The 8 families

The 8 families group are participating in the first of Soils for Life’s new group case studies, focusing on groups of farmers rather than individuals. This approach recognises that innovation for soil and landscape regeneration is often local and social, shared with colleagues and neighbours.

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Keep updated on this case study

“I never go to a meeting without an ‘aha!’ moment”

The group

The 8 families group is based in the Gundagai/Holbrook area in the Eastern Riverina, NSW.

The group was first formed in 2008, and now comprises nine families who produce a range of products using a regenerative management approach that aims to restore soil and landscape function.

The group is extremely tight knit, connected and long-lasting. The trust, openness and honesty in group discussions has enabled the members to share, learn and progress in their regenerative journey together. Many have been active in sharing, mentoring and initiating off-farm activities to help broaden the adoption of regenerative approaches to farming.

The families


Bill and Joy are passionate custodians of their land. Their work is about ‘regeneration, renewal and revitalisation of the the land’ and the ‘human environment’ in which they live.


Pete and Bundle Lawson are continuing their families’ long history of farming, improving the health and productivity of their properties so their children can enjoy the challenge of taking them on.

Spring Creek

Kate and Jochem Heijse are regenerating their farm to create a beautiful ecosystem that’s good for humans, livestock and the myriad of native animals and insects that live on the farm.


Gill has owned Bibbaringa north of Albury since 2007. She is focused on rebuilding soil, slowing the flow of water through the landscape and producing healthy nutrient rich beef.


Nick and Deanna are passionate about running a resilient and profitable farm, while having having enough time to spend with the family. They have diversified into off-farm enterprises and cattle trading and are now consistently making a profit.


Sam and Prue produce grass fed beef and genuine free range eggs. They shifted from conventional farming to Holistic Management, working along side nature to a goal based decision making framework.

Yabtree West

Rebecca Gorman’s family love sharing and challenging their ideas and are passionate about grass and building the soil through holistic management and natural sequence farming. They also run a beef breeding and trading business.


Michael, Ellie and their three children own Willowlee, home of Old Man Creek Grass Fed Bulls. They have improved a degraded block, making the world a better place one bite at a time.

The 8 families meet every 6-8 weeks on members’ farms and annually visit other Holistic or regenerative farms.

It is a strong supportive network that has lasted for more than a decade and has resulted in genuine friendships as well as a “thriving community” of practice that reaches well beyond the nine families that now make up the group.

The case study will be developed through a collaborative process.
Our goals are to:


Share the 8 Families story, including social, economic and ecological aspects.

Explore the value of peer-to-peer learning and support groups, and the group’s holistic approach.

Document issues and share lessons, to inform other producers and influence policy makers and researchers.

Investigate opportunities and challenges for producers accessing stewardship incentives, and diversifying into new stewardship enterprises such as carbon and biodiversity trading.

It's a safe environment to speak up

This project is supported by Soils for Life, through funding from the Australian Government’s National Landcare Program

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