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Food Sovereignty

Posted: Thu Mar 11, 2010 9:38 pm
by matto
Just been reading the "Manifesto on the Future of Food" by
The International Commission on the Future of Food and Agriculture

We support the fundamental principle of national, regional and community
food sovereignty. All local, national and regional entities and communities have
the inherent right and obligation to protect, sustain and support all necessary
conditions to encourage production of sufficient healthy food in a way that
conserves the land, water and ecological integrity of the place, respects and
supports producers’ livelihoods, and is accessible to all people.

Leading on from organic conversion's, would it be possible to band organic natural farming people together. This is happening in pockets around Australia, and could be useful on a Murray restoration project using organic dairy's as Peter suggests. If be some sort of reserve for Natural framers, adding a buffer for corporate practises such as GM threatening the lively hoods of all certified farmers.
Its along way off but these are the documents we need to be supporting if we can ever get to work.

Here here for sustainability, wildlife and people together!

Posted: Sun Apr 04, 2010 3:05 pm
by Shirley Henderson
I have come to the conclusion that weeds are an important and valuable asset to our natural bushland. As far as I can see, introduced species are naturalised in most parts of Australia now, where we work, where we visit and where we live, farmland and bushland alike. There are not many places that I am aware of that do not have introduced plants. If they exist and more than likely they do somewhere, it is probably less occupied by wildlife than the manmade habitats that seem to draw in our native wildlife in many forms. Native wildlife like our introduced plants and in most of our towns, cities, farmland and man made forests, Australia’s wildlife is thriving. We are required by law to remove noxious weeds and I feel increasingly guilty for having to do this in my job. I work at such a slow pace that it is getting difficult to pass myself off as a bush regenerator when I continually do all I can to hang onto the introduced species in the reserve where I work. I see fleabane, African Olive, Blackberry, African Box, verbena, grasslands and many others providing the necessary food sources, shelter, habitat, nesting material, eco requirements, moisture and temperatures required by our fauna and flora to survive past mistakes and ongoing land-clearing.
Removing weeds from bushland has become a questionable task for me and although I have raised the issue over and over again it seems we are just required to follow the legislation and standards set by outdated and single sided views about retaining or returning the landscape as it used to be.
Nature is changeable of that I am certain. I have moved onto a block full of wildlife, birds, native and introduced plants. The so called weeds far out-number the native species and the wildlife is thriving on it. I will continue recording my observations and trying to persuade die hard native fans that we have to change with the times and stop trying to hold onto precious memories of times past where native plants and animals once dominated the Australian Landscape. That time has been and gone and with all the farming, agriculture, viticulture, permeaculture, horticulture and everything else that is required to be grown in Australia for money, it is time to view the introduced weed species as the best thing we have for supporting and sustaining our soils and our native bushland. I can see this with my own eyes. If you pay for it yes you can return areas back to native only species but the wildlife will probably move next door where there is blackberry and African Olive as these are preferred food sources. When so much of Australia’s original species have been cleared it is wonderful that the remaining wildlife have been able to adapt. Should we again take away their needs because we don’t think it belongs? This is a question I pose to die hard native plant lovers. It is one thing to love native plants and it is another thing to truly support Australia’s fauna and flora. Introduced plants are as Peter Andrews knows “the bandage” to healing this country from drought, waterways mismanagement and land-clearing. The land clearing will surely get worse due to increasing population and needs of man.
I have observed for myself that if we remove these weedy habitats from wildlife the wildlife go with it, elsewhere. The weedy habitats retain moisture and the plants themselves retain water. The waterways turned into drains are only taking the water to those that have the money to pay for it.
I understand Peters dilemma when he comes up against people that do not understand the Australian landscape as he does because I also find that there is a mindset here that is taught from a young age that weeds are bad and natives are good. This is WRONG! Shelter is good, food is good, habitat is good. Native or not! Every property should have some plants available as habitat for our wildlife and/or native plants. That really is the key. Plants= Life! Plants maintain the water cycle. Let them grow and of course good land management that no one seems to agree on. Support those that you see can do it well!
I really like what I see Peter doing as he raises healthy animals without the use of herbicides, he restores floodplains, functioning wetlands and waterway systems that restore healthy plant life to his landscape. He can feed his animals healthy home grown food and sell and make a profit to continue his healthy farming techniques plus he maintains healthy soil while doing it.
Why is it that other farmers just don’t do it the same way?

Posted: Mon Apr 05, 2010 8:49 pm
by duane
Quote:
Shirley said:
Why is it that other farmers just don’t do it the same way?


Shirley, in answer to your question above, I thought I would post this letter that Peter and I received a few days ago. It is self explanatory....and contains a very positive message about Peter's work and the take up occuring across the country.


Australian Natural Systems repairing our damaged ecosystems.

My name is Mick Alexander. My wife and I operate a highly successful grazing management business (Grazing BestPrac) based in Queensland, assisting farming and grazing families to become both profitable and productive long term. We deliver the most exciting grazing management courses in Australia “Technology of Growing Grass” which assists producers to better understand the importance of soil management, pasture management and linkage with production and profit. In the program, we explain (with real science) the important features of soil biological function, water quality and “How grass grows” and then consider the role of many of the alternative management options including:
· Rotational/ cell grazing
· Natural sequence farming
· Pasture cropping
· Green belt development (viticulture/ ally farming)
· Biodynamics
· Compost teas/ nutrient brews etc.

In the last week, I have been able to spend two days (March 27th and 28th) with Peter Andrews on “Baramul” in the Widden Valley and “Tarwyn Park” in the Bylong Valley of the Hunter River region of NSW. I like many people in the past few years have believed that Peter has some great knowledge and skills, but it is difficult to truly get a grip on the concepts unless you have been and seen the outcomes of his activities. I believe the real impact of Peter Andrew’s knowledge about landscape function will be the biggest breakthrough in managing for climate change and food security in Australia’s history.

As a trainer, I promote the concept of managing the landscape every week to primary producers, agency staff and CMA officers (more than 400 in the last 9 months). As a method of repairing the landscape, I believe the “Natural Sequence Farming” processes are a key platform with which to build any healthy system. In the last year, I have been involved with arranging four NSF field days (90, 60, 80 and 30 people attending) and eight onfarm consultations with Peter in Queensland and have seen a remarkable change in primary producer attitude to grazing and landscape management.

Many people have never considered they could change the degradation which is now evident. Even more people have believed the practices of the past were sustainable until recently.

In the past few days, I got an understanding that we really can make a difference to the ability of our land to retain water, transfer minerals and be more productive. Tarwyn Park and Baramul are perfect examples of regenerative landscapes, which are able to manage climatic variability. It was very exciting to compare catchments side by side which had varying degrees of degradation and be able to understand how they got to be that way. If we recognise how they got to be that way, then we can now do something about it.

My role in the grazing industry has been to gather research and strategic onground information, put it into a learnable package and teach farmers to implement it on their land. I am a very practical person who can see the NSF package is working. The problem as I see it is that everyone is too attached to their own intellectual property and believe theirs is more important. We need to work together.

One of the greatest problems we are facing as a population/ civilisation is the lack of water being retained in the landscape for plant function and water table recharge. We have reduced our soil carbon levels from arguably 8 – 10% (SOC) to in many cases less than 1% (SOC). Our soils are not able to with-stand dry periods or make use of wet seasons. In fact, they have completely lost their resilience. Grazing systems alone cannot repair the damage to the landscape drying out. Pasture resting and management will assist plants to become more healthy and will repair the carbon cycle in time.

However, our system needs a larger injection of energy to reduce the impact of the extreme rainfall events, erosion, degradation and salinity. I believe both “Tarwyn Park” and “Baramul” demonstrate the mechanism required to kick start the system (the trigger) as they demonstrate the:

· Management of the daily Water Cycle (green area)
· The role of mulch and litter in building landscape function
· Role of steps in the landscape
· Role of weeds and plants in the landscape and how to utilise them.
· Importance of managing floodplains and upland systems
· Management of the alleopathic effect of Eucalypts
· A variety of methods of reducing the impact of overland flow
· Mechanisms to reduce salinity
· Leaky weirs
· Level contours to reduce impact of eucalypts
· Contours to rehydrate upland dry areas

In the past 20 years, I have not seen such a comprehensive array of tools and methods to manage the natural landscape. I believe the real impact of Peter Andrew’s knowledge about landscape function will be the biggest breakthrough in managing for climate change and food security in Australia’s history. We must look to tomorrow’s ideas to solve today’s problems.

Re: Food Sovereignty

Posted: Thu Jun 10, 2010 5:52 am
by Angela Helleren
Matto - I hope everyone here has the opportunity to watch the documentary Food Inc.

Duane - It sounds like Mike Alexander and his wife are doing a great job planting out the seeds of Peter's wisdom! :D

Over the past few weeks we have heard a lot about the new Super tax on mining profits... and accompanying those reports images of the huge mining operations. Much has been claimed about the economic effect such a tax may or may not produce, but NO ONE ever asks about the impact such pre longed gouging of our landscape has on our waterways and tables?


I recently saw a report where a former dairy farmer said, she had been forced to move twice before finally giving up her farm. Why? The dairy would no longer buy her milk as they said it was contaminated with coal particles from the coal mine in the area. Others too were questioning their ability to continue dairy farming with the coal mine planning to expand.

One of the greatest problems we are facing as a population/ civilisation is the lack of water being retained in the landscape for plant function and water table recharge. We have reduced our soil carbon levels from arguably 8 – 10% (SOC) to in many cases less than 1% (SOC). Our soils are not able to with-stand dry periods or make use of wet seasons. In fact, they have completely lost their resilience. Grazing systems alone cannot repair the damage to the landscape drying out. Pasture resting and management will assist plants to become more healthy and will repair the carbon cycle in time.

Food for thought....
There's a code of conduct within the metal detecting community... minimal disturbance in grassed areas and refill all holes. Leave the area as you found it!

What's 5 km long..2.5 km wide and 400m deep and growing?
http://www.youtube.com/watch#!v=TtA0p09 ... re=related

If only the big guys were made to do the same!