Message from Liz Clarke, CEO of Soils For Life

Message from Liz Clarke, CEO of Soils For Life

September has seen a steep rise in the profile of regenerative agriculture as the stories of some pioneering farmers have been told in the mainstream media. Australian Story featuring Charles Massy and his regenerative journey aired this week (available for viewing on ABC iView) and a documentary highlighting the importance of soils and regenerative agriculture “Kiss the Ground” was recently released on Netflix. Not only this, the Tony Coote Memorial Lecture was delivered by Alan Savory and is now online for those who missed it.

In addition, portraits of two Soils For Life case study farmers were entered into the Archibald prize this year: Sacha Pola’s portrait of Martin Royds titled “The Regenerator” and Lucy Culliton’s oil on canvas portrait of Charlie Maslin titled “Soils For Life”. Congratulations to Lucy (and Charlie!) for being selected as finalists.

A little removed from the media spotlight, the Hon. Penny Wensley was appointed as the new National Soil Advocate this month. She will continue the work done by the Hon Major General Michael Jeffery advocating for the health of Australia’s agricultural landscapes and soils.

On a different note, thank you to everyone who participated in our communications and engagement survey this month. You provided us with such valuable insights that will help us strengthen our work to keep regenerative agriculture in the spotlight well into the future.


Report from the new CEO, Dr Liz Clarke

Message from the new CEO, Dr Liz Clarke

Welcome to the Soils For Life newsletter – my first as the new CEO. I am very excited to have the opportunity to lead Soils For Life and focus on the important work of supporting farmers in their journey along the various pathways which lead to regenerative agriculture.

I have joined the organisation at both a challenging and an exciting time. On one hand, COVID-19 is still creating massive challenges globally and many Australians continue to deal with the consequences of drought, fire and now floods. On the other hand, these crises are fueling the growing awareness of, and appetite for, regenerative approaches, not just in agriculture, but in many other fields of resource-based activity where building resilience is crucial.

In light of this, we (at Soils For Life) are reflecting on our history, evaluating our impact and thinking hard about our future priorities and strategy, to ensure we leverage opportunities to deliver on our mandate.

I strongly welcome your support and input to this process. There are a number of ways in which we will invite your input. As a first step, I invite you to participate in our stakeholder engagement strategy. This is the first of a number of initiatives we are undertaking to better understand needs and opportunities from your perspective as our stakeholders. We also welcome your feedback through the feedback form on our website.

Our talented and enthusiastic team are continuing their work on the Soils For Life regenerative agriculture case studies, and at the same time reviewing our approach and refining the ways in which we make this information available to you. We’ve recently conducted training for the team to strengthen the way soils are represented  in our case studies. The team are also continuing to work on a suite of information resources around regenerative agriculture topics. This month we’ve published some lessons from our case studies around how to grow soil organic matter.

Again, your feedback is welcome and we look forward to hearing from you.


Acting CEO’s Report

Report from Acting CEO, Narelle Luff

Acting CEO, Narelle Luff.

This month our scientists have spent time out on regenerative properties in New South Wales and Queensland. In the coming months we will develop these into new case studies. In these new case studies, we will introduce soil testing to our assessments and expect these to add further strength to our comprehensive case study reports. This month we reintroduce you to Rothesay and highlight some exciting work that is occurring in the area.

We hope you are enjoying the education articles we have been preparing, this month we have an article about managing African Lovegrass. If you missed last month’s education topics here are links to articles we published last month on water management and measuring bird diversity.

This week we held the first of three Australia-China Soil Organic Carbon Measurement webinars. This is a collaborative webinar program with the Chinese Academy of Agricultural Sciences focused on the importance of organic carbon for healthy soils and methodologies and technologies for measuring soil organic carbon across agricultural landscapes. This webinar program brings together leading Australian and Chinese soil scientists and associated experts in remote sensing technologies and big data to exchange knowledge and discuss potential scientific collaboration. We will share the recordings of these webinars as they become available. If you are interested in participating in these webinars please register your interest via admin@soilsforlife.org.au

Our friends across regen ag have been busy producing some great quality podcasts and webinars, we have collated them for you here. We are also pleased to link you to some important work by the Academy of Science on Soil condition after bushfires, this is part of a series which will also look at wildlife recovery, ecosystems and human health.

Lastly I would like to welcome Liz Clarke our new CEO on board. Liz starts in August but is already building relationships with a range of Soils For Life stakeholders.

Narelle Luff

Operations Manager / Acting CEO