25-May-2018

Charles Massy: We've desecrated our landscape


Respected agricultural author, Charles Massy, has described Australia’s rural landscape as desecrated, and has adopted regenerative practices on his farm in NSW’s Monaro region to recover from decades of what he calls “industrial agriculture”.

In the latest interview in the Soils For Life video series, the author of “Call of the Reed Warbler” details his transition from a traditional farmer to a regenerative agriculture advocate.

He says the term “desecration” to describe the impact of traditional farming is mild.

“We don’t realise it. We’ve totally, in an incredibly short period, destroyed the natural function and the vegetation and that’s aside from indigenous dispossession of this entire landscape”, Charles says.

“We’ve totally dried out our landscape. When you see an incised creek in the Australian landscape, that was never there before. You might have had chains of ponds and big swamps but never incised creeks. That’s all from cleared ground, hard compacted ground from overgrazing and deforestation”.

“One of the reasons I got into writing my book was to record all my own farming mistakes. You know, overgrazing and ploughing sandy country that washed out and at the end of it, even though I was trained in zoology, I realised that I was landscape illiterate. I couldn’t read the landscape. I couldn’t read how it functioned”.

“So I set out in the book distilling landscape function and there were 5 basic principles which plenty of ecologists talk about – the solar one of putting more panels into the ground to drive sugars for extra carbon  and carbon flow and water cycles for mineral biodiversity but I’ve added the fifth one which is – as one farmer said – that square foot of real estate between our ears”.

Charles describes the growing movement towards regenerative agriculture as an “underground revolution”.

“Farmers and land managers, by regenerating our soils through all those cycles, is how we’re going to turn it round. And it’s fairly simple. You know, healthy animals, healthy people, healthy landscapes and healthy food off those landscapes through extra nutrients”.

Mr Massy pays tribute to the work of Soils For Life in communicating regenerative agriculture processes and case histories to Australia’s land managers.

“To have a national body trying to refocus the national policy on the very thing that drives all of society and civilisation, which is healthy soils, is hugely important. It’s starting to change the minds of what’s a dominant urban country to start thinking that, actually, it’s nature that’s supporting us, and it all starts with good farming and regenerative practices”.

Find Charles Massey’s interview at: https://youtu.be/oj9OJdl3C2E

For more information, contact: Niree Creed, Media, Soils for Life:0418625595


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