cheap chocolate has forced cacao prices down, so cacao farmers aren’t paid a living wage. Much less so the children — some of them as young as five — working on the farms and facing exploitative work conditions, hazardous work, and exposure to agricultural chemicals. With intricate, long supply chains involving farmers,
buyers, wholesalers, exporters, importers and manufacturers, it’s virtually impossible to trace the origin of your chocolate bar, or guarantee that it’s been ethically produced. So what is a conscious chocolate lover to do?
Seek out regenerative chocolate, which sets the bar truly high (no pun intended!). A network of organizations and enterprises is at work to create a supply network characterised by trust and transparency, in which chocolatiers create partnerships directly with cacao farmers’ coops. In this way, they can bypass the multiple middlemen, brokers, warehouses, exporters and so on that have made transparent chocolate supply chains virtually impossible. These forward-thinking small chocolate companies engage in multi-capital exchange and ecological investing, ensuring fair wages and responsible ecosystem management where the cacao originates from.
The cacao growers who are a part of this supply network are demonstrating what regenerative farming looks like when thoroughly interwoven with the indigenous culture and deep knowledge of cacao’s ecosystem of origin, the incredibly diverse rainforest.
The cacao growers who are a part of this supply network are demonstrating what regenerative farming looks like when thoroughly interwoven with the indigenous culture and deep knowledge of cacao’s ecosystem of origin, the incredibly diverse rainforest. Because cacao can be grown in shade, it works great in multispecies agroforestry systems, which are excellent at storing of atmospheric carbon in the soil and plants. In other words, regeneratively grown cacao has the potential of being a “climatebeneficial” treat. If grown and produced responsibly in this way, cacao has the potential for being an incredible leverage point in regenerating both local economies and ecosystems. As Gregory Landua of Terra Genesis International and Regenerative Cacao says, “Cacao can be the keystone species in an extremely productive (economically and biologically) forest matrix that functions as a carbon sink, a purveyor of cacao and other
products important in the global economy, and a tool for shifting economic and social systems.” From the raw pods of the cacao plant, the process of fermenting, drying, roasting and cracking takes you to the final product. If you want to taste real, high-quality, regeneratively produced chocolate, here’s a list of some pioneering brands. We recommend them all! Alter Eco | Nova Chocolate Cholaca | Cacoco | Pascha Green & Blacks | Endangered Species | Loving Earth | Pana Koko Black | Pumpy Jackson
Still hungry for more… info about what makes this kind of chocolate regenerative? Check out these links: Watch: Gregory Landua and George Fletcher demonstrating the regenerative growing practices Watch: “Behind the Chocolate” with Cholaca Regenerative Cacao See a brand new regenerative cacao forest planted at Finca Luna Nueva, Costa Rica Author : Mari Stuart (PhD) www.projectgrounded.com
A CLASSROOM CONVERSATION
WANT TO TASTE SOME CARBON?
The rich darkness almost bitterness of real chocolate may come as a surprise. Chocolate grown from plants in carbon rich soil vs chocolate grown in factories tastes and looks very different.
Go to the supermarket and buy a standard block of chocolate. Go to IGA or Health Food store and buy a block of organic 70%+ Cacao Chocolate.
Chocolate made in factories taste very sweet. What does real chocolate taste like? Can you taste the cacao bean itself?
Cut a neat little square from both, shut your eyes, and try a piece of the common chocolate. Swish it around your mouth and really taste it try and identify what you are tasting.
Chocolate made in factories is bad for your health. Can you taste why? Chocolate made from real chocolate is good for your health. Can you taste why?
When you have finished have a drink of water - clear your pallet and try the other piece of chocolate. Repeat the process. Enjoy this experiment as part of a kictchen table conversation with your friends and peers, as many have never tried real chocolate.
Chocolate is easily the most comfortable, happily the most digestible, and definitely the most enjoyable product on earth. So can chocolate provide the missing link to making Regenerative Agriculture digestible to the broader public?
Charlie has been awarded several agricultural industry awards, including the Bob Hawke Landcare Australia Award, the Lachlan Catchment Natural Resource Management Primary Producer Award, Conservation Farmer of the Year - Lachlan Regional Winner, and winner of the National Carbon Cocky award for Outstanding Leadership. Produce State Award in the ‘From The Paddock’ category as part of the 2018 delicious Produce Awards.
The Arnott family have bred and grown Shorthorn cattle, and Merino and Dorset sheep at ‘Hanaminno’, Boorowa for nearly 50 years. Michael Arnott, the great, great grandson of William Arnott, the man who started the Famous Arnott’s Biscuit Company, decided after 8 years in the Homebush biscuit factory in Sydney to break with tradition, and given his strong family ties with the bush, moved to Boorowa after a few years in Southern Queensland. His son, Charlie Arnott, took over the reins in 1997, and has continued the proud Arnott tradition of producing high quality Australian products. Our award winning lamb is produced using Merino ewes and Dorset rams, a well known ‘fat lamb’ cross breed, and one that we have been using for 40+ years, whilst proudly utilizing local Gooramma Stud Dorset rams. Our Wessex Saddleback pigs are pasture raised and fattened, and we supply our Biodynamic meat to a number of Sydney based butchers, including the world famous Victor Churchills, and passionate team at Shiralee Organic Meats.
Our cattle, sheep and pigs spend all their lives on our property, without the use of chemicals, vaccinations or hormones. We use organic and Biodynamic principles to manage our soils, grasses, trees and animals, ensuring that all aspects of our environment are considered in a holistic fashion, giving due consideration to the intricate relationships and balance that exists between all living things within the boundaries of our property. We have been practising the philosophies and principles of Biodynamic and organic production many years.
Landscape biodiversity is
lamb is 100% grass fed, as nature
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winning Generative management
tender and tasty as you can find.
practises, and the principles of Holistic Management that we apply,
We believe that the quality of
producing healthy plants, animals
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and people. Our animals thrive in
demonstrates the same integrity
this unique environment to produce
with which it is produce. We believe
a superior product that we supply
in the importance of customers
to various butchers in Sydney, and
knowing where their food is
improve soil, grass and the ecology
direct to families locally.
created, that it is healthy and safe,
of farming and grazing land.
and connects them to the producers Our livestock are handled with the
and environment in which it was
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greatest of care and respect, using
produced. Food should not be a
consumers, but as co-producers.
animal husbandry second to none.
commodity; itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s an experience and
You help us produce our beef,
Quite simply our animals are happy,
lamb and pork because you create the demand. You help us make
and as a result, our products are the healthiest, most nutritious, clean
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decisions about our products
and sustainable meat you could
passionate about Biodynamics, we
through feedback and involvement.
feed your family.
facilitate on farm workshops and
Food production should be the
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result of all people in the process,
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We exist to shift the global food and fibre industries towards regeneration www.agtalent.training Agtalent is a global marketplace for training and consulting services in the regenerative & sustainable agriculture industry. Agtalent is dedicated to supporting learners, farmers and agribusiness professionals to up-skill for the sustainable and regenerative future of agriculture. We believe that human capital is the most critical limiting factor when it comes to business success in a changing world. It takes the right access to training, support services and skilled team members for agribusinesses to be able to thrive. Agtalent will support the continued professional development of individuals and teams, in order to accelerate the global shift to an agriculture system that embraces technology, nourishes people and works in harmony with natural systems. Training Search and compare the worlds top training opportunities in sustainable and regenerative agriculture, agtech, business management, direct marketing and more. We list the very best workshops, courses, internships, incubators, study tours, online programs and vocational training. The talent marketplace is the place to get skilled-up for the future of agriculture or promote your programs to a global audience. Consulting Get connected to the worldâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s best independent agribusiness consultants. Our network of carefully selected freelancers have a wide range of expertise to support your business to thrive in the changing global marketplace, make the most of technology and help your business to be more environmentally sustainable. The future is regenerative.
Judi Earl has been preaching the virtues and importance of Regenerative Agriculture for over 20 years. After advising and training hundreds of graziers and land managers, Judi decided it was time to put the principles into practice. The purchase of ‘Glen Orton’ in Coolatai NSW in 2011 provided the perfect opportunity to showcase the capacity of grazing animals to regenerate land.
Judi speaks with Kelly Jones Welcome Jude. So what is your official Title exactly? The official title I use on my CV is Pasture Ecologist. Pasture ecology is about the natural processes that occur within pastures and grasslands, really working with and understanding the natural cycle and the plant’s that are present to improve out-comes naturally from the existing base. I finished my PhD on pasture ecology in 1998. It was focused on cell grazing at the time. Terry McCosker had started the Grazing for Profit schools in conjunction with Stan Parsons in the early 90s. There was a great deal of interest in this new ‘grazing management system’ at the time and my study was the first research on cell grazing conducted in Australia. Allan Savory, the originator of Holistic Management, first visited Australia in 1998. When did you first come across the term Regenerative Agriculture? In 2002 I was at field day at a ranch in Texas in the US and there was all this talk about sustainable agriculture. All the way through my university degree and post graduate studies the talk was all about sustainable agriculture. It was during that workshop discussion I recall regenerative being used for the first time in association with agriculture. We couldn’t afford to simply be sustainable, we had to look
towards regenerative practices. The land and soil had degraded to the point where sustaining what we had would not be sufficient we had to start to work towards regenerating land. Sustainable management is not going to cut it because we are starting from such a low base in terms of land health and condition. There has been a definite shift amongst many working in sustainable agriculture to the terminology regenerative in recent years. The language we use is important. If you look at the word agriculture you’re talking about ‘agri’ as in the land and ‘culture’ as in of the land. It’s a big concept. There is often reference to the ‘war’ on weeds, ‘battling’ drought, ‘destroying’ pests and disease. If we start to use language more conducive to working with nature to regenerate land and building biodiversity our approach to agriculture becomes much more positive and requires far less energy. Tell me about your move to Coolatai? I had been living in and around Guyra for 20 years. In 2010 I went for a long drive to Darwin, plenty of time to contemplate where I was and what I wanted. During the trip I decided I was ready, and in a financial position, to do what I had always dreamed of – to buy a farm - and demonstrate my version of a regenerative model. I was managing director of Holistic Management International/Australia at the
Judi Earl at Glen Orton, Coolatai NSW
time. So after careful consideration and revision of my Holisticgoal, I looked at 70 properties and decided on one of the first I looked at which met (most) of my search criteria. Within 3 months I closed the company, sold a house, purchased the farm and moved to Coolatai. Holistic Management is essentially about creating the future you want by first defining your own Holistic Context. Humans tend to find it hard to think deeply about what they want and what they value, defining how they want their life to be, defining what they want their lives and land to be and by extension their children futures. There are very few people when it comes down to it, that really know very clearly what they want, on a daily basis, or long term. Mostly when asked the question, what they want is ‘stuff’ – it’s not to do with what they truly deeply value. Holistic Management is more psychological than agronomical. When making the decision to buy the farm a big part of that decision was to put into practice what I had been preaching to people. At a recent conference Jeff Moyer from the Rodale Institute said “farmers are more important than doctors in society”. A sentiment I wholeheartedly agree with. But farmers so often tend to put themselves down saying ‘I’m just a farmer’. Farmers have the ultimate responsibility as stewards of the land and
our environment. They provide us with fibre and raw materials but most importantly they provide food for the nation. Look at the way farmer are looked at compared to doctors by most of our society. And it’s true of teachers and nurses; they are at the lower end of the spectrum and yet they are more important than doctors, lawyers, politicians. And the government policies have disempowered farmers enormously. And most farmers don’t understand yet the regenerative approach because the government doesn’t understand the regenerative approach and the two are very reliant on each other for information. So tell me how are you faring in Coolatai in the middle of this historic drought event after having practiced a regenerative model for the last 8 years? The feed budget and grazing plan I developed prewinter, back in March 2018, gave me confidence to get through winter without the need for destocking and provided the opportunity to utilise a bulk of dry standing Coolatai grass. My goal was to maintain a minimum of 2,000 kg of dry matter/ha residual at the end of winter. The plan went to plan and at the end of October ’18 I was carrying more livestock than I had run in the previous 8 years. With no rain forecast and the continuing dry I destocked by 25% at the end of October, conducted another feed budget and set the next critical date at end December with a planned
residual of 1,750 kg DM/ha. With no easing of the dry conditions and no pasture growth in the first week of January 60% of the remaining herd was sold. The next critical date is the end of March. If we haven’t had a significant rain event by the end of March I’ll be down to 1,500 kg dry matter/ha which won’t be sufficient to carry stock through winter and maintain groundcover, so the rest will have to go. The past 12 months rainfall was second the lowest on record (1918 was lower) at 44% of the long-term average of 711mm. I haven’t substituted any feed they have only been provided protein and mineral supplementation. It is coming up to two years since the last significant pasture growth event. Most of the animals are in good condition and are healthy but what they are grazing now is essentially what was grown two or more years ago, there has been no effective plant recovery in that time. They are grazing residual herbage left from previous graze events but groundcover is being retained and stock are healthy and in relatively good condition. A number of the stock sent to saleyards recently have topped or almost topped the sales. It is important to me that livestock are in as good health and condition as possible at the time. If it happens that by the end of March the pasture mass is down to 1500 kg of dry matter/ha livestock condition will decline but more importantly below that level of cover soil health and land condition will be compromised. So the livestock will have to move off.
What happens when this happens? Simply, in the short term, the bank balance increases, the workload decreases and land condition is maintained. It’s distressing to have to sell animals and I don’t have any precious genetics that I’m protecting. But making those decisions is essential – taking the action is really difficult. There is a quote in Holistic Management that says ‘don’t love your cows’, but I have learnt it is very difficult to not love your cows because they are very lovely creatures. They are just amazing animals but the bottom line is that I love the land more than the animals. I’m embarrassed to say I’ve maintained about 80% ground cover which I’d like to say was 100%. Unfortunately, there are thousands of hectares of bare ground currently throughout this and many other regions of NSW and Queensland. This, and the ultimate loss of soil, is one of the too often unspoken tragedies of drought. You are really being tested now. How much impact has your regenerative practises had now while you are in the middle of this crisis? I was panicking in June about having to destock and restock and what I’ll do when they calved in the next month, but then I sat down and thought about it and thought “no, I’ve done the monitoring, I’ve done the measurements, I know I’ve got enough dry matter to cover stock through until October - so I relaxed until
“I walked the property 6 times before I bought it and identified 6 individual grass plants that were not Coolatai Grass. Since then I have identified over 240 different species of plants including 60 species of grasses”
“I have learnt it is very
difficult to not love your cows because they are very lovely creatures. They are just amazing animals but the bottom line is that I love the land more than the animals”
I had to take action October. All the while monitoring and controlling the movement of livestock. It’s really about management. Holistic Management doesn’t make it more or less likely to rain, but you’ve gone through the process, you’ve made the decision, monitored assuming you could be wrong, and you just have to trust that decision when that day comes. You can’t control when it’s going to rain. You can control how much ground cover is there, the condition of that groundcover and what is likely to be the outcome when it does rain. Generally the ‘drought breaking’ rains come in intense rainfall events. The tragedy of those rain fall events is the amount of soil that is lost and with that the soil goes precious nutrients and organic matter. So retaining the maximum amount of cover, organic matter and viable perennial grasses is really key to recovery. This dry spell is going to take a lot of recovery and it won’t recover without the natural resource base in place, particularly a good level of ground cover. Why does ground cover make a difference? Anything that covers the ground will intercept and reduce the impact of a raindrop or the possibility of it displacing or moving soil. If you’ve got rock, manure, leaf litter or dormant plants covering the ground this will reduce the damage of that raindrop on the soil surface. Maintaining cover with plants is going to protect the soils surface. If you have something
like 10-15cm of ground cover above the soil surface, then the soil temperature can be 7 degrees cooler in summer and 7 degrees warmer in winter. This means all those soil critters that are residing in the surface of that soil and plant growth points are protected from temperature extremes. There are not many areas with this much plant material present at the moment but any soil cover is valuable. Where you have bare soil, the energy in the raindrop acts to seal the soil almost creating a concrete like surface where water runs off- where as if you have a nice friable top soil that is covered in plant material than it intercepts and dissipates that energy and more of that water stays where it falls, can infiltrate into the soil and less is lost. It’s a simple concept. What have you done on your farm? Coolatai is theoretically in the high rainfall zone, the long term average rainfall is 711mm. The last 12months rainfall has been 315mm. In the 8 years I have been here I’ve experienced only 5 significant pasture pasture growth events. So even though it’s high rainfall (theoretically) the land is behaving more like an arid (much more brittle) environment. The key approach is planning and controlling the grazing by moving the animals across the landscape leaving a good bulk of herbage mass behind in each paddock after each graze event. I started with 9 paddocks and I’m now up to 63 subdivisions. The more paddocks, the more control I have over the grazing process.
As I mentioned earlier, the plan was to leave a minimum average residual of 2,000kg of dry matter per hectare by the end of October. That has been the benchmark minimum residual since day 1 and up until recently most paddocks have had more when animals left an area. The extended dry has led to me compromising that level and I set a target of 1,750kg DM/ha by end December which has been further compromised. So my goal now is 1500kg of dry matter by the end of March and to my mind that is the absolute limit. And if I’m going into winter with 1,500kg of dry matter then there won’t be any animals on Glen Orton for the first time in 8 years. The cows I purchased originally were purchased specifically with the purpose to regenerate the land. To get through the mountain of dry Coolatai grass that was there, and they have done a fantastic job. In the absence of rain fall and pasture growth their presence will soon be compromising ground cover. I only leave animals on a certain area for the time it takes them to get pasture down to the planned residual dry matter and then I move them to another location. When I arrived here 8 years ago there was on average 4,000kg of dry matter per hectare across 400 hectares of land and I bought 50 old cows and calves to work their way through that bulk of plant mass. It has taken 8 years to achieve the outcome I was looking for across the whole area. Coolatai grass has really low nutritional quality. I walked the property 6 times
before I bought it and identified 6 individual grass plants that were not Coolatai Grass. Since then I have identified over 240 different species of plants including 60 species of grasses. By removing that dense bulk of dry matter, it has allowed what was already there to emerge and come through. Could you stay on the farm and survive without animals? I’ve got the potential for off-farm income and have set aside income from livestock sales for the purpose of restocking when the time comes. I’m certainly not going down the path of substitution feeding (dry matter like hay) livestock. So many people have spent hundreds of thousands of dollars, millions of dollars, feeding hay to stock just for survival. I can’t see any future in that. Once you get to the stage that you are substituting feed then your land is absolutely degrading. There is no two ways about it. There’s the short term financial cost of the hay and the emotional cost associated but what is usually not considered is the environmental cost of degrading the land. Did you ever add seeds? No it’s all natural regeneration. 6 grass plants to 240 different species. They were all lying dormant waiting for sunlight - the earth knows how to regenerate. We just have to learn how to work with it, not against it. Of course they are not all there now because of the
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extremity of the drought. We live on a giant seed-bank waiting for the right conditions for that diversity to emerge and shine through. Where animals have been maintained on land too long, combined with the drought, even the most resilient grasses become vulnerable. When you lose ground cover and plant life, essentially a desert is created. It will be very interesting to see what happens in Coolatai and much of northern NSW when the drought actually does break, because the extent of the bare ground I’m seeing here is immense. The land and plants are going to require significant time to adequately recover which will require removal of grazing animals. The other issue is the number of kangaroos has increased hugely. When I first arrived there were a few wallabies around and now every time I turn a corner there are mobs of up to 50 big grey kangaroos, they are adding to the grazing pressure. I don’t consider shooting them is an answer. Aside from the fact I could never shoot a kangaroo. Destroying the animals is not going to solve the problem, they have to be included in the grazing plan. If I can’t handle kangaroos I shouldn’t have cattle on there in the first place. Kangaroos are part of the system so they have to come into the budget.
What would success mean to you on your farm? People have asked me from time to time, if I have any land set aside for conservation meaning the animals are excluded, but in my mind the whole farm is managed for conservation. Encouraging as much diversity of plant life, mammals, reptiles and birds at every level. The property was so degraded when I bought it - the ground cover was close to 100% Coolatai grass and on average 1.7% soil carbon. My goal is to regenerate the soil and pasture base to maximise biodiversity, plant growth and improve all aspects of soil health. To minimise the amount of supplementation provided to livestock and optimise livestock productivity. I’m aiming for 100% ground cover 100% of the time. Absence of rainfall and photosynthesis are current limiting limiting factors. Up until recently not having enough stock to impact the Coolatai grass has been a limitation. That has certainly turned around of late. Ultimately the enterprise has to be profitable - you can’t be green if you are in the red. My original plan was that it would take 8 years to get to the point where ecology would be sufficient to be financially sustainable so I wouldn’t need to rely on off farm work - but the severity of this drought has comprised that. With the decisions
made now in regard to stocking or destocking and maintaining the condition of the resource base (pastures and soil) Iâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;m hoping that recovery will occur relatively quickly when more favourable conditions return. And finally, what is regenerative agriculture? Essentially regenerative agriculture is the production of a product from the land while improving the health of the resource. The soil is number one, everything ultimately is a product of the soil. Increasing the carbon levels, increasing water infiltration and improving soil structure. Soil health is dependent on a healthy population of perennial plants and in grasslands and pastures the most important plants are perennial grasses. Maximum ground cover is a given. You canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t get improve soil health and increase carbon without ground cover. Maximising biodiversity and understanding the role and function of all organisms in the ecosystem is an essential part of working with nature and natural processes as opposed to fighting it. In terms of grazing practices matching your livestock to your landscape and being prepared to change numbers in tune with pasture growth. There needs to be a focus on preserving pasture condition and
soil carbon now in this current climate and building more resilience when the time comes. We must choose the long term health of the land over the short term needs of the animals. Creating the conditions to have nutrients cycling effectively though the system and encouraging maximum soil water infiltration and storage when it does rain. Maximising green plants to capture and convert sunlight energy.
My hope that is that this drought is going to make a difference. My fear is that itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s just going to be another drought and nothing will change. It will break and people will forget about the hardship they are in and stay the same. But it feels like there is a lot more conversation around this drought about regenerative agriculture and a need to change. This might be the drought to transition policy, farmers and educators towards the only real solution. Fix the soil. I have hope.
Let The Kids Play Connecting 300 rural kids and their communities to the joy of music in the historical township of Tenterfield with the world’s best Music Educators for a one week music camp that we hope will change their lives Regenerative Agriculture is not just about the soil, it’s also about the families and the communities that steward that soil. Regeneration is a sustainable approach that factors in all heartbeats- from the microscopic to the loud and rythmic. Beat Of The Bush was developed from ‘Not Quite Baroque’ at Wallangra in 2015. It was our first attempt at using ‘The Arts’ to revive the spirit of a rural community quickly approaching a drought. The program bought kids together from 7 different rural schools and introduced them to music and singing. This resulted in a series of concerts and the renovation of our degraded 60 year old hall. The concerts had a powerful and startling impact on the local community and demonstrated to us that art, music, song & dance have a place at the heart of agri’culture. And a role to play as we shift as a culture towards Regenerative Agriculture and Communities.
WHO CAN ATTEND Everyone: kids (Year 3 and up), tertiary students, adults, music educators and classroom teachers
COURSES AVAILABLE Song Writing, Vocal and instrumental (including piano, strings and band instruments) workshops; Music Theatre, Music Games and Jazz Community and choir participation is warmly encouraged Anyone can register - applications from regional and remote areas will be given priority
for more info or to register: www.whatwouldlovedonow.org Travel
The Wise Old Owls Dr James Cuskelly OAM James is well known as a global leader in music education. He received an Order of Australia in 2018 for his outstanding contribution to music. (Director, Methods of Teaching, Musicianship) - Director of Winter School (NSW) and Summer School Music Program (QLD). Head of Music, Classroom Music teacher and choral conductor at St Aidan’s Anglican Girls School (QLD), conductor of Queensland Kodály Choir, international lecturer and key note speaker in music education and aural studies, President of the International Kodály Society.
Pete Churchill – England (jazz Choir,
MegaBand, Jazz Theory and Performance) - Composer, pianist, singer and educator. Formerly, head of Jazz at the Guildhall School of Music, Professor of Jazz Composition at the Royal Academy of Music (London). Director of the Jazz Choir at Trinity College of Music. Received 2007 Parliamentary Award for Services to Jazz Education.
(Voice, Musical Theatre Excerpts) Soprano & Vocal Coach, recipient of Griffith Award for Excellence, soloist with Opera Qld, Qld Philharmonic and Australian Army Band, lead roles including Gianni Schicci, Die Zauberflote and The Messiah.
Lucinda Geoghegan – Scotland (Music Games, Methods of Teaching) Teacher, lecturer and author. Education Director for the National Youth Choir of Scotland, International presenter of workshops on Kodály methodology.
Caroline Ryan (Brass and Woodwind) - Music teacher and Brass specialist in Brisbane and Toowoomba.
Phil Ryan (Brass and Woodwind) - Brass specialist teacher, performer and conductor in Brisbane and Toowoomba.
Dr Michael Bradshaw (Musicianship, Piano) - Classroom Music teacher and Choral conductor at Sydney Conservatorium High School (NSW).
Shaun Brown (Voice, Music Theatre) - Vocal Lecturer at the School of Music (The University of Queensland) and Vocal Consultant for Queensland Education Department’s Creative Generation Soloist for Opera Queensland 1995 - present.
Carla Trott (Musicianship, Children’s Choir) Classroom Music teacher and choral conductor at St Aidan’s Anglican Girls’ School (QLD). Musicianship teacher at Pathways to Music.
Free daily buses will be organised within a 100km radius for commuters to Tenterfield (Warwick, Bonshaw, Glen Innes and Tabulum). Bus journeys and timetables will be determined once we finalise registrations. There is no guarantee that a bus will be near your area but we will do our best. We urge schools to also provide bus transport (where possible) and individuals to car pool.
Food Morning Tea and Lunch will be provided at no cost thanks to our sponsors - CWA, Rotary and Lions.
Accommodation Looking for somewhere to stay? Bookings for accommodation can be made through the Tenterfield Information Centre. LIMITED billeting is available to students older than 13 or where student/s are accompanied by an adult. Please indicate this on registration.
Musical Experience None required. Or you could have oodles of experience. Everyone is welcome. Just bring your enthusiasm and commitment to have a stack of fun and meet like minded people.
Volunteers We love volunteers. If you are not a participant, but would like to volunteer, fill in your details here (you can leave the other questions blank).
Helping families with Financial Relief If you need financial assistance, please advise your local school, P&C or and support organisations that could provide assistance.
Cost Full Fees - Non Rural and Remote Students Full Week : $500.00 (total) Music Educators : $750.00 Full Fees - Rural and Remote Subsidised by FRRR - Major Sponsor Students Full Week : $100.00 (total) Music Educators : $500.00
KIDS COMPOSING THE FUTURE OF REGENERATIVE AGRICULTURE
Location Is In Tasmania Island
more ancient than the mountains and freighted with the memories.
The rhythm of nature
The crops that we grew
The beat of my heart
It was our best year by far
I’ll try to explain But where do I start
But the dust now does blow Like never I’ve seen
As a kid I roamed
And the drought we are in
Exploring the hills
Is savage and mean
With fearless adventure Including some spills
My sadness runs deep While the land just cries out
I grew with the land
No joy as we watch
With my dog and my mates
The stock in a drought
With a love for my land
For my kids I keep going
Few townsfolk could rate
I know it will rain Lets hope it comes soo
Every tree and rough knoll
To help ease this pain
Every flower that grew Where the cattle would hide
I’ll rebuild the herd
These places I knew
One cow at a time Just hope that the bank
Where water will run
Still thinks we are fine
When the rains finally came Where grasses grow best
Just part of our life
These places I’ll name
Out here on the land And boy does it help
Grandad showed me
When you hold out your hand
The Well that he dug And the track they would take
Just saying you care
When the bullocks did lug
Well it brings me a tear And the love thay you show me
The logs that they felled
Eases my fear
To build the first house Where my dad grew up
When you get in that car
With the kids and his spouse
And head over the range You’re welcome at our place
This land that I love
You’ll know we ain’t strange
Is more than just dirt To watch it go dry
For this land that I love
Well it really does hurt
You will feel it quite clear It’s the land of our Mothers
I remember the hill
We still hold so dear
Overlooking the dam Where I took you to ask
It’s the land that sustains us
Would you give me your hand
This love that I feel The rhythm of nature
I remember the year when We bought that new car
And my heart beat as well.
FODDER SHED EXPLANATION ON UTUBE WITH MIKE MCCOSKER
Author and radical farmer Charles Massy explores transformative and regenerative agriculture and the vital connection between our soil and our health. It is a story of how a grassroots revolution – a true underground insurgency – can save the planet, help turn climate change around, and build healthy people and healthy communities, pivoting significantly on our relationship with growing and consuming food.
Regenerative Agriculture: Key Pathway to Transforming Earth and Human Health in the Anthropocene Epoch
our modern industrial capitalism and the economic credo of economic rationalism (i.e. endless growth and greed), human activity has now unequivocally destabilized the 9 Earth systems that maintain ideal living conditions for
[REGENERATE: ‘to effect a complete moral reform in’; ‘to
humanity and other life on our planet.
re-create, reconstitute, or make over, especially in a better form or condition’; ‘to generate or produce anew; bring into
As historian John McNeill put it, ‘humankind has begun
to play dice with the planet, without knowing all the rules of the game’. That is, our behaviour has now tipped us
Regenerative agriculture implies more than just sustaining
into the Anthropocene epoch: a new, dangerous, human-
something but rather an active rebuilding or regeneration
caused, disruptive geological epoch. Damningly, industrial
of existing systems towards health. It also implies an
agriculture has proven the major player in destabilizing the
open-ended process of ongoing improvement and positive
six key Earth systems of Climate change, biodiversity loss,
transformation. This can encompass the rebuilding or
land systems change, destruction of our water systems, and
regeneration of soil itself, and of biodiversity more widely;
disruption of the interrelated nitrogen and phosphorous
the reduction of toxins and pollutants; the recharging of
aquifers; the production of healthier food, clean water and air; the replacement of external inputs; and the
However, because these Earth systems are self-organizing, it
enhancement of human health, social capital and ecological
is not too late to transform the earth. All we need do is change
the way we think about farming and the Earth we inhabit and, in turn, how we grow food and fibre. In my book Call of
But we are also talking big picture here: of both saving
the Reed-Warbler: A New Agriculture - A New Earth, I explore
our planet and turning around human ill-health. There is
regenerative agriculture and the vital connection between our
overwhelming evidence to show that our planet has moved
soil and our health. It is a story of how a grassroots revolution
into a new geological epoch following the last twelve
– a true underground insurgency – can save the planet, help
thousand years of the Holocene. The latter epoch was that
turn climate change around, and build healthy people and
ideal climatic time when humans developed agriculture and
healthy communities. A key for this is our relationship with
from this modern urban civilisation. Unfortunately, with
growing and consuming food.
are indivisibly connected. Concerning destabilization of the Earth’s governing systems, evidence is now mounting that the best approach to address climate destabilization and the other threatened Earth systems is regenerative agriculture and its capacity to massively drawdown CO2. Now, Agriculture, in occupying thirty-eight per cent of the Earth’s terrestrial surface, is both the largest user of land on the planet and humankind’s largest engineered ecosystem. But the problem is that traditional industrial agriculture – through practices such as land clearing and burning vegetation, using lots of fossil fuels (in fertilisers and chemicals, and to power farm machinery), overgrazing, ploughing and fallowing – emits, rather than stores, carbon. In particular, excessive carbon dioxide in the atmosphere (largely due to the release of longstored carbon through burning fossil fuels) is, we now know, one of the key causes of the greenhouse effect. However, because it is based on plants, which take carbon out of the atmosphere to make and store sugar through photosynthesis (and because these plants have roots growing in the ground), a regenerative agriculture (i.e. one with biologically active and healthy soils) has the potential to bury huge amounts of carbon for long periods. Moreover, when a healthy agriculture puts more long-lasting carbon into the soil while minimising the loss of such carbon, this in turn has a major impact on the water cycle and its crucial In my book, in addition to recounting my early mistakes as an industrial farmer, I tell the real story behind industrial agriculture and the global profit-obsessed corporations driving it. But more importantly I show – through evocative stories - how innovative farmers are finding a new regenerative and transforming way to farm. But the key point is that at stake is not only a revolution in human health and our communities but the very survival of the planet. Regenerative agriculture (and thus regenerating our Earth and human health) hinges around regenerating the five key landscape functions. These comprise: the solar cycle, the water cycle, the soil-mineral cycle, biodiversity, and finally, the key but overlooked factor of the humansocial: the world-views or paradigms we bring to our farming and living. To illustrate these, I build much of the core of my book around stories of extraordinary regenerative farmers who primarily set out to regenerate their most degraded landscape function, but which in turn they found positively impacted the other four - given that all landscape functions
role in thermoregulation (i.e. climate control) of our planet. World leading environmental and social change agent Paul Hawken, in his latest book Drawdown, reveals how vital regenerative agriculture is to helping save the planet. Over 70 leading scientists and analysts calculated the 100 best methods to drawdown CO2 (or prevent its emission). When different regenerative agriculture practices are calculated as one, then regenerative agriculture proves the best drawdown method by nearly two and a half times the next best method. All these regenerative methods are based around revegetation and inculcating healthy, living soils (that is, soil containing plants, insects, bacteria, fungi and other organisms). At the same time, such a new ecologically-based agriculture is also proving the best way to address the mounting and massive escalation in modern human ill-health diseases. That is, the trashing of landscapes and life-supporting systems is not the only negative impact of modern industrial agriculture. Another is the way it produces food and then
how it processes, distributes, markets and sells it. At the
This is therefore cause for a galvanization of hope. The
same time as we are degrading the air we breathe, we are
remarkable efforts of regenerative farmers in Australia
also denaturing the food we eat and water we drink and
and elsewhere revels that such people are at the forefront
lacing them with a witchâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s brew of deadly poisons - such
of an underground agricultural insurgency. In their
as the worldâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s most widely used herbicide of Glyphosate
Earth-sympathetic thinking, and in their connections to
(a variant being Roundup). This in turn is leading to a near
like-minded urban sisters and brothers (who are equally
exponential increase in modern chronic diseases
passionate about healthy food, human and societal health,
What makes these impacts so deadly is that we are genetically hard-wired to live off our natural environment. This includes eating food that is free of man-made chemicals. However, while we canâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t change this genetic wiring, we can change our landscapes, and thus the food and water that they supply. This is the remarkable story I conclude with in my book: that by shifting away from modern, chemically based industrial agriculture to one that regenerates Mother Earth and its systems and which delivers food chock-full of nutrients from healthy soils and landscapes, then we not only can regenerate human health but can also address the Anthropocene boundary crossings at the same time.
and about the Earth and its natural systems), they are part of a powerful vanguard that is rapidly gathering momentum both in Australia and across the world. This movement is returning humans and societies to the state of health that our evolutionary history has designed us for while turning around our destruction of Mother Earth and human societies. Books cited McNeill. J. Something New Under the Sun: an Environmental History of the Twentieth Century World. WW Norton, 2000. Hawken, P. Drawdown: The Most Comprehensive Plan ever proposed to Reverse Global Warming. Penguin, 2018.Massy, C. Call of the Reed Warbler: A New Agriculture - A New Earth. UQP 2017; Chelsea Green USA 2018.
Waggamba Landcare Group 116 Marshall St Goondiwindi, Qld 4390 Tel: 0428 738 125 email@example.com www.waggambalandcare.org
Waggamba Landcare is based at Goondiwindi and is a not-for-profit organisation comprised of local community members, including producers, an agronomist and Natural Resource Management Officer and a coordinator. The Waggamba Landcare committee and members are passionate about the future of our environment, agriculture and our community. Many joined after seeing their parents involvement, others Waggamba Landcare is not just about caring for our land, but also for caring for our community. Our motto is ‘locals helping locals’ and we aim to do this by identifying issues and creating ways to overcome them. The issues we mainly look at are to do with our local landholders, producers and community members
involved in the environment. We believe that it is important to support our townsfolk and help educate the younger generations so that they can help support our landholders and producers. Ways in which we will be doing that this year include the annual ‘Schools Competition’, a Drought Resilience project and a LoRaWAN project, amongst other endeavours. Waggamba Landcare’s annual schools competition involves local schools creating a presentation in conjunction with a given theme. The presentations are then displayed at the Goondiwindi show and Waggamba Landcare awards prizes. The competition is a great initiative to assist local schools in teaching students about important local issues, specifically in terms of the future of agriculture.
The drought resilience project will aim to interview local producers whom are seen to be effectively planning for and managing droughts. Four workshops will be developed that will provide landholders with information and support services to help increase resilience in times of drought as well as in planning for times of drought. LoRaWAN stands for Long Range Wide Area Network. Itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s a standard for wireless communication that allows IoT devices to communicate over large distance with minimal battery usage. IoT or the Internet of Things, is a system of interrelated computing devices, mechanical and digital machines, objects, animals or people that are provided with unique identifiers (UIDs) and the ability to transfer data over a network. Sounds complicated? Donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t worry; we will have plenty of information in the future to help landholders better understand what itâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s all about. The main aim is to connect farmers with their own devices to enhance management techniques.
We are always thinking about the big issues of pests and weeds as well, particularly Harrisia cactus, mother of millions and pest control. As well as this, we are keeping tabs on regenerative agriculture.
A new concept to some, regenerative agriculture is sparking our interest across the district as an interesting and important part of the future of agriculture. Want to know more? So do we! We are starting to see more and more local producers be inspired by the concept of regenerative agriculture. Some of things that are being done in the district include crop diversification, topsoil management, increasing biodiversity and improving waterways, drought resilience techniques and enhancing soil health. With an increase in available information and data analysis, we hope to see further adoption of regeneration techniques.
“I like to compare a healthy soil sponge to bread, and degraded soil to flour. A healthy soil sponge quickly soaks up any rain that falls, and can hold a LOT of water in its “in-soil reservoir” where water is protected from rapid evaporation.”
Didi Pershouse is the founder of the Center for Sustainable Medicine, and the author of two books: The Ecology of Care: Medicine, Agriculture, and the Quiet Power of Human and Microbial Communities, and Understanding Soil Health and Watershed Function.
THE SOIL CARBON SPONGE! The “soil carbon sponge” (or “soil sponge”) is a name for healthy, undisturbed soil covered with living plants. It has a strong, porous structure created by the work of many other species above and below ground. The carbon that holds the soil sponge structure together comes from living, dead and very dead organisms. These produce slimes, glues, and threads that bind together the little soil particles. As roots, worms, and other life moves through, they help to open up tunnels and holes that water and air can move through.
I like to compare a healthy soil sponge to bread, and degraded soil to flour. A healthy soil sponge quickly soaks up any rain that falls, and can hold a LOT of water in its “in-soil reservoir” where water is protected from rapid evaporation. This helps to prevent and reverse drought, by allowing water tables, springs, wells, and aquifers to refill, and bringing degraded and desertified land back to life. The more water that soil can hold, the more plants can grow, and since plant roots feed the organisms that build the soil sponge, the more plants can grow, the deeper the soil sponge will grow. The deeper the soil sponge, the more plants can grow! Unhealthy soil is more like flour, it can’t absorb water. When rain falls, it runs off sideways, creating flooding and drought, which are actually two sides of the same issue. The additional moisture provided by the soil sponge helps to protect against wildfires by keeping trees and grasses green for longer, and providing the right conditions for dead plants to decompose rather than burn. Crops grown in a healthy soil sponge have more nutrients, and fewer toxins. A healthy soil sponge can help to prevent conflicts over land, food, and water by providing more places where people can live, food can be grown, and animals can be grazed. For all these reasons, a healthy soil sponge is the basic infrastructure that makes life on land possible. How do we regenerate the soil sponge? By following nature’s own principles for land management.
Didi Pershouse • Soil life is hard at work building a living “soil carbon sponge” that makes life on land possible. Reduce/ eliminate tillage to allow the soil sponge to thrive. • Much of soil life is fed by liquid carbon compounds produced by photosynthesis, exuded via living plant roots. Maximize acreage, leaf area, and length of green growth, keeping living roots in the ground as long as possible. • Soil life needs protection from heat, pounding rain, and wind. Keep soil covered year-round (preferably with plants and a layer of decaying plant litter.) • A diverse system is more resilient than a monoculture. Use plant diversity to increase diversity in soil microorganisms, beneficial insects, and other species. • Like any other living system, soil ecology will succumb to overwhelming stresses (such as excessive use of biocides, compaction, undergrazing, overgrazing, etc.) Minimize chemical, physical, and biological stresses. • A healthy landscape stores and filters water, cools the surrounding atmosphere, creates mist and clouds, and is resilient to flooding and drought. Complex systems involving all kingdoms of life are responsible for the water cycle on land and in the atmosphere. Plan, monitor, and adapt your management with the whole water cycle in mind. • Nature never farms without animals. Animals move nutrients, create small and large pores in soil, manage flows of water, pollinate crops, balance predator/ prey relationships, and replenish soil microbes. Find ways to integrate and welcome a diversity of animals, birds, and insects into the system. • Every place has a history, and unique strengths and vulnerabilities. Get to know the whole context of the land and the life that is involved in it.
Interested in learning more? Download the free Understanding Soil Health and Watershed Function Facilitator’s Manual at www. soilcarboncoalition.org/learn. Sign up for a class on regenerating the soil sponge at the Land and Leadership Initiative www.lali.teachable.com and use thecode “NRAD” to get a 20% discount. (Contact didi. firstname.lastname@example.org with questions.)
â&#x20AC;&#x153;In 2018 Regenerate Earth was formed as a global focus and catalyst for practical grass roots action to regenerate the health of ours soils and bio-systems so they can continue to support communitiesâ&#x20AC;? www.regenerate-earth.org
Regenerate Earth www.regenerate-earth.org
recognize the need for such Regenerative change and the potential from empowering such grass roots action to help Regenerate Earth. Regenerate Earth is a passion in its advocates to drive grass roots action to Regenerate Earth at soil, community and global levels so as to help secure the bio-systems we depend on for our safe future. We have a mission to raise awareness and action to regenerate the key natural soil, hydrological and bio-system processes that underpin the health, productivity and resilience of our future. We invite people, communities and supporters globally to do likewise in a coordinated grass roots initiative to Regenerate Earth at all levels and aid their wellbeing and future. We connect and co-laborate the visions, values and actions of members to learn, action and extend regenerative change. We are a global brand to raise recognition of the purpose of the many coordinated local champions and initiatives that help Regenerate Earth and extend its visions, values and outcomes. We are also an umbrella to assist and support Regenerate Earth initiatives with information, verification, coordination and marketing supports and thus the synergy and critical mass to aid change.
Our key purpose is to raise community awareness of the need for, potential of and benefits from practical grass roots action to provide support for local and global initiatives. We provide the evidence to substantiate why and what changes are needed and how they can be achieved locally by empowering coordinated grass roots action to regenerate Earth. We also provide information and support to lead initiatives and catalysts to implement effective action and to document and extend these outcomes and benefits. We need to reverse the continued degradation of the Earthâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s natural capital under business as usual so that biosystems retain the resilience and capacity to sustain our essential needs. We need to empower people via grass roots coordinated action to revitalize their social capital and their preventative health and future given the inability of policies to do this adequately. We need to overcome the inertia, misinformation and impediments to this need for urgent action within the protected status quo. Letâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;s go further and faster together.
Regenerate Earth is for people and communities interested in empowering themselves via this brand and synergy to catalyse such grass roots action locally and globally to help Regenerate Earth. Leading innovative farmers and land managers interested to draw on the information and skills provided via this critical mass to help extend regenerative outcomes and change. We also represent strategic and philanthropic interests who
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HOW DO WE GET OUT OF THIS DROUGHT BETTER THAN WHEN WE WENT IN? My name is Helen McCosker, and I want to tell you that the short answer to this question is: TOGETHER. We get out of this better, if we hold hands, pull each other through, and make something new and lasting out of this terrible drought. My tribe lives in a beautiful part of rural Australia called Wallangra – our community is made up of, well a community hall. I live on a 3,000 acre mixed farming property with my husband Mike, who penned the poem and four inspiring kids who fill my heart.
Concert. Mike replied ‘Geez darling, we’re not quite that Broke and so it was - we coined the name Not Quite Baroque at Wallangra. Kelly, our resident tree changer artist from Melbourne and I (with Mike when he had time out from feeding cattle) embarked on an amazing journey with the Festival culminating in a music, dance and art boot-camp for 240 kids in our beautiful newly renovated hall in the middle of nowhere and a concert unlike anyone had ever experienced in the bush. Actually, anywhere.
In 2015, we went through what came to be known as the millennial drought… the “one in a hundred year drought”. Well it wasn’t one in a hundred years. Forward to 2018, and we have had the lowest rainfall on record.
The result? An incredible feeling of joy. Yep. Joy. And it lasted for ages. Kids who had never seen a cello before signed up to music lessons and the improvements made to our hall allowed us to provide a weekly preschool which has been running now for four years guaranteeing a future income stream including securing future grants. So by connecting our community in a heart-felt way, together we got out of that drought better than when we went in. And this time, we are thinking much further ahead, to the bigger picture, about what we need to do as farmers, as a community, and across sectors, to keep farming viable and how we take the journey down the regenerative pathway as the climate dries out and our Australian way of life comes under increasing threat.
The conversation back then was about how our community had become like most rural communities – a frog in a boiling pot. And it was time to tell that hot frog to jump out before it got scalded. I have always had a love for classical music – Mike and I were cooking together – we do love our food and talking about the effects of the drought. We decided that if we could ignite some joy into our community we could create a sense of well-being and connectedness that to be honest was absent even in the good seasons. I remember the conversation clearly - I made a statement that we should have a classical music concert – a Baroque
Who are we? We are your food and fibre growers, food growing communities, farming families as well as the farmer. We battle the fires on fields few politicians will ever
set foot on. Like you, we know it’s time to take the future in our own hands and with our amazing groups and individuals that we have collaborated with and your support, our carbon8 funding platform is a wonderful incentive program to provide much needed funds to get farmers started on the road to regenerative agriculture if they choose.. This platform stands independent from government support or political parties. It is a direct chain between the sponsors – the charity – and the farmers. Our Australian landscape and our bush way of life are too precious to leave to politicians. As an accountant, I see how important it is to value the dollars spent. But seeding the community isn’t just about the money - it is about the imagination, the joy and the knowing that with the wisdom gained from hard times and the ability to create joy even in the hardest of those times, we CAN change how our farming communities will fare. There is no doubt that courage is needed to transition to Regenerative Agriculture. It takes a mind shift that needs support and education. Changing generations of farming practices in the middle of massive financial hardship is a lot to ask a farmer out on the land doing it tough. But without providing our farmers with the resources to make the change, drought will definitively continue and absolutely get worse. So we want to change the conversation. We need more than short term fixes. If we want to heal the heart of our food-chain, we need to look at long term regenerative solutions. There is no bigger bolder achievement then to inspire the heart of our farmers across the nation to embrace regenerative agriculture and restore balance back to our soils.
On behalf of the three of us, (Mike, Kelly and I) I would like to pass on my heart-felt gratitude for getting our charity to where we are. Particularly, I would like to thank Cindy Eiritz, the extended Regenerate Earth team, Ag Talent and Charlie Arnott who have helped bring alive the National Regenerative Agriculture Day - helping us hijack Valentine’s Day! Thanks also go Amy Gunn of Friend a Farmer Initiative for the Pen Pal’s project and to our school’s project team headed by Bec Smith. Lorraine Gordon of the Regenerative Agricultural Alliance and Damon Gameau, an absolute earth warrior, both of whom have provided real depth and outreach to our campaign. I would also like to thank Jane O’brien from the Inverell Community Gardens, James Cuskelly and his fantastic team & Warren and Suzie who travel around Australia sending joy to regional communities in drought. Love you guys. We could not have done this without our two major fund raising events - The Farm/Three Blue Ducks (Johno, Daz, Alex and Steph) and Harwood Hotel (Mike and Cheryl Smith) for helping us raise the seed money to kick-start our charity and give it wings. Thank-you for your generosity. To my beautiful kids and of course my bestie and co-founder, Kelly Jones. It is the magic that you weave and the artistry you bring that inspires every one of us. And Mike. You fill my cup. This drought has broken us and made us. Who are you? If you aren’t our farmers, you are our foodies, our support family and we thank you for the potential of what we can achieve together. You are also the consumers of what we grow. You share with us an Australian identity that includes a rich agricultural heritage. So we are all in this together. All of us. This isn’t just about a drought. This is a love story: about how our little community found, and are finding, new ways of coming together to meet the future. And about what you can do to help us. SO HOW DO WE GET OUT OF THIS DROUGHT BETTER THAN WHEN WE WENT IN? TOGETHER.