Healthier soils were the hot topic at Banyula last Friday when key stakeholders gathered for a Farming for Climate Resilience and Productivity field day.
Dr Lukas Van Zwieten from the Department of Primary Industries proffered that the more carbon you have in a system, the more you start to get system regeneration, and offered a number of practical tips.
"Minimise erosion, and you can do that by maximising ground cover - I hate seeing bare soil. Losing just 1cm of soil can mean hundreds of tonnes of carbon is lost out of that system," Dr Van Zwieten said.
"Cover cropping is important ... and get livestock into your farming system if possible."
These actions along with species diversity are all about building diversity in your soil, Dr Van Zwieten said: "Species diversification means maximum opportunities."
The event was an initiative of Northern Rivers Net Zero, produced in partnership with Southern Cross University's Regenerative Agriculture Alliance, the Primary Industries Education Foundation and Banyula.
The founder of the Regenerative Agriculture Alliance, Lorraine Gordon, co-hosted the event with filmmaker Damon Gameau.
"If you take nothing else away from today, it should be this - you should be doing extensive soil testing," said Ms Gordon, who has extensive hands-on experience with regenerative farming practices and teaching.
"With regenerative agriculture, just take it one step at a time. You can't do it all at once, or you will go broke."
Ms Gordon also spoke of the importance of creating cooperatives and farming collaboratively, pooling resources for the benefit of all.
Joe Leven from the Northern Cooperative Meat Company (Casino Co-op) spoke about the River Crystal initiative which promotes farm management practices aimed at improving the health of the Richmond river catchment.
"It's about taking knowledge and putting it into something a farmer can achieve," Mr Leven said.
And Damon Gameau made the broader situation very clear: "We have got to the point where we can't tinker around the edges anymore. This system we have created is trashing our environment. We can't keep doing what we're doing."
Mr Gameau went on to call for subsidies for farmers to grow better food and look after soils.
Banyula Director Matt Bleakley spoke of taking a holistic view of your farm, stepping back and asking yourself 'what can I do?, 'how can I reduce expenses?' and 'who can help me?'.
Other speakers on the day included: Maximo Bottaro and the team from ReForest Now, Tanya Pritchard from WWF, Simon Stahl from the Northern Cooperative Meat Company (Casino Food Co-op), Gavin Tinning from the Border Ranges - Richmond Valley Landcare Network and Dr Abe Gibson from Southern Cross University. Richard Schweger also presented his stunning vision of what Banyula will become.
The team from ReForest Now have planted more than 260,000 rainforest species on the property and are aiming for 300,000 in order to extend the Big Scrub rainforest. They have just launched a fundraiser through the Northern Rivers Community Foundation to help nurture these trees.
The day opened with a very moving ceremony by Bundjalung woman Mindy Woods who also dished up a delicious lunch seasoned with native foods and succulents.
For more information on the fundraiser go to https://bit.ly/Banyula.