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December 3 2023

Regenerative Farming Day - Belltrees Public School

Belltrees Public School is nestled amongst a shelter of towering gum trees.

Set on the beautiful landscape around of the sprawling property of the same name owned by the White family for generations.

At the beating heart of the school is principal Shane Roberts and if he’s passionate about education, he’s equally passionate about regeneration.

A few weeks ago Shane gathered a tri-stream of farmers, educators and inquisitive learners.

Shane organised three blocks of bite size learnings before and after lunch.

I felt honoured to be asked to be one of the speakers, sharing my experineces of how we started Magners Farm with just ten hens.

How when we incorporated the five princples of regenerative agriculture, our farm burst into productivity.

Pastures full of multiple varieties of forages. Weeds replaced by an assortment of grasses,

herbs and legumes. Each appropriate to the nature of the season.

The key for our success was a diverse mix of livestock integration. Cattle, sheep, pigs and chickens. Each bringing their own individual benefits.

Moving accordingly in line with the seasons. Watching the land.

In the afternoon I talked about our journey from a marketing perspective.

A reminder to other producers to tell their story. Connect with the consumer. Understand their need.

Unless you’re selling a commodity. In which case you’re leaving your product in the hands of the marketing groups and supermarkets.

A commodity is just that. Completely open to the vagaries of the market, something you have no control over. Appropriate in certain situations.

For us it was all about connection.

To your land. Your customer. Yourself.

What is it that really attracts you to farming?

Be honest.

Is it being outside in nature?

The carrying on of a legacy?

The expectations of the generations who went before you?

The lifestyle?

The ability to heal landscapes?

Now, more than ever, your customer needs to hear from you.

How you care for your land. Treat your animals. Your customer wants to understand you.

As farmers, we need to be respectful how we tell that story.

People are becoming disconnected from lots of things, not just food.

My one regret of the weekend?

Not to be able to listen to all the speakers.

Two Bob Hawke Landcare award winners Colin Seiss and Lynne Strong, an Emmy Award winner - Cate McQuillen, the creator of Dirt Girl and Oliver Knox, a General Jeffery Soil Health Award recipient.

These interesting, thought provoking healers of the land.

I am in awe of Shane and his team.

In awe of Shane and his wife Chloe who introduced us in the courtyard of the Green Seed Grocer.

This tiny little school with a handful of students, changing mindsets. Creating vision. Spreading knowledge like a handful of seeds being scattered on healthy soil. Every one of us came away with new learnings.

To show these learnings in practice, a blow up film screen appeared just on dusk. We settled in for a viewing of Rachel’s Farm. A beautiful story of dramatic change, healing and regeneration.

The perfect end to a perfect day.

-Tim Minchin..

“Even if you're little, you can do a lot, you

Mustn't let a little thing like "little" stop you”


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