Liz Clarke

2021 promises to be a big year for soils, following from the launch of the Parliamentary Friends of Soil late last year and the upcoming release of the National Soil Strategy expected later in the year. This comes at a time when there is growing interest and awareness of demonstrated landscape and soil regeneration through ecologically-based management of food production systems.

In our feedback on the Draft National Soil Strategy, we have emphasised the importance of supporting and empowering soil stewards. We see the strategy as an important initiative to build support for agricultural land managers to regenerate our soils and landscapes, produce healthy food, maintain profitable businesses and provide some of the suite of solutions needed to combat and adapt to climate change.

Internationally, there is also growing momentum behind regenerative agriculture as a critical nature-based climate solution. We’re expecting the momentum to build over the course of the year as we head towards global summits on food systems (September), biodiversity (October) and climate (November). FAO reports that erosion carries away 25-40 billion tonnes of topsoil every year. If action is not taken, soil losses are projected to be equivalent to removing 1.5 million square kilometres of arable land by 2050 (roughly the total amount of arable land in India). Action is urgently needed.

Last month, Soils for Life welcomed our newest staff member, Eli Court. Eli is based in Melbourne and taking on the newly formed role of Engagement and Communications Manager. He will be a great asset to the organisation, bringing over a decade of experience working on collaborative research and engagement projects. Eli’s bio is here.

In other news, Soils for Life attended the Farming Matters conference in Albury, meeting and listening to some of the best and brightest innovators and practitioners of soil and landscape regeneration. We discussed the opportunity presented by carbon and environmental markets, and joined a tour of the wonderful Yammacoona farm led by Bill and Joy Wearn. See Eli’s debrief on the conference here.

Finally, we’re pleased to announce the publication of our latest case study on Colodan in Central Queensland, with more case studies on the way. We have just completed our redesign of the case study program to add value through working with groups of farmers. We will focus on those who are collaborating in the process of transitioning to regenerative farming, showcasing their achievements and facilitation of communities and networks. I will talk more about this in the next newsletter, and how these peer-to-peer groups provide critical support to each other during this process.

Liz Clarke

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