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My father and other animals: A chat with Sam Vincent

Soils for Life CEO Eli Court chats with Sam Vincent | Published November 2023

When Charles Massy was first exploring regenerative approaches to agriculture, he visited a small farm in the Southern Highlands just north of the ACT border where, in a patch of regenerated land, he heard the call of the reed warbler that became the inspiration for his now famous book.

That farm was managed by David and Jane Vincent. Their son Sam has since taken over, continuing the cattle enterprise and introducing a direct-to-market fresh fig enterprise serving Canberra’s high end restaurants. He’s written a book about his journey, called My Father and Other Animals, which recently won the Prime Minister’s Literary Award for Non-fiction. Well done Sam!

Sam wrote his book mostly for a city audience, an attempt to help non-farmers understand what life on a farm is like, and how regenerative farming provides solutions to many of our most pressing environmental issues. It’s also a kind of love letter to his dad – a man ahead of his time in exploring regenerative practices – and a fun, dryly funny, easy read.

I recently caught up with Sam, and our conversation covered a whole range of interesting ground. We talked about his fascinating dad, a guy who started out as an free market economist public servant, and brought this mindset to farming (“regenerative agriculture is a free lunch”). We also talked about his horticulture enterprise and his direct marketing of figs to Canberra restaurants, his decision making around livestock during dry periods, and his engagement with the Traditional Owners of the land on which he farms.

Listen to my chat with Sam here. And if you enjoy this conversation, consider subscribing to our podcast!

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