Message from Liz Clarke, CEO of Soils For Life

Message from Liz Clarke, CEO of Soils For Life

Soils For Life CEO Liz Clarke at the Parliamentary Friends of Soil meeting with Michael Crawford and David Littleproud.

The past two months have been hectic in the Soils For Life office as we pull together a new strategy to align our focus to support Australian farmers in regenerating soils and landscapes. We are also looking at how we ensure our case study process and engage in new projects in 2021 that help us to support landholders to build natural and social capital and transform the food system.

In the past year, Soils For Life is one of the three organisations involved in the establishment of a Parliamentary Friends of Soil group along with lead organisation, the Soil CRC and Soil Science Australia. The first meeting of the non-partisan group co-chaired by Michael McCormack and Linda Burney at Old Parliament House on 4th December, just ahead of World Soils Day.  The new National Soil Advocate Penelope Wensley addressed the meeting, along with Minister David Littleproud. Ministers Sussan Ley and Angus Taylor also attended along with a broad range of key partners in involved in soil research and management.

Saturday 5 December is World Soils Day. This day, championed by the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization, is a reminder of the fundamental importance of soils which support all terrestrial life and without which we cannot survive.


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.